Charlie Dunlap

Charles J. Dunlap is a retired Air Force major general who is currently a Professor of the Practice of Law, and Executive Director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke Law School.

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War Powers

Drones, Their Critics, and Obama's War Powers Legacy

Few things have been more emblematic of the military and, indeed, political aspects of the Obama War Powers legacy than drones.  As many have noted, the use of this weapons system has vastly increased during the Obama Administration, particularly in areas outside of active combat zones directly involving U.S. forces.   

Terrorism Trials: Military Commissions

Military Commissions After Al-Bahlul

I take issue with two recent critiques of the Guantanamo military commissions, both arising from a D.C. Circuit panel’s reversal, earlier this month, of the conviction by military commission of Ali al-Bahlul (an al Qaeda jihadist and detainee who had served in bin Laden’s inner circle) for conspiracy to commit war crimes.  The first is a sneering New York Times editorial, published on June 18; the second consists of remarks made last week, on the Lawfare Podcast.  

DOD Law of War Manual

Cyber Operations and the New Defense Department Law of War Manual: Initial Impressions

Given the recent cyber attack on the Office of Personnel Management, it makes sense to look closely at relevant provisions of the recently-released Defense Department Law of War Manual—which devotes a chapter to cyber matters.  On first blush, the chapter does not seem to contain any earth-shattering legal propositions.  With that said, the Manual nevertheless does a good job at gathering, organizing, and articulating views already on-the-record in DoD and elsewhere in the U.S. government, regarding the laws of armed conflict and their relationship to cyber operations.