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Posts by Kenneth Anderson

Kenneth Anderson is professor of law at Washington College of Law, American University; a visiting fellow of the Hoover Institution and member of its Task Force on National Security and Law; and a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution. He writes on international law, the laws of war, and national security, and his most recent book is "Living with the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order." Full bio »

Readings: Civilian Intelligence Agencies and the Use of Armed Drones by Ian Henderson

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Friday, June 27, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Footnote 44 of the recently released and much-discussed OLC Awlaki memorandum is heavily redacted, but what’s left reads, in part: Nor would the fact that CIA personnel would be involved in the operation itself cause the operation to violate the laws of war. It is true that CIA personnel, by virtue of their not being part of . . .
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Readings: Through Our Glass Darkly: From ‘Universal’ to ‘Extraterritorial’?

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Monday, June 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Apologies for Shameless Self-Promotion, but I wanted to mention an essay of mine that came out a couple of months ago as part of an excellent symposium on the work of Harvard Law School’s comparative law scholar, my old and dear friend Mary Ann Glendon. (Duquesne Law Review, Vol. 52, Winter 2014, pp. 115-149, “Through Our . . .
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Readings: Can Non-State Actors Mount an Armed Attack? by Kimberly N. Trapp

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Among the issues separating the American understanding of international law regarding transnational non-state actor armed groups from that of the “international community” (or at least an influential and significant part of UN officialdom, international law academics, international tribunals, international human rights NGOs, and governments particularly in Europe) is whether it is even possible for a . . .
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Readings: The Diffusion of Drone Warfare: Industrial, Infrastructural and Organizational Constraints by Andrea Gilli and Mauro Gilli

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Political science graduate students Andrea Gilli (European Union Institute, Florence) and Mauro Gilli (Northwestern University, Evanston) have posted a new and provocative paper to SSRN–“The Diffusion of Drone Warfare: Industrial, Infrastructural and Organizational Constraints.” I read this paper when first posted to SSRN some weeks back, but I waited to discuss it in a Readings post . . .
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Readings: “Ending Perpetual War?” by David A. Simon

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Monday, May 19, 2014 at 5:50 PM

David A. Simon, special counsel to the General Counsel, Department of Defense, has posted a new article to SSRN, “Ending Perpetual War? Constitutional War Termination Powers and the Conflict Against Al Qaeda” (41 Pepperdine Law Review 685 (2014)).  It’s an excellent article, and I heartily recommend it to those wanting a careful, nuanced walk through the . . .
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Readings: NSA Report on the 702 Program

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Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Below is the text of a Report/public comment on the 702 program submitted by the NSA Civil Liberties and Privacy Office to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), dated April 16, 2014. It doesn’t appear to have received much notice so far (and doesn’t seem to be online yet).  The following text of the . . .
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WeRobot2014 Conference Underway at University of Miami

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Friday, April 4, 2014 at 11:49 AM

The annual WeRobot program has emerged as the key conference on the legal, policy, moral, and other normative questions related to robotics. It is underway at this moment at the University of Miami, hosted by the law school and organized by law professor Michael Froomkin, who is one of the leaders of the field. The . . .
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Readings: A Critique of ‘Jus Post Bellum’ in International Law, by Eric De Brabandere

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM

In the past two decades or so, an enormous amount of academic international law and policy attention has gone to the concept of jus post bellum, or “post conflict justice.”  There are various ways of rendering the phrase with varying intellectual or political commitments implied – “post-conflict transitional justice,” “law and obligations applicable to the . . .
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Are Armed Drones Anything Strategically New?

