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Anne M. Brennan Wins Beatrice Rosenberg Award

By David O’Boyle

May 10, 2019

Anne Brennan  (1)The D.C. Bar will honor Anne M. Brennan, former acting general counsel of the Navy, with the 2019 Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service. The award, given each year to a Bar member whose career exemplifies the highest order of public service, will be presented at the Bar’s 2019 Celebration of Leadership on June 11 at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

Brennan served as an attorney with the U.S. Department of the Navy from 1986 to 2019, twice selected for the president-appointed, Senate-confirmed position of acting general counsel of the Navy. During the 2013 federal government shutdown, Brennan created the operating rules that enabled the department to continue supporting the war efforts in Afghanistan and other military operations despite limited funding.

“I am truly honored and excited to be named the recipient of the Rosenberg Award. It is extra special to receive an award named after a sister graduate of Wellesley College,” says Brennan, citing Wellesley’s motto, Non ministrari, sed ministrare (Not to be ministered unto, but to minister). “To me, that embodies a career of government service.”

Throughout her career with the Department of the Navy, Brennan was instrumental in protecting the department from fraud. She played a vital role in a high-profile acquisition fraud case involving contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. She also developed the implementation plan to expand the department’s prosecution program targeting fraud under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, which is expected to result in an estimated $100 million in savings.

Additionally, Brennan oversaw the department’s Office of the General Counsel in providing critical relief following natural disasters around the globe. For example, Operation Tomodachi assisted Japan after an earthquake and tsunami. Starting in 2006, she developed innovative legal theories and legislative solutions to overcome fiscal law obstacles so the department could act more effectively in disaster relief.

In February 2019 Brennan retired from federal service and joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as principal deputy general counsel.

Brennan says serving in government was important to her because it entails “working toward a greater good. In my particular case, it was the defense of our nation.”

The Rosenberg Award was established in honor of Beatrice “Bea” Rosenberg, who dedicated 35 years of her career to government service and performed with distinction at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She also served on the Board on Professional Responsibility.