Hays Parks on the Forthcoming DOD Law of War Manual

* Hays Parks on the Forthcoming DOD Law of War Manual

Many of us have been eagerly anticipating the revised edition of DOD’s Law of War Manual. Yesterday, Hays Parks delivered an address to the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security breakfast series in which he gave a fascinating overview of the process through which that revision has gone, along with a sense of what will be different about the new manual and when we can expect it.

It appears the new volume will exceed 1000 pages, and will be rich in detail relating to state practice rather than mere treaty quotations. Examples from the speech:

In contrast to FM 27-10’s single page, the DoD Manual weapons chapter is ninety-six single-spaced pages. This is a representative contrast between the DoD Manual and its immediate predecessor. Authors of the DoD Manual benefited from almost four decades of international discussions on the legality of weapons.

The new manual contains chapters on new topics. Non-international armed conflict, relatively unknown in 1956, evolved from a single article in the 1949 Geneva Conventions to the 1977 Additional Protocol II. Since the end of World War II, the United States military has fought three conventional armed conflicts for a cumulative time of less than four years. In the same time, they have engaged in counterinsurgency operations in three major armed conflicts lasting a cumulative 23 years. Therefore, non-international armed conflict merited a chapter. Technological developments have played a similar role, resulting in a 17-page chapter on information and cyberspace operations.

The written version of the speech is here. The audio, which includes lengthy Q&A, is here.

ABA speech 11082010 FINAL (AS GIVEN).pdf

Lead Author

Robert M. Chesney
Robert M. Chesney is Charles I. Francis Professor in Law at UT-Austin School of Law. Chesney is a national security law specialist, with a particular interest in problems associated with terrorism. Professor Chesney recently served in the Justice Department in connection with the Detainee Policy Task Force created by Executive Order 13493. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security, a senior editor for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, an associate member of the Intelligence Science Board, a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the American Law Institute. Professor Chesney has published extensively on topics ranging from detention and prosecution in the counterterrorism context to the states secrets privilege. He served previously as chair of the Section on National Security Law of the Association of American Law Schools and as editor of the National Security Law Report (published by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security). His upcoming projects include two books under contract with Oxford University Press, one concerning the evolution of detention law and policy and the other examining the judicial role in national security affairs.
Share these ideas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *