The U.S. legal system is known as the envy of the world. Yet law as an instrument of national power has been woefully understudied. Traditional academic frameworks for studying the instruments of national power do not consider the full potential of law to be used as a weapon of war between states, a concept known as “lawfare.” Meanwhile, U.S. adversaries understand that law can be a potent weapon, both to achieve concrete military objectives and to win battles in the information domain, and have wielded it against the U.S. As war escalates in the information domain, information lawfare will be a critical piece of any party’s strategy.
Through a case study of the U.S.’s strike that killed Iranian Major General Soleimani in January 2020, Jill I. Goldenziel demonstrates how information lawfare can be used, and why the U.S. must develop its offensive and defensive lawfare capabilities. This paper won a prize in the 2020 Air Force Judge Advocate General School’s National Security Law Writing Competition.
LESSONS FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNED IN THE TWO DECADES SINCE 9/11
A Note from Editor-in-Chief William C. Banks
By any measure the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 brought an immediate laser focus to the phenomenon of international terrorism.
Though hardly new to the United States and the world in 2001, the 9/11 attacks instantaneously elevated countering international terrorism to the dominant national security imperative at home and abroad.
Questions were legion: Should we have known the attacks were coming? What could we have done to prevent them? What lessons learned will help forestall the next attack? What are the best options for countering international terrorism?
Twenty years later many lessons have been learned, even as we continue to struggle with the ever changing dynamics of global terrorism. JNSLP is honored to publish this Special Edition, “Lessons Learned for the Next Twenty Years: What We’ve Learned in the Two Decades Since 9/11.”
In 2012, Russia passed its first-ever Foreign Agent Law, which western analysts described as an attempt to stymie civil society. Russia argued that it modeled its Law after the American Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Samuel Rebo describes how on their face the laws seem similar, while their implementation has differed. While Russia has actively used its Law, the US launched only a single criminal FARA prosecution from 1990 to 2010. However, since Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, DOJ prosecutors have brought more FARA cases (2016-2019) than they had in the past 50 years combined.
Comparing FARA to its Russian counterpart, Rebo notes that the Russian law contains significantly more substantive limitations on the functioning of “foreign agents” than does FARA. However, both laws are broad and can sweep in legitimate civil society groups. Thus, DOJ discretion is the main barrier stopping America from replicating Russia. Rebo argues that, given the First Amendment rights at stake, this reliance on the DOJ is insufficient, and Congress should amend FARA to narrow its breath and clarify its scope.