Donald J. Kassilke


Washington, D.C.

(202) 463-2506

(202) 912-4830

Don advises U.S. and international transportation companies, manufacturers, and exporters on a wide variety of matters relating to international trade, commercial transactions, and regulatory compliance, and has successfully represented clients involved in commercial litigation before federal courts and administrative agencies. 

He regularly counsels clients on U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), economic sanctions and embargoes (OFAC), foreign investment (CFIUS), and customs regulations (CBP).  He has assisted clients with export licenses, commodity classifications, commodity jurisdiction determinations, compliance program design, implementation and training, voluntary disclosures, and penalty mitigation petitions and has secured favorable resolutions of investigations conducted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Bureau of Industry and Security, and Customs and Border Protection.

Don also advises on transportation regulatory matters before the Federal Aviation Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Federal Maritime Commission and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. He has successfully represented clients before state and federal legislative bodies on numerous transportation safety and regulatory issues. He has extensive experience in the formation and reorganization of business entities, corporate governance, and antitrust, environmental, and safety compliance.

Don has a degree in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in political science from Auburn University at Montgomery. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air War College and received his law degree with honors from the George Washington University School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Don served on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. He also previously served as a naval flight officer and has amassed nearly 3,000 hours in various aircraft. He presently serves as a board member of the nonprofit National Veterans Legal Services Program.



Eurofins Scientific Acquires EAG Laboratories for $780 Million

December 05, 2017

The national corporate practice and international practice at Cozen O’Connor represented Eurofins Scientific SE in the acquisition of EAG Laboratories from affiliates of Odyssey Investment Partners. The transaction is valued at $780 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis, and closed on December 1, 2017.


Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month: OFAC and FinCEN Issue New Advisories on Ransomware Payments [Alert]

October 08, 2020

Don Kassilke and Katie Sobotta discuss the two new advisories from OFAC and FinCEN on ransomware attacks.

Up in Smoke: OFAC Further Erodes Obama-Era Cuba Rules [Alert]

September 29, 2020

Don Kassilke and Rachel Welford discuss OFAC's amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to further restrict U.S. engagement with Cuba in order to deny revenue to the Cuban regime.

U.S. Government Issues Sanctions Advisory for the Maritime Industry and Energy and Metals Sectors [Alerts]

May 18, 2020

Don Kassilke discusses the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the U.S. Coast Guard jointly released a Sanctions Advisory for the Maritime Industry, Energy and Metals Sectors, and Related Communities that provides private sector actors with information regarding illicit shipping and sanctions evasion practices.

FEMA Issues Further Guidance on PPE Exports [Alert]

April 22, 2020

Don Kassilke and Wayne Rohde discuss FEMA's additional guidance about the 10 categories of PPE exports that would be exempt from the recent, temporary ban.

OFAC Publishes Fact Sheet on Humanitarian Assistance to Sanctioned Countries [Alert]

April 20, 2020

Don Kassilke, Wayne Rohde, and Kathryn Sobotta discuss OFAC's recently release Fact Sheet detailing regulatory requirements relevant to export humanitarian goods to sanctioned countries such as Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Ukraine, and Russia.

U.S. to Prohibit the Export of Certain Personal Protective Equipment

April 10, 2020

Don Kassilke and Wayne Rohde discuss FEMA's anticipated temporary final rule prohibiting certain exportation of PPE, including N95 respirators, surgical masks, and exam and surgical gloves.

U.S. Pressures Iran’s Revenue Sources: Sanctions Four New Sectors; Designates Foreign Metals Traders

January 15, 2020

In an Executive Order issued on January 10, 2020, the Trump Administration announced the imposition of new sanctions relating to the construction, mining, manufacturing and textile sectors of the Iranian economy and left open the possibility of targeting other sectors, “as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State.”

DOJ Offers Incentives to Encourage Self-Reporting of Export and Sanctions Violations [Alert]

December 19, 2019

Martin S. Bloor and Don Kassilke the DOJ's revised guidance regarding VSDs to further encourage companies to self-report potential criminal violations of the U.S. export control and economic sanctions laws.

Venezuela: Not an Embargo, but Closer

August 08, 2019

In a significant escalation of economic pressure on Venezuela’s Maduro regime, President Trump issued an executive order on August 5 that blocks all Venezuelan government property in the U.S. or in the possession of U.S. persons.

OFAC Issues Iran-Related Civil Aviation Industry Advisory

July 30, 2019

Don Kassilke and Bob Foster discuss OFAC's Iran-Related Civil Aviation Industry Advisory and why it could mean OFAC will be taking a greater interest in the Iranian aviation sector.

Droning On: Trump Administration Calls for Additional Sanctions on Iran [Alert]

June 26, 2019

Don Kassilke and Matt Howell discuss the largely symbolic new round of sanctions specifically targeting the senior leadership of the Iranian regime.

