Robert Burton, Venable

Robert Burton
Partner, Venable LLP


Robert A. Burton is a nationally-recognized federal procurement attorney, who focuses his practice on assisting government contractors navigate the complex and rule-driven procurement process. He represents a wide range of companies that conduct business with the federal government, from large defense contractors and systems integrators to small businesses. Mr. Burton assists government contractors with the development and management of their ethics and compliance programs and aids them with their marketing strategies for selling to the government.

A thirty-year veteran of procurement law and policy development, Mr. Burton served in the Executive Office of the President as Deputy Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the nation's top career federal procurement official. He also served as Acting Administrator for two years during his seven-year tenure at OFPP.

As Deputy Administrator of OFPP, Mr. Burton was responsible for the government’s acquisition policy and procurement guidance to all Executive Branch agencies. His office was charged with developing policy affecting more than $400 billion in annual federal spending – a figure that doubled during Mr. Burton’s time in office as a result of the Iraq War and other major events.

At OFPP, Mr. Burton was instrumental on a number of fronts, including preparing the Administration’s policy positions and testimony on proposed acquisition legislation; working with House and Senate committees on the development of acquisition reform proposals; and serving as a principal spokesperson for government-wide acquisition initiatives. He also served as the Executive Director of the Chief Acquisition Officers (CAO) Council, which comprises the Chief Acquisition Officers from each federal agency. Mr. Burton also managed the activities of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council, which has statutory authority to promulgate the government's procurement regulations.

Prior to joining OFPP in 2001, he spent over twenty years as a senior acquisition attorney with the Department of Defense. At the Defense Contract Management Agency, he negotiated the resolution of high-profile contract disputes with major defense contractors and provided advice on cost allowability issues. He served as general counsel for DoD’s Defense Energy Support Center as well as associate general counsel for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the DoD component responsible for purchasing most of the general supplies and services used by the military services. At DLA, Mr. Burton served as counsel to the agency's suspension and debarment official and managed the agency's fraud remedies program, working with the Department of Justice and the criminal investigative agencies to coordinate appropriate remedies in major procurement fraud cases.