Call for Participants: The 8th Annual National Security Law Workshop

By Robert Chesney
Friday, February 27, 2015, 1:00 PM

I’m very happy to announce the call for proposals and attendees for the 8th Annual National Security Law Workshop, which will take place in Houston on May 14th and 15th this spring. Geoff Corn and I are co-hosting once more, and as in the past the event is co-sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross, South Texas College of Law, and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT.

The details appear below. Please pass this along to anyone who you think might be interested! The deadline for applications is March 20th.


Co-hosted by:
Professor Geoff Corn
Professor Bobby Chesney

Sponsored by:
The International Committee of the Red Cross
The South Texas College of Law
The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas—Austin

May 14-15, 2014
Location: Houston (South Texas College of Law)

The National Security Law Workshop, now in its eighth year, is a unique event. It brings civilian law faculty, Judge Advocates, ICRC representatives, and other government legal advisers together for two days of dialogue on national security law topics.

1. Location

This year the event will return to Houston and the terrific facilities at the South Texas College of Law.

2. Format

a. This year’s event will follow last year’s format, with an emphasis on roundtable discussions. Towards this end, we hereby solicit proposals to lead a roundtable discussion of a particular topic. Proposals should include a brief (no more than one page) discussion explaining the topic and its significance. And while we anticipate that a number of the discussion sessions will focus on the law relating to armed conflict, we also encourage proposals on a broader array of national security topics.

If the proposal is selected the proponent will be expected to:

• draft a 5 page (max) ‘point paper’ framing the issue for discussion, to be distributed no later than the end of April; and

• act as leader or co-leader of the discussion during that session (we may select an additional participant to assist in this capacity).

b. In addition to the roundtable discussions, we will continue our tradition of workshopping draft articles using a discussant model (albeit on a more limited scale than in the past, and with a special emphasis on true drafts—i.e., papers that will not be accepted for publication by the time of the event in May).

c. Finally, we also will accept requests to attend from individuals who are not submitting either a roundtable topic or a paper, but who do want to take part in the general discussions.

3. Applications

Please submit your proposals or attendance requests to both:

Bobby Chesney ([email protected]), and
Geoff Corn ([email protected])

by close of business on March 20th. Currently, we anticipate accepting 25-30 total attendees.

4. Expenses and logistics

The good news is that there is no registration fee or paperwork for those who are selected to attend (nor is there any CLE credit, alas). The bad news is that all attendees will be responsible for their own travel, lodging, and related expenses.

Once selections are made, we will provide further details on recommended accommodations and other logistical details.

5. Last year’s agenda:

Below is the agenda from last year’s event, which will give you at least a general sense of the structure we intend to follow for this year’s event:

Thursday May 15th

0845-0945: Roundtable #1: Covert & Clandestine Activity
Lead discussants: Bobby Chesney (UT) & Marty Lederman (Georgetown)

0945-1030: Paper #1: Intelligence Oversight
Paper by Margo Schlanger (Michigan); Commentary by Shirin Sinnar (Stanford)

1030-1045: Coffee Break

1045-1145: Roundtable #2: A Duty to Use Drones?
Lead discussants: Oren Gross (Minnesota) with JAG Faculty

1145-1245: Roundtable #3: Status of Military Personnel in Pre-Conflict Operations
Lead discussants: Jeffrey Transtrom (CENTCOM) & Jim Schoettler (Georgetown)

1245-1345: Lunch (Catered)

1345-1445: Paper #2: The Law of Military Objective
Paper by Ken Watkin (former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Defense Forces)

1445-1500: Break

1500-1600: Roundtable #4: Legal Responses to Mexican Security Issues
Gary Walsh (NORTHCOM) and Geoff Corn (South Texas)

Friday May 16th

0830-0945: Roundtable #5: Ending the War
Lead discussants: Laurie Blank (Emory) & Raha Wala (HRF) – Ending War

0945-1100: Roundtable #6: Top issues for Military Commissions
Lead discussants: Dave Glazier (Loyola LA) & Dru Brenner-Beck (President, NIMJ)

1100-1115: Coffee Break

1115-1230: Roundtable #7: The Judicial Role During (and After) War
Lead discussants: Jonathan Hafetz (Seton Hall) & Cully Stimson (Heritage)

1230-1345: Lunch (Catered)

1345-1500: Roundtable #8: Immunity in Armed Conflict, Role of Historical Sources
Lead discussants: Bill Kuebler (USNA) and Matt Festa (South Texas)

1500-1515: Break

1515-1630: Roundtable #9: Autonomous Weapons
Lead discussants: Michael Lewis (Ohio Northern) & Claire Finklestien (Penn)