Shane Reeves

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Shane R. Reeves is a Colonel in the United States Army. He is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Head of the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York ( The views expressed here are his personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, the United States Military Academy, or any other department or agency of the United States Government. The analysis presented here stems from his academic research of publicly available sources, not from protected operational information.

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International Law: LOAC

The Viability of the Law of Armed Conflict in the Age of Hybrid Warfare

It is increasingly common to hear the term “hybrid warfare” used to describe the complexities of the modern battlefield. When Russia uses a “combination of instruments, some military and some non-military, choreographed to surprise, confuse, and wear down” Ukraine, it is termed hybrid warfare. The term also refers to conflicts which are both international and non-international in character, such as the ongoing conflict in Syria.

International Law: LOAC

Has Turkey Occupied Northern Syria?

Since August 24th, Turkey has conducted a military operation—known as Euphrates Shield—in northern Syria. The objective of Euphrates Shield is to clear the border area between the towns of Jarablus and al-Rai of jihadists while simultaneously stopping Kurdish militia expansion. Using a powerful combination of air power, mechanized units, and Special Forces, the Turkish government, by their own admission, has accomplished their objective.

Military Justice

Should the U.S. Military Receive the Benefit of the Doubt When Investigating Itself for Alleged War Crimes?

The October 2015 bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan has amplified a long-simmering discussion regarding the ability of the American military to objectively conduct internal investigations into war crimes and, where necessary, to hold culpable individuals accountable. Throughout the last fifteen years of conflict, the military has investigated and prosecuted numerous allegations of war crimes—defined here as serious violations of the laws of armed conflict.

Politics & National Security

Can US Service Members Disobey an Order to Waterboard a Terrorist?

Earlier this year, former National Security Agency (NSA) Director and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director General (Retired) Michael Hayden was asked what American armed forces would do if ordered to commit torture, such as waterboarding a terrorist, by a new Presidential administration. General Hayden posited that United States military members would simply refuse to act, as there is no obligation to follow an unlawful order.

Politics & National Security

Time for a National Security Expert on the Supreme Court

The Obama administration is now considering whom it will nominate to the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Most of the names on the rumored “short list” have familiar resumes: federal judges or prosecutors. This type of professional homogeneity in nominees is now the norm in contemporary selections for the Court and the phenomenon was bemoaned by Justice Scalia himself, dissenting in Obergefell.


What Now for the Golan Heights?

During highly-secret negotiations in 2010, Israel offered Syria a land-for-peace proposal. Under the terms, Israel agreed to return the Golan Heights in exchange for specific security guarantees, including a demonstration that the Assad government would stop acting as an Iranian proxy. For Israel, the proposition was immensely risky; the mountainous Golan region is of significant strategic defense value.