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Damara Chambers

Damara Chambers Partner, National Security Reviews (CFIUS), Export Controls & Economic Sanctions

Damara is a partner in the Washington D.C. office and co-leads the firm’s National Security and International Trade practice. She advises clients on cross-border investment and national security matters, including national security reviews by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly known as the Defense Security Service (DSS), Department of Energy and other cognizant agencies, and on the application of international trade controls, including export controls and economic sanctions.

Damara is recognized in Chambers USA and Chambers Global (2019) for her extensive experience advising clients before CFIUS and advising companies regarding the mitigation of foreign ownership, control or influence (FOCI) under national industrial security regulations administered by DSS, Department of Energy and other agencies. She has been involved in negotiating some of the most significant national security agreements with the U.S. government and has represented clients on a variety of landmark CFIUS and FOCI matters. 

In her export controls and economic sanctions practice, she advises companies on compliance and enforcement matters relating to U.S. export controls administered by the Departments of State, Commerce, and Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); economic sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury; and import and licensing requirements imposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). She also frequently advises on trade control issues in mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. 

Damara also has represented clients in federal court litigation on international and antitrust issues. The following is a list of representative matters in which Damara has worked, including some occurring prior to joining Vinson & Elkins.

Experience Highlights

  • Represented Midea Group on CFIUS and related U.S. national security approvals in its $5 billion public offer takeover of KUKA AG
  • Represented Takata before CFIUS and the State Department in the $1.6 billion acquisition of its assets out of bankruptcy by Ningbo Joyson Key Safety Systems
  • Represented Schneider Electric on CFIUS and related U.S. national security regulatory approvals in connection with the sale of its industrial software business to UK-based AVEVA Group and the acquisition by Schneider Electric of a majority interest in AVEVA Group in a transaction valued at approximately $3.88 billion
  • Represented China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd. (CNOOC) in separate multi-billion dollar investments in Eagle Ford and Niobrara shale oil and gas lease properties held by Chesapeake Energy
  • Advised WGL Holdings, owner of the regulated natural gas utility Washington Gas, on CFIUS in the $6.4 billion sale of WGL Holdings to AltaGas
  • Represented Rolls-Royce before CFIUS in the acquisition of R.O.V. Technologies, Inc. by Rolls-Royce’s technical services subsidiary, R. Brooks Associates
  • Advised GLOBALFOUNDRIES, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, in securing CFIUS and FOCI approval for its acquisition of the IBM Microelectronics Division, valued at more than $1 billion
  • Represented both Publicis Groupe S.A. and Sapient Corporation in securing CFIUS and FOCI approval for Publicis’ acquisition of Sapient for $3.7 billion
  • Represented Nexen before CFIUS in its $15 billion acquisition by CNOOC
  • Represented Align Aerospace Holding, Inc. before CFIUS in its $220 acquisition by a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the Chinese state-owned aerospace and defense company
  • Advised leading global healthcare company in securing CFIUS approval for various transactions, including the sale of certain vaccines businesses to non-U.S. buyers, and other life sciences transactions
  • Led internal investigations on export control matters for a major U.S. aerospace manufacturing company and assisted with the design and implementation of corrective compliance measures
  • Advised major defense contractor on internal investigation regarding compliance with national industrial security regulations and the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual

CFIUS and FOCI Matters

  • Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) ‒ acquisition of a tolling arrangement in the electric power industry
  • BAE Systems, Inc. ‒ multiple acquisitions, including the Intelligence Services Group of L-1 Identity Solutions
  • Carlyle Group ‒ multiple transactions, including its $1.9 sale of Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise
  • Dassault Systèmes ‒ $750 million acquisition of Accelrys, Inc.
  • Elbit Systems ‒ multiple acquisitions, including Universal Avionics and M-7 Aerospace
  • Energy Future Holdings (EFH) ‒ $1.254 billion investment in Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC by an investor group led by Canadian and Singaporean investors
  • Enstrom Helicopter Corporation ‒ acquisition by Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co., Ltd., a company owned by the Municipality of Chongqing, China
  • Oregon Steel ‒ $2.3 billion acquisition by Evraz Group
  • Pioneer Natural Resources ‒ sale of interest in Wolfcamp Shale leaseholds to Sinochem Corp.
  • Prysmian S.p.A. ‒ acquisition of Draka Holdings
  • Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) ‒ $810 million acquisition of Trustwave Holdings, Inc.
  • Stanley, Inc. ‒ $1 billion acquisition by CGI Group
  • Temasek Holdings ‒ various matters, including investment in Merrill Lynch
  • Virgin Galactic ‒ investment by Aabar Investments PJSC
  • Represented various non-U.S. pension funds and government-owned investors on CFIUS and related U.S. national security approvals in acquisitions of major energy assets and other U.S. companies
  • Advised various companies on FOCI mitigation arrangements and compliance with national industrial security regulations including the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM)
  • Provided ongoing advice to companies with respect to compliance with CFIUS mitigation agreements and commitments
  • Represented multinational engineering and project management company before CFIUS and the Departments of Energy and State in connection with CFIUS, FOCI and ITAR approvals in its acquisition by a Canadian company

Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Matters

  • Developed compliance programs for various clients, including policies, procedures, manuals and technology control plans relating to international trade controls compliance
  • Advised various companies in navigating export control classification, licensing, and compliance issues
  • Assisted global defense electronics company with an audit of its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) compliance program
  • Conducted due diligence assessment of Export Administration Regulations (EAR), ITAR, sanctions, and antiboycott compliance in connection with the sale of a U.S. defense company
  • Advised various clients regarding Iran sanctions issues
  • Advised major multinational nuclear energy company regarding nuclear export licensing and compliance issues involving the NRC and Department of Energy
  • Advised various multinational companies on nuclear export controls and change of control requirements in connection with mergers and acquisitions
  • Advised foreign nuclear research and development institute regarding U.S. nuclear cooperation issues
  • Assisted major multinational corporation in navigating ATF regulatory requirements related to importer registrations and Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs)

Pro Bono

  • Assisted client in obtaining compensation from the Austrian General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism and represented client in a related federal interpleader action and the successful defense of the interpleader judgment in a Second Circuit appeal brought by competing claimants
  • Representation of a Mexican family before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in connection with their applications for nonimmigrant visa status pursuant to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000
  • Representation of victims of a terrorist bombing in litigation against Hamas, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iran’s Ministry of Information and Security

Contact Details


T +1.202.639.6750
F +1.202.879.8840
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037
Local time: 2:37 PM
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Damara's Practices

  • Yale Law School, J.D., 2004
  • American University School of International Service, M.A., 1999
  • Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, B.S.F.S., 1995
  • Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, New York 
  • Clerkship to Hon. Juan R. Torruella, U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 2004–2005
  • U.S. Department of Energy, Special Assistant to the Secretary, 2001
  • Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program Headquarters, U.S. Navy Officer, 1996–2000
  • U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Legislative Fellow, 1995
  • Chambers USA, International Trade: CFIUS Experts, 2016–2019
  • Chambers Global, International Trade: CFIUS Experts, 2018 and 2019
  • Executive Committee of the Yale Law School Association, Former Term Member
  • Society for International Affairs (SIA), Member