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November 01, 2022

Intelligence officials, legal experts gather for in-person ABA national security conference

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — National security legal experts and current and former senior officials from the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Security Agency and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will gather in-person at the 32nd Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference, Nov. 17-18, in Washington, D.C.

What:   32nd Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law ConferenceSponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security

When:  Thursday-Friday, Nov. 17-18

Renaissance Washington Hotel
999 Ninth St. NW
Washington, D.C.

Program highlights include:

“Changing Conceptions of National Security Law” — While threats to national security have existed throughout our nation’s history, legal practice and legal education did not recognize a discrete field of national security law until late in the 20th century. Following the growth of international terrorism and the cataclysmic attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, national security law became mainstream in practice and in law schools. The panel will examine the important historical benchmarks of national security law in government, private practice and in the legal academy.

Thursday, 8:15-10:15 a.m.

“The Economic Tools of National Security” — From sanctions on Russia to export controls on technology flows to China, the United States and allied countries are increasingly turning to economic tools to address national security threats. These tools complement or in some cases substitute for military options and raise their own sets of concerns about efficacy, international coordination and legality. This panel will explore legal and policy issues related to sanctions, export controls and reviews of foreign investments in the service of national security.

Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-noon

“Why Should National Security Lawyers Care About Climate Change?” — Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “code red” report, it is increasingly clear that climate change is impacting national security law in new and complex ways. This panel will address how climate change is affecting a range of U.S. laws, including the natural disaster response legal framework and Defense Support of Civil Authorities. The panel also will analyze the international legal issues associated with the growing field of climate security, previewing international climate negotiations underway at COP27 in Egypt.

Thursday, 1:45-3:15 p.m.

“International Law and Justice: Lessons from Ukraine” — Following World War II, the first generation of international justice heralded a seