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Catherine Brown

Class of 1976-1977

About Catherine

(3/2020) Catherine Brown served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence Policy and Coordination in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. Department of State from 2008 until 2019, focusing on ensuring that U.S. Intelligence Community activities were consistent with and supported U.S. foreign policy. Her portfolio included technical and human intelligence collection, cyber issues, covert action, and the Department’s support to the Intelligence Community. She joined the Department in 1985 where her previous assignments were in the Legal Adviser’s Office, the Office of the U.S. Coordinator for Refugees, and as Civil Service Ombudsman. She has extensive experience representing the Department in interagency and international forums.
 Immediately before assuming the position of the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ms. Brown was the Department’s Assistant Legal Adviser for Diplomatic Law and Litigation, focusing on legal issues relating to the status of diplomatic and consular officers, other foreign government officials, and international organizations. From 1991 until 2006, she was Assistant Legal Adviser for Consular Affairs, handling legal issues relating to visa and citizenship adjudication, passport issuance, consular protection of Americans abroad and foreign nationals in the United States, and border security programs instituted in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Ms. Brown represented the United States before the International Court of Justice in the Breard, LaGrand, and Avena cases brought by Paraguay, Germany, and Mexico over breaches of the consular notification requirements of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and participated in formulating the United States response to the Court’s decisions in those cases. She has also been involved in U.S. domestic litigation relating to consular notification requirements, and instituted the Department’s program to improve United States compliance with its consular notification obligations. Ms. Brown’s work for the Department also spanned the areas of human rights and refugees; management; and Latin American affairs. She served as Deputy Agent for the United States for the merits phase of the Heathrow Airport User Charges Arbitration (United States v. United Kingdom), which resolved a US-UK dispute over landing fees imposed on U.S. airlines. She was Senior Adviser to the U.S. Refugee Coordinator from 1988-1989. As the Department’s Civil Service Ombudsman from 1993–1996, she helped develop career development opportunities for the Department’s civil service employees and participated in Department management reform efforts.
Ms. Brown previously worked for the law firm of Covington & Burling of Washington, D.C. and served as a law clerk to Judge Levin Campbell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) and Smith College (cum laude with highest honors in history). She is the author of Japanese Approaches to Equal Rights for Women: The Legal Framework, 12 LAW IN JAPAN 29 (1979) (based on her work as a Luce Scholar in Japan, 1976-1977) and of reviews of Denza’s Diplomatic Law (2d ed.1998), 94 AJIL 424 (2000), and Lee’s Consular Law and Practice (2d ed. 1991), 90 AJIL 178 (1996). She has also spoken at numerous events on issues ranging from cyber security to refugees and asylum seekers.

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