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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 »

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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Speaking the Law: Chapter 2

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Just in time for the President’s speech on Thursday, the Hoover Institution has released Chapter 2 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 offers a normative account of where we think the administration’s speeches on national security . . .
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Readings: Michael Glennon on the “Incompleteness” of International Law Governing the Use of Force

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Monday, May 13, 2013 at 2:00 PM

International and foreign relations law professor Michael J. Glennon has posted a new paper to SSRN, “The Road Ahead: Gaps, Leaks, and Drips,” which will be of considerable interest to both scholars and practicing lawyers trying to get their arms around questions of fundamental method in international law governing the use of force.  The article . . .
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Readings: Thomas Nachbar on Legitimacy and Counterinsurgency

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Thomas Nachbar  (well known to many Lawfare readers – University of Virginia law professor and US Army reservist in the JAG Corps, among other roles) has posted to SSRN a paper originally published last year in the military strategy journal Parameters (Spring 2012), “Counterinsurgency, Legitimacy, and the Rule of Law.”  Although much has happened in . . .
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Autonomous Weapons Systems: Recent Events and a Response

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Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:00 AM

In recent weeks, a coalition of NGOs launched a global campaign to ban “killer robots,” or fully autonomous weapon systems (see reporting here).  Its statement calls “for urgent action to preemptively ban lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention.”  We critique that campaign and its empirical . . .
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Readings: Gabriella Blum, ‘The Individualization of War: From Collectivism to Individualism in the Regulation of Armed Conflicts’

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Friday, April 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Harvard Law School professor Gabriella Blum has posted a book chapter to SSRN, “The Individualization of War: From Collectivism to Individualization in the Regulation of Warfare,” appearing in Sarat, Douglas, Umphrey, eds., Law and War (Stanford UP 2013 forthcoming).  This chapter is an important step in a long-running project Gabby Blum has been pursuing on the . . .
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Readings: ‘Funding Terror’

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Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Financial resources for terrorist groups probably should get more attention here at Lawfare than we give it.  We know that interdiction of terrorist financing has been utterly crucial as a tool of counterterrorism since 9/11, but the ins and outs of this can be hard to follow without a background in law of finance, financial . . .
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Steve Vladeck, Role Model

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Congratulations to Lawfare’s very own Steve Vladeck who, in his day job as professor and associate dean for scholarship at Washington College of Law, American University, has just been awarded the 2013 “University Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity, and Other Professional Contributions.”  This is a major honor at American University, where I also . . .
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Speaking the Law: The Obama Administration’s Addresses on National Security Law

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Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 7:08 AM

We are excited to announce the launch of a project at which we have been hard at work for some time. It’s a book—being published chapter by chapter—by the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law, explicating and evaluating the Obama Administration’s speeches on national security legal issues. Entitled Speaking the Law The . . .
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The ICRC Intercross Blog Series on the Typology of Conflicts

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 1:06 PM

“Intercross,” the blog page of the International Committee of the Red Cross, is currently running a series of posts with leading ICRC lawyers and guest commentators on the complex and often vexed question of the legal typology of armed conflict.  The head of the ICRC legal department, Knut Doermann, introduced the whole series, followed by . . .
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