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General Counsel Department of the Navy

Paul L. Oostburg Sanz

General CounselPaul L. Oostburg Sanz became the 22nd General Counsel of the United States Department of the Navy on March 12, 2010. As the General Counsel of the Navy, Oostburg Sanz is the Department’s Chief Legal Officer. He manages over 700 attorneys in 140 offices worldwide, assists in the oversight of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and advises senior Navy and Marine Corps officials on litigation, acquisition, contractual, fiscal, environmental, property, personnel, legislative, ethics, and intelligence law issues. As General Counsel, he is also the senior ethics officer as well as the debarring authority on acquisition matters for the Department of the Navy.

From January 2007 until his appointment, Oostburg Sanz served as the General Counsel of the Committee on Armed Services in the United States House of Representatives (HASC). As the Senior Legal Advisor to the Chairman of the Committee and its 61 other members, he provided legal counsel on an expansive range of national defense issues, including the final drafting and passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. In this role, Oostburg Sanz was also instrumental in drafting, and the passage of, the Military Commissions Act of 2009. Prior to his work on the HASC, Oostburg Sanz served as the democratic Deputy Chief Counsel for the Committee on International Relations in the United States House of Representatives (HIRC). In this position, he provided legal expertise to the committee’s ranking member on legislation and issues related to the Western Hemisphere, foreign assistance, and non-military security assistance. At HIRC, Oostburg Sanz provided critical counsel regarding the legislation establishing the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Before joining the HIRC, Oostburg Sanz served as a Law Clerk for Judge José Fusté in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico; conducted political party training in South Africa during its first-ever, all inclusive national elections, as a Project Officer for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. He has also worked as a Graduate Fellow for the United States Agency for International Development in Mozambique and the United States Department of State in Liberia.

Oostburg Sanz earned a Bachelor’s Degree magna cum laude from the Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, a Master in Public Affairs Degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. At Harvard Law School, Oostburg Sanz provided legal services to the indigent through the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University.


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