Brian J. Cavanaugh is a Visiting Fellow in the Border Security and Immigration Center at The Heritage Foundation. Cavanaugh is a pragmatic policy maker who has senior experience serving in the Department of Homeland Security, at the White House, and in the fire service.
Cavanaugh currently serves as Senior Vice President at American Global Strategies, a firm founded by former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Alex Gray, where he advises Fortune 100 businesses on critical infrastructure security and resilience, crisis management, continuity of operations, and supply chain resilience.
Prior to joining American Global Strategies, Cavanaugh served as the Executive Director for Strategic Planning and Integration for the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD). In this capacity he was responsible for the oversight of policy development, integrated execution, and whole-of-government coordination for the Department’s health security and resilience mission.
Cavanaugh leverages extensive experience from serving in the White House as the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Resilience Policy on the National Security Council (NSC). During his three-year tenure at the NSC, Mr. Cavanaugh served as the National Continuity Coordinator, Deputy National Policy Coordinator for the Defense Production Act during the response to 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the White House representative to the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council.
His actions on the National Security Council included establishing the first ever election security and countering foreign malign influence policy coordination groups, facilitating 339 Presidential declarations under the Stafford Act, and provided leadership integral to the President’s historic response to COVID-19.
Cavanaugh led numerous efforts to formalize critical infrastructure security and resilience efforts including overseeing the implementation of Executive Orders 13848 Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election, 13865 Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses, 13905 Strengthening National Resilience Through Responsible Use of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Services, and 13961 Governance and Integration of Federal Mission Resilience.
Cavanaugh’s federal government service began at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where he served in several roles including, the Agency’s chief liaison for the Office of Management and Budget and both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, as well as a preparedness officer for FEMA’s Protection and National Preparedness Directorate where he specialized in transportation and maritime security.
Cavanaugh has provided his expert opinion on CNN International and authored a number of pieces covering national security and homeland security topics which have been published by Foreign Policy, 19Forty-Five, and The Hill.
Service to community is deeply rooted in Cavanaugh as he has served in the Prince George’s County Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter and EMT since 1998. He has held the rank of Volunteer Battalion Chief, Deputy Fire Chief, Vice President of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, and Trustee on the Board for the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department.
He is a graduate of the University of Maryland where he was a member of the 2002 National Championship and 2004 ACC Championship Men’s Basketball teams and earned a master’s degree in Homeland Security Management from the University of Maryland.