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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 »

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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Autonomous Weapon Systems: Why a Ban (Still) Won’t Work and How the Laws of War Can

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Friday, October 18, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Over at TNR’s Security States, Matt and I have a new piece about international calls to ban autonomous weapon systems.  It begins like this: What if armed drones were not just piloted remotely by humans in far-away bunkers, but they were programmed under certain circumstances to select and fire at some targets entirely on their . . .
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Readings: FAA v. Pirker (Domestic Drone Flights)

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Although the Federal Aviation Administration has been tasked by Congress to come up with regulations for the use of drones  in domestic airspace, it is running late on that mandate.  Even small, light model-airplane type drones operate under a narrow exemption for non-commercial hobbyists.  (As readers of Lawfare know, even flying the toy Parrot quadracopter . . .
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Readings: Ashley Deeks on Domestic (International) Humanitarian Law

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Ashley Deeks (UVA and Lawfare) has posted a book chapter to SSRN, “Domestic Humanitarian Law: Developing the Law of War in Domestic Courts,” which will appear in D. Jinks, J. Maogoto, S. Solomon (eds.), Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Bodies: International and Domestic Aspects.  The article coins a new term, “DHL,” or “domestic . . .
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Readings: Ashley Deeks, “The Observer Effect”

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 12:04 AM

UVA’s (and Lawfare’s own) Ashley Deeks has posted a new article to SSRN, “The Observer Effect: National Security Litigation, Policy Changes, and Judicial Deference,” forthcoming (November 2013) in Fordham Law Review. Abstract: The national security deference debate has reached a stalemate.  Those favoring extensive deference to executive branch national security decisions celebrate the limited role . . .
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“Drones Are the Future for Dull or Dangerous Missions”

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 7:00 PM

The splendidly quotable title quote – “Clearly, drones are the future for dull or dangerous missions” – comes from Dan Jangblad , chief strategy officer for Sweden’s aerospace company, Saab AB, by way of an article in today’s Wall Street Journal (David Pearson, October 9, 2013, B6, likely behind paywall), “Europe’s  Elusive Drone Push.”  The article . . .
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Five Fundamental International Law Approaches to the Legality of a Syria Intervention

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Lurking behind international law arguments over a possible US armed intervention in Syria without Security Council authorization are fundamental divides over the nature of international law itself.  These divides include its authority with respect to sovereign states, the sources of authority it draws upon and methods of interpretation, and the degree to which it is . . .
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Readings: Kevin Jon Heller Watches “Crossing Lines” for Its Imaginary International Criminal Law

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Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 2:00 PM

“Crossing Lines” is a new NBC cop series this season that features … well, here’s the plot description at Wikipedia: Based in The Hague, a fictionalized version of the International Criminal Court‘s special crime unit (itself a fictional agency) investigates serialised crimes that cross the borders of Europe. The unit includes an anti-mafia covert specialist from Italy, . . .
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Readings: George Shultz, Park Avenue Synagogue Address, 1984

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Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 8:44 AM

The age of international and transnational terrorism came to prominence in the late 1960s and 70s, and then kicked into high gear in the 1980s, particularly where terrorists were supported by, and sometimes used as surrogates for, regimes.  On October 23, 1983, on the one year anniversary of the attack on the US Marines’ barracks . . .
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Taking the CIA Out of Drone Strikes? The Obama Administration’s Yemen Experience

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Washington Post national security reporter Greg Miller has an excellent story in Sunday’s paper on the operational role of the CIA in drone warfare.  Back at the time of the Brennan confirmation hearings, and even before, there had been discussion that the CIA would be pulled – even if only gradually – out of drone . . .
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You Are an Operational Commander of AQAP Reading the White House Fact Sheet

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Friday, May 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Along with President Obama’s speech yesterday on counterterrorism policy, the White House released a document titled Fact Sheet: U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities.  Among other important matters (such as declaring a preference for capture), the Fact Sheet provides . . .
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The Case for Drones

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM

With President Obama’s big speech tomorrow on counterterrorism policy at National Defense University in mind, Commentary Magazine has been nice enough to post today my June cover essay, “The Case for Drones.”  (It’s free; no subscriber wall.)  Lawfare readers will probably immediately understand it as a mixture of the arguments Ben and I made at . . .
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