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LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

Zach Mears

Dr. Zachary Mears helps companies in the aerospace, defense, and national security sector navigate policy and regulatory challenges involving the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch. A non-lawyer, Dr. Mears has extensive experience in U.S. national security and defense strategy, planning, and resourcing, most recently serving as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense. His substantive areas of expertise include strategic planning, risk assessment and management, and advanced technologies.

While serving in the U.S. Department of Defense, Dr. Mears advised the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on national priorities and managed their implementation. He also served as the director of the Advanced Capability and Deterrence Panel and led the development of the Third Offset Strategy, which aims to identify new organizational and operational concepts and new capabilities to improve the United States’ military advantage. Dr. Mears also advised the Defense Innovation Unit–Experimental, which is building bridges between the Pentagon and the high technology centers in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Austin.

Prior to these appointments, Dr. Mears served as the director for strategic planning for the National Security Council, where he co-authored the 2015 National Security Strategy. He also worked as a senior defense analyst for Scitor Corporation and as a senior consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton.

News and Insights

  • “Industry Takeaways From The Defense Industrial Base Report,” October 15, 2018, Law360
  • “CFIUS Update: Treasury Department Issues Interim Rules, Expands Jurisdiction to Certain Non-Controlling Investments, and Establishes Mandatory Filing Requirements,” October 11, 2018, Covington Alert
  • “Who’s in Your Supply Chain? Contractors Face Increasing Compliance Obligations and Restrictions,” August 30, 2018, Covington Alert
  • “CFIUS Update: FIRRMA Enacted into Law,” August 13, 2018, Covington Alert
  • “CFIUS Update: FIRRMA Finalized, Nears Passage,” July 25, 2018, Covington Alert
  • “Update on CFIUS and Foreign Investment Regulation President Affirms Support for FIRRMA and CFIUS,” June 27, 2018, Covington Alert
  • “CFIUS Developments House and Senate Committees Hold Markup of CFIUS,” May 23, 2018, Covington Alert
  • “CFIUS Developments: Senate Banking Committee Releases Draft Manager’s Amendment to FIRRMA,” May 16, 2018, Covington Alert
  • Former Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense Joins Covington,” October 5, 2016

Regulatory and Public Policy

  • Public Policy


  • Aerospace, Defense, and National Security


  • The Ohio State University, M.A./Ph.D., 2009
  • University of Tennessee, B.A., 2000
    • summa cum laude

Government Service

  • S. Department of Defense
  • White House

Covington & Burling LLP
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850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
+1 202 662 5414