It’s Alive – Trump Administration Resurrects Helms-Burton Title III

April 24, 2019

Don Kassilke and Matthew Howell discuss what the implementation of Title III means in practical terms and how it could impact entities trading with Cuba.

U.S. Lowers the (Oil) Boom on Venezuela [Alert]

February 05, 2019

Don Kassilke and Matt Howell discuss Executive Order 13850 and why it is important entities that have dealings with PdVSA or any of its related entities carefully review the restrictions and general licenses published by OFAC to ensure compliance with applicable OFAC regulations.

OFAC Announces Imminent Termination of Rusal Sanctions [Alert]

December 20, 2018

Don Kassilke and Matt Howell discuss the Treasury Department's decision to terminate sanctions imposed on En+ Group PLC, United Company Rusal PLC ), and JSC EuroSibEnergo, three companies placed on the SDN list because they were owned or controlled by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch sanctioned pursuant to Executive Orders 13661 and 13662.

U.S. Completes Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal [Alert]

November 06, 2018

Don Kassilke and Matt Howell discuss the conclusion of the wind-down periods and the United State's return to the pre-JCPOA status quo with regard to most secondary sanctions.

President Trump Withdraws the United States from JCPOA with Iran [Transportation & Trade Alert]

May 10, 2018

Don Kassilke discusses President Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its impact on the aircraft manufacturing sector, U.S. persons, and non-U.S. persons and entities.

United States Increases Pressure on Venezuela [Transportation & Trade Alert]

August 28, 2017

The Trump administration effectively restricted the Government of Venezuela and Venezuela’s state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., from access to U.S. financial markets.

Russia-Iran-North Korea Sanctions: Congress Makes a Statement [Transportation & Trade Alert]

August 01, 2017

Donald Kassilke, Robert Freeman, and Jennifer Urban discuss The ‘‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’’ that is composed of three distinct titles each of which mandates the development of various reports and sets out certain mandatory and discretionary sanctions for implementation by the executive branch.

President Trump Announces Changes to Cuba Policy [Transportation & Trade Alert]

June 19, 2017

Don Kassilke discusses the changes to that have been made to the U.S's Cuba Policy by the Trump administration.

Trump Administration Turns Up the Heat on Iran [Transportation & Trade Alert]

February 06, 2017

Don Kassilke and Jennifer Urban discuss the recent addition of 13 individuals and 12 entities to the SDN list, made pursuant to two existing executive orders that address weapons of mass destruction proliferation and counterterrorism

Obama Administration Eases Sanctions on Sudan [Transportation & Trade Alert]

January 19, 2017

Don Kassilke and Jennifer Urban discuss an executive order issued by President Obama effectively lifting most sanctions against Sudan.

OFAC and BIS Changes to Cuba Sanctions Further Ease Trade and Travel Restrictions

October 19, 2016

Don Kassilke and Rachel Welford discuss a change in OFAC policy and regulations that expands opportunities for U.S. persons to explore and develop business relationships in Cuba.

OFAC Announces Termination of Burma Sanctions [Transportation & Trade Alert]

October 14, 2016

Don Kassilke and Rachel Welford discuss the much anticipated executive order formally terminating U.S. sanctions against Burma.

OFAC and BIS Continue to Ease Cuba Shipping, Travel and Banking Sanctions [Transportation & Trade Alert]

March 22, 2016

Don Kassilke and Rachel Welford discuss the latest amendments, which became effective March 16, 2016, further ease sanctions in the areas of travel, banking and shipping, among others.

New OFAC General License Will Facilitate Trade with Burma [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

December 22, 2015

Under a general license issued earlier this month, all trade-related transactions that are ordinarily incident to an exportation to or from Burma of goods, technology, or non-financial services are authorized, provided the exportation is not to, from, or on behalf of a person or entity on the SDN list.

U.S. Commercial Flights to Cuba to Resume in 2016; Trade Embargo Remains Intact [Aviation Alert]

December 21, 2015

The U.S. State Department said that under the deal, U.S. airlines could operate up to 110 round-trip flights per day between the United States and Cuba as soon as 2016, which includes 20 flights to Havana and 10 to each of the other nine international airports in Cuba.

“Adoption Day” Marks Official Launch of P5 + 1 Nuclear Deal with Iran

October 20, 2015

Beginning on October 18, 2015, JCPOA participants will start taking the steps necessary to implement their JCPOA commitments.

OFAC and BIS Announce Further Easing of Cuba Sanctions [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

September 28, 2015

These regulatory changes build on earlier revisions published in January 2015 and further ease sanctions related to authorized travel, telecommunications, Internet-based services, business operations in Cuba, and remittances. They do not, however, lift the sanctions, and most prohibitions remain in place.

