21st Century Warfare: Law, the Enemy, and the Battlefield

On March 18, 2013, the Center on National Security held an all-day conference on “21st Century Warfare: Law, the Enemy, and the Battlefield."

The conference explored the legal authorities for war, the expanding definitions of the ‘enemy’, the evolution of the battlefield, including drone killings and cyber warfare, and the implications of these changes going forward. Political and military leaders, national security and cyber experts, leading journalists, and others gathered to develop an understanding of the next phase of America’s international ‘war on terror’ and, in a larger sense, the future of warfare.

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Keynote - A 'Drone Court': The Pros and Cons: Jeh Johnson, Former General Counsel at the Department of Defense


Panel 1 – Targeted Killing: Ethical, Political and Foreign Policy Implications
Speakers: David Cole, Professor of Law at Georgetown University; Pir Zubair Shah, Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations; Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU's National Security Project; Gabor Rona, International Legal Director of Human Rights First; and Steve Coll (moderator), New Yorker Staff Writer and President and CEO of The New America Foundation.


Panel 2 – The Laws Governing Targeted Killing and Non-traditional Warfare
Speakers: Jen Daskal, Former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice; Steve Vladeck, Professor and Associate Dean for Scholarship at American University Washington School of Law; James Ross, Legal and Policy Director of Human Rights Watch; Robert Chesney, Charles I. Francis Professor of Law at University of Texas School of Law; and Martin Flaherty (moderator), Co-Director of The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law.


Panel 3 – A Conversation on Cyber
Speakers: Robert O'Harrow, Investigative Reporter at The Washington Post; Scott Handler, Assistant Professor of International Relations at West Point and Executive Officer of the 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Gordon, GA; and Karen Greenberg (moderator), Director, Center on National Security at Fordham Law.


Panel 4 – Understanding Today’s Wars
Speakers: Doug Ollivant, Former Director for Iraq on the National Security Council under President Bush and President Obama; Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst and Journalist; David Barno, Former Commander for Military Operations in Afghanistan; Candace Rondeaux, Former Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group; Jon Lee Anderson, International Investigative Reporter for The New Yorker; and Phil Carter (moderator), Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.