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Strategika, a Hoover Institution online journal edited by Victor Davis Hanson, has published a symposium on whether armed drones are strategically something new, or just an incremental step forward in remote platform weapon systems.  Ben and I have a brief contribution to the issue, taken mostly from Chapter 3 of Speaking the Law, our book . . .
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Readings: “Charting the Legal Geography of NIAC” by Michael Schmitt

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Monday, February 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

I’ll be participating this week in a Naval War College workshop on “Legal Implications of Autonomous Weapons,” and since my presentation topic at the workshop is “area of operations” with respect to autonomous weapons, I thought it might be a good idea to check on any recent scholarship on what has come to be called . . .
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Readings: “Using Force on Land to Suppress Piracy at Sea,” by Steven R. Obert

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Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Although piracy in the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates is sharply down in the last year or two, threats remain and an increase in attacks is far from impossible.  After all, little has been done to disrupt the land-based organizational, logistical, and financial structures of  Somali piracy.  Nearly all anti-piracy use-of-force actions have taken place . . .
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A Modest Proposal for NSA Data Collection

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Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 10:04 PM

I have a suggestion for solving nearly all of NSA’s problems: A click-through agreement. A peculiarity of the NSA data collection controversy is that the US public, we are told, is outraged by NSA activities, including the collection of “metadata,” on the one hand, while that same public appears quite willing to share much of . . .
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Readings: Chris Borgen on Realpolitik in Russia’s ‘Near Abroad’

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Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Readings: Christopher Borgen, “Russia, Moldova, and the EU: Realpolitik as Normative Competition,” Opinio Juris, October 23, 2013; Christopher Borgen, “The Protests in Ukraine and Normative Geopolitics,” Opinio Juris, December 3, 2013. Chris Borgen, law professor at St John’s Law School and Opinio Juris blogger, is a leading expert on the increasingly fraught law-and-geopolitics of Russia’s . . .
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Readings: Caelum Liberam: Air Defense Identification Zones Outside Sovereign Airspace, by Peter A. Dutton

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Friday, November 29, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Given all the discussion around China’s controversial announcement this past week of an “Air Defense Identification Zone” in the East China Sea, it seems like a good moment for a Reading on the law and state practice of ADIZ.  Peter A. Dutton, a professor at the US Naval War College, published in 2009 an excellent . . .
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Readings: Christine Fair, “Drones, Spies, Terrorists and Second-Class Citizenship in Pakistan – A Review Essay”

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Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Georgetown University political scientist C. Christine Fair has been a leading voice in challenging much of the conventional wisdom about the nature of conflict in Pakistan, including the role of US drones, the Pakistani Taliban, and Pakistan’s military.  In a brief but comprehensive essay, forthcoming in the journal Small Wars and Insurgencies (25.1), she reviews . . .
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Killer Robots and the Laws of War in Monday’s Wall Street Journal

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Monday, November 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an op-ed piece by Matt and me on the regulation of autonomous weapon systems, “Killer Robots and the Laws of War: Autonomous Weapons Are Coming and Can Save Lives. Let’s Make Sure They’re Used Ethically and Legally.”  Although the topic has not been especially visible in the United States (at . . .
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The More You Attempt Capture Operations, the Less Feasible They Become

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Friday, November 1, 2013 at 5:16 PM

A coda to Bobby’s post below asking about the legal views underlying US operations in Somalia over the past three weeks.  Three weeks ago, SEALs attempted a capture operation against a target on the coast of Somalia.  The SEAL team withdrew without capturing its target, on account of risks to noncombatants, it was reported.  Three . . .
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Speaking the Law: Chapter 3

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Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 7:58 AM

The Hoover Institution has released Chapter 3 of our serialized book: Speaking the Law: The Obama Administration’s Addresses on National Security Law. The Introduction and Chapter 1 came out in March. Chapter 2 came out in May. Chapter 3 offers a detailed account of President Obama’s May 23 speech at the National Defense University. It attempts to describe . . .
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Readings: The Case for Drones (Now Available at SSRN, No Paywall)

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 6:57 PM

With reports released this week critical of US drone strikes and targeted killing from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, this seems like a good moment to mention my own article from the June 2013 issue of Commentary magazine, “The Case for Drones“.  (It has just been posted to SSRN, . . .
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We Robot 2014 – Call for Presentation Proposals (Including on National Security Topics)

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Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM

For reasons that won’t surprise anyone, Lawfare deals a lot with automation and robotic technologies, ranging from cyber to big data to military robotics.  So readers might be interested to learn of next year’s We Robot 2014, the third annual conference devoted to the intersection of law, society, and technologies of robotics and automation.  The . . .
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