Tag Archives: Public Health

Guantanamo Detention in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to what many familiar with Guantánamo Bay have known for years: the military prison lacks the infrastructure, expertise, and equipment to manage and address emergent health issues, including a serious viral outbreak.

In this article, defense attorney and former Judge Advocate in the US Air Force Annie Morgan discusses the unique issues complicating detainee medical care, such as the age and health of detainees, the military’s lack of adequate equipment and personnel for COVID-19, and the domestic law prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the United States for medical treatment.

Morgan then highlights three solutions to address the inadequate medical care available to detainees, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and afterward. First, that there should be increased virtual contact between detainees and their lawyers and NGO representatives. Second, that there should be more agile deployment capabilities for specialist personnel and equipment. And finally, that the military should develop a transport plan for emergency medical treatment, either by pursuing congressional carve-outs from the general domestic ban, or by working with third-party countries to provide treatment.

Special Issue: Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 erupted and swept the globe in late 2019 and early 2020, a full-blown pandemic quickly and significantly affected the United States. As the public health crisis worsened in the winter and spring of 2020, it soon became clear that our national security institutions and processes were being tested, sometimes in new and unique ways.

A few JNSLP stalwarts commiserated with me about some of the legal and policy issues early on, and by April 2020 we had conceived this Special Issue of the Journal, focused on COVID-19. As the weeks and months passed, it became every more clear that the pandemic was continuing to pose challenges to government performance and national and global economies.

As editor, I realized that it would require recruiting guest editors who could help me recruit authors and then mentor their completion and editing through to the kind of excellent publication that we always demand. Editor in Chief emeritus Steve Dycus and long-time board member Gene Fidell quickly stepped into the guest editor roles, and the result is a stunningly good collection of short articles surveying and detailing many of the most vexing legal and policy problems associated with the pandemic. Steve and Gene deserve enormous credit for their dedication to the Special Issue and for their characteristic excellence as editors.

The articles have been written in short order by internationally recognized subject matter experts who have experience in government, the courts, the cyber domain, public health, human rights, international organizations, domestic military policy and policing, journalism, and several other disciplines. Some of the articles take a granular look at aspects of the pandemic, while others widen the lens to look at such issues as leadership.

As we expected, the authors assign blame where blame is due, and ask about accountability mechanisms for those officials and institutions who dropped the pandemic ball. We also include a comparative piece that helpfully contrasts the effectiveness of Canadian and U.S. institutions in dealing with the pandemic.

The goal of the Special Issue is not to keep score or assign blame. Rather, we hope that the articles illuminate a vast range of legal and policy issues that COVID-19 has spawned. We know that local, state, national, and international leaders will be grappling with this pandemic for some time. We also know that lessons learned from our experience with COVID-19 will be instrumental in how we manage the next crisis – whether it is another pandemic, or something entirely different but equally challenging.

Nor does the Special Issue purport to be an exhaustive account of the national security implications of the pandemic. Many important topics are not represented here, and the authors of these articles are careful to emphasize that the analyses here do not represent the last word on covered topics.

The Special Issue groups its articles into categories. The first focuses on who is in charge. A second grouping examines pandemic responses from the perspectives of health, privacy, military, and emergency law. A third concerns information from the perspectives of transparency and journalism. A final section includes an important comparative and international law perspective on cybersecurity and the pandemic.

On behalf of JNSLP, I sincerely hope that readers enjoy and benefit from this fine collection of pandemic scholarship.

William C. Banks
October 2020


Leadership in a Time of Pandemic: Act Well the Given Part James E. Baker

The Roles of the State and Federal Governments in a Pandemic Emily Berman

Emergency Powers, Real and Imagined: How President Trump Used and Failed to Use Presidential Authority in the COVID-19 Crisis Elizabeth Goitein

A Historical Review of the State Police Powers and Their Relevance to the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 Edward P. Richards

Domestic Military Operations and the Coronavirus Pandemic Mark Nevitt


Good Health and Good Privacy Go Hand-in-Hand Jennifer Daskal

From Shortages to Stockpiles: How the Defense Production Act Can be Used to Save Lives, Make America the Global Arsenal of Public Health, and Address the Security Challenges Ahead James E. Baker  

COVID-19 and Military Law Eugene R. Fidell


Access to Public Records and the Role of the News Media in Providing Information About COVID-19 Adam A. Marshall & Gunita Singh

Falsehoods and the Patois of Pandemics—A Playbook Dina Temple-Raston & Harvey Rishikof


The Failing Federation: Why Canada Is Ineffective at COVID-19 Amir Attaran

Cyber Attacks and Cyber (Mis)information Operations During a Pandemic Marko Milanovic & Michael N. Schmitt

U.N. Peacekeeping in a Time of Pandemic: Reconciling Armed Conflict Management While Helping to Fight COVID-19  Bruce C. Rashkow

Leadership in a Time of Pandemic: Act Well the Given Part

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique questions and challenges, including what kind of leaders are necessary in this current crisis.

The Hon. James E. Baker’s article highlights the need for leaders during the pandemic and the principles that can apply to the both the legal and policy responses to this current public health crisis. In doing so he distinguishes the leadership necessary during a pandemic as opposed to other national security crises; focuses on three leadership tasks: Prepare, Act, and Lead and what those tasks mean during a pandemic; and identifies role models and their importance in modeling and encouraging qualities necessary for effective leadership during a pandemic.

As the pandemic endures, Baker writes about the qualities necessary to support sustained efforts to bring the end of the pandemic.