P5+1 Nations Reach Nuclear Deal with Iran [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

July 16, 2015

Under the JCPOA, Iran will reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium, limit the number of centrifuges it operates for uranium enrichment, and allow monitoring of its nuclear program by IAEA inspectors and the U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions against Iran will be eased and ultimately phased out.

U.S. and Cuba Reestablish Diplomatic Relations [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

July 06, 2015

President Obama announced that the United States and Cuba had reached agreement on the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and that the two countries would soon reopen embassies in each other’s capitals for the first time since 1961.

White House Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

March 12, 2015

On March 9, 2015, pursuant to authority contained in the recently enacted Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act (Act), President Obama issued an executive order (EO) declaring a national emergency with respect to Venezuela. The EO cites ongoing public corruption, oppression of political opponents, curtailment of Venezuela’s free press, and violent human rights abuses in Venezuela that pose a threat to U.S. security and foreign policy and directs the imposition of targeted economic sanctions.

U.S. Announces Major Policy Shift on Cuba [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

December 18, 2014

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced the beginning of major reforms regarding the relationship between the United States and Cuba. In a statement made from the White House, President Obama announced that the country would end its “outdated approach” to Cuba and begin to normalize relations between the two countries.

U.S. Government Provides Guidance Regarding Certain Temporary Aviation-Related Iran Sanctions Relief [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

December 15, 2014

As previously advised, on January 20, 2014, Iran and the group of nations known as the P5+1 (United States, U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany) implemented a Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) whereby Iran agreed to accept limits on its nuclear program in exchange for limited, temporary relief from economic sanctions. The JPOA implementation was to last six months, during which time the parties would seek to negotiate a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program. On November 24, 2014, Iran and the P5+1 countries extended the JPOA for a second time, thus leaving in place through June 30, 2015 the limited sanctions relief provided under the original JPOA while the parties continue negotiations.

Iran Nuclear Talks: Extension of Joint Plan of Action [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

July 23, 2014

On Friday, July 18, 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement that the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) negotiated between the P5+1 nations and Iran would be extended until November 24, 2014. As we reported previously, the JPOA was an agreement under which the United State s and others would provide limited and temporary sanctions relief to Iran in return for Iran foregoing certain elements of its nuclear program, including a reduction of its stockpile of enriched uranium.

U.S. Ukraine-Related Sanctions: Another List to Check and What It Means [Transportation & Logistics Alert]

July 23, 2014

On July 16, 2014 in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that it was adding several individuals and entities to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. As with previous designations, most of the individuals appear to be high ranking members of Russia’s political or military establishment, while the entities appear connected to Russia’s energy and defense sectors.

United States Imposes Sanctions in Response to Ukraine Crisis [Transportation & Logistics Newsletter]

May 02, 2014

Since March 6, in response to the events in Ukraine, the Obama administration has issued three executive orders targeting individuals and entities deemed to be undermining the security of Ukraine. While all appear to be directed at Russia’s annexation of Crimea, each expands the potential number of sanctions targets and could collectively be used to deter further Russian activities in the region.

Implementation of Temporary Iran Sanctions Relief [Maritime Alert]

January 28, 2014

Last November, the group of nations known as the P5+1 (United States, U.K., Germany, France, Russia and China) reached an initial understanding with Iran whereby Iran agreed to accept limits on its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions. The initial agreement was intended to last six months, during which time the parties would seek to negotiate a comprehensive agreement.

p5-1-reach-initial-agreement-with-iran-on-nuclear-program [Maritime Alert]

December 04, 2013

On November 24, the group of nations known as the P5+1 (United States, U.K., Germany, France, Russia and China) reached an initial understanding with Iran whereby Iran has agreed to accept limits on its nuclear program in exchange for what a White House Fact Sheet describes as “limited, temporary, targeted and reversible relief” from economic sanctions.

Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 [Business Law Alert]

January 23, 2013

On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 4013) (NDAA 2013). The Act contains several new Iran sanctions that target Iran’s energy, shipbuilding and shipping sectors, including its ports. The Act also imposes new obligations on insurers and underwriters providing services to those industries.

Expanded U.S. Sanctions Will Affect Companies Doing Business in Iran [Business Law Alert!]

November 28, 2011

Expanded U.S. Sanctions Will Affect Companies Doing Business in Iran - Business Law Alert! - On November 21, 2011, the United States imposed expanded sanctions against Iran in response to a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency concerning Iran’s nuclear aspirations. These new sanctions primarily target non-U.S. persons and entities that transact business relating to Iran’s petroleum, petrochemical, and banking sectors. Both the United Kingdom and Canada have also announced their intentions to tighten restrictions on financial and trade transactions with Iran.

Industry Sectors


  • George Washington University School of Law, J.D., 2002
  • Auburn University–Montgomery, M.S., 1994
  • U.S. Air War College , , 1994
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1979
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • American Bar Association