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Eric Hirschhorn, Undersecretary, Bureau of Industry and Security Eric Hirschhorn, Undersecretary, Bureau of Industry and Security

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2013 Manufacturing, Trade & Workforce / Commerce Department

Eric Hirschhorn, Undersecretary, Bureau of Industry and Security

photo of Chris Frates
July 16, 2013

As head of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security, Hirschhorn deals with export controls on commercial and military items. The bureau works with more than 100 federal law-enforcement agents to administer export rules. It also reviews foreign investments, ensures domestic compliance with the chemical-weapons convention and several other nonproliferation treaties, and monitors the defense industrial base. Hirschhorn's latest challenge has been developing the President's Export Control Reform Initiative, aimed at streamlining the export control system. "I hope to bring the … initiative to a successful conclusion while ensuring that BIS continues to do its day-to-day work ably and in timely fashion," he said. Asked why he got the job, Hirschhorn, 67, responded, "Aside from my boyish charm, I'd like to think that I was appointed because of my more than 30 years of experience in the substantive areas for which BIS is responsible." Indeed, Hirschhorn has spent time in both private legal practice and government service over his career. He worked for then-Rep. Bella Abzug, D-N.Y., and as chief counsel for a congressional subcommittee. He was the deputy assistant secretary for export administration at the Commerce Department during President Carter's administration and worked on Carter's reorganization project. Hirschhorn, a New York state native, earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago and a law degree from Columbia University Law School.

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