Gregory McNeal

Gregory McNeal is a professor at Pepperdine University. He is a national security specialist focusing on the institutions and challenges associated with global security, with substantive expertise in national security law and policy, criminal law, and international law. He previously served as Assistant Director of the Institute for Global Security, co-directed a transnational counterterrorism grant program for the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as a legal consultant to the Chief Prosecutor of the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions on matters related to the prosecution of suspected terrorists held in the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Targeted Killing

Five Ways to Reform the Targeted Killing Program

Can the targeted killing program be reformed?  That will be the topic of discussion today at 4pm EST, as the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights holds a hearing entitled “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing"  Regular Lawfare readers know that I've authored six prior posts on the process of targeted killing (starting here with a helpful table of contents a

Targeted Killing

It's Time for a White Paper on Congressional Oversight of Targeted Killings

In my prior posts I discussed the process of targeted killing, and some of the accountability mechanisms embedded in the process.  This post, and my next and final post will address reform recommendations that may help make the targeted killing program more publicly accountable.

The recent news that the Obama administration is considering transferring responsibility for drone strikes from the CIA to DOD has some questioning whe

Targeted Killing

Presidential Politics, International Affairs and (a bit on) Pakistani Sovereignty

In my prior post I focused on how Congress can serve as a mechanism of political accountability for targeted killings.  In this post I want to focus on presidential and international politics as potential accountability mechanisms.


If congressional oversight does not work, what about the executive branch’s response to political pressure?  For politics to work requires us to assume that the people care enough about targeted killings to hold the president accountable.  However, that is a big

Targeted Killing

The Politics of Accountability for Targeted Killings

As regular readers know, I authored three posts on the kill-list creation process.  In my first post I explained how law creates categories of targets, and how bureaucrats begin to create lists of targets.  In my second post I explained how network analysis contributes to the kill-list creation process.  The third post described the extensive paper and electronic trail of approvals and intelligence associated with the kill-lis

Targeted Killing

Kill-Lists and Network Analysis

In my previous post I discussed how law creates three broad categories of potential targets (AUMF targets, Covert Action targets, and Ally targets).  Those broad categories mean that many individuals may be targetable based on their status as members of an organized armed group.  Working from these broad legal categories, the U.S.