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Steven A. McCain

Director of Defense Policy Practice
Fax +1.202.778.9100
Colonel Steve McCain retired from the Department of Defense (DOD) after twenty-six years of service and now leads the firm’s national security policy practice providing legislative and appropriations counsel to defense, energy, aerospace, and homeland security industries, academia, and other nonprofit organizations regarding federal business development, budget and acquisition, as well as congressional actions.

Prior to joining the firm, Colonel McCain was the director of legislative affairs, U.S. Pacific Command, and principal advisor to the combatant commander for all congressional liaison. He advocated directly with Congress and professional committee staff for programs, budgets, and policies, and executed legislative strategy, which improved global defense force capability. Colonel McCain provided critical support for senior military leadership testimony before Congress regarding the Asia-Pacific region.

In the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom, he served as commander of an Air Expeditionary Wing where he led support and combat operations of Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and coalition forces in Afghanistan. He also commanded a combat search and rescue operations group, where he was responsible for flying, training, maintenance, and deployment of personnel and aircraft to combat operations worldwide.

In his capacity as the principal deputy legislative assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he coordinated legislative efforts with senior military leaders which helped galvanize congressional support for billions of dollars in healthcare reform, operational readiness, and weapon modernization programs. Prior to his tour with the Joint Staff, he was the director of legislative affairs in the Washington, D.C., office of the U.S. Special Operations Command, where he built congressional advocacy for special operations missions and for significant funding increases in key classified programs.

His experience also includes service as a Branch Chief of Aircraft Systems at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Georgia, where he managed aircraft and helicopter modification programs. In this capacity, he resolved acquisition, contracting, and logistics challenges with the defense industry.

Colonel McCain has over 2500 hours in various aircraft as a navigator, including 150 in combat. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Aerial Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

Speaking Engagements

  • Department of Defense Utilities Privatization Panel, Moderator, Association of Defense Communities, November 2018
  • 2017 Defense Innovation Summit: Politics & Policy - National Security Space
  • 2017 Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summit & Expo: Politics & Policy - Defense Energy & Cybersecurity

Additional Information

  • Army War College, 1997
  • Air War College, 1996
Colonel McCain develops and implements plans of action for industry clients to improve competitive edge, leverage new opportunities, and strengthen and diversify their federal business in leading-edge technologies. He leads teams within the firm to help clients achieve policy and appropriations goals which include the following:
  • Successfully advocated for a policy change with Congress regarding the privatization of utilities services for the DoD. Secured legislative changes to the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that allows industry to compete fairly in a market driven process.
  • Worked closely with Congress, DoD, Department of State (DoS), public policy "think tanks" to support a strategic rebalance of military forces in the Asia Pacific region and separately secured legislation to recognize India's status as a major defense partner of the U.S.
  • Assists space industry with Defense Authorization and Appropriations promoting U.S. commercial space launch capabilities, domestic rocket engine production, integrated satellite communications and sensors, and stronger national security space capabilities/programs.
  • Provided expert counsel to a large business regarding veterans transition assistance programs.
  • Assisted a major Federally Funded Research and Development Center regarding government relations.
  • Assisted a small business regarding vision assistive technology for blind veterans.
  • Successfully advocated for Trusted Foundry semiconductor manufacturers regarding federal business development, policy, and appropriations to improve defense industrial base supply chain.
  • Teams business CEOs with the Department of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Congress to advance robotics, materials, artificial intelligence, energy, healthcare, aerospace and cybersecurity to meet emerging national security requirements.
  • Advocated for a world-wide shipper of military privately owned vehicles.
  • Assists a global energy management and automation company regarding federal and state business development and policy objectives.
  • Advised a non-profit organization seeking federal support for energy initiatives and to establish key federal contacts within DOD and the Department of Energy (DOE).
  • Advised small helicopter manufacturer regarding its first major contract proposal, and acquisition milestones for Army's light utility helicopter program.
  • Promotes high-technology coalitions (e.g. Quantum Science, Satellite Communications) activities with academia, congress and the Administration to ensure U.S. global leadership.
  • Counseled a small business regarding Naval acquisition of a secure cross-domain network access information system to protect U.S. intel operatives abroad.
  • Secured DoD support for the first-ever USA Science & Engineering Festival for 6th-12th graders from around the country, 500,000 participated.