Dustin Lewis

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Dustin A. Lewis is Senior Researcher at the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict.

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International Law

Silence and the Use of Force in International Law

Editor's Note: This piece is crossposted on Lawfare and EJIL:Talk!

States frequently take actions and make statements that implicate international law. But because they do not—and, indeed, could not—express a view on each such act or statement by all other states at all times, silence seems to be the norm, rather than the exception, in international relations.

Artificial Intelligence

The Pentagon’s New Algorithmic-Warfare Team

In April 2017, the Pentagon created an “Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team,” pending a transfer of $70 million from Congress. The premise of this initiative is that maintaining a qualitative edge in war will increasingly require harnessing algorithmic systems that underpin artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

International Law

New Database of States’ Approaches to Use of Force Concerning Syria

Under what conditions may a state lawfully intervene—or otherwise act—in relation to armed conflict in Syria? In support of or against whom? In this context, how do states frame their approaches to acting (or not acting)? What legal arguments (if any) are embedded in those statements? Do those arguments comport with or contravene—or even seek to modify—existing international law? On which of the underlying legal issues do states agree or disagree? And what implications might those arguments entail for other conflicts?

International Law: LOAC

Indefinite War

We just entered the second year of a purported “era of persistent conflict” forecasted to extend to 2028. In that context, does it really matter if we can tell that a particular war has definitively concluded? Who gets to decide, and who should decide, how to calibrate a legal test to authoritatively determine the end of armed conflict?

International Law

Medical Care in Armed Conflict: IHL and State Responses to Terrorism

In armed conflicts involving terrorists, should we consider medical care a form of illegitimate support to the terrorists? Should a state be allowed to punish those who provide impartial care to wounded and sick fighters—including terrorists—who are hors de combat (out of the battle) and to wounded and sick civilians in terrorist-controlled territories? Should a state be allowed to prevent such providers from traveling to conflict zones in the first place? Should organized armed groups defined as terrorists—under U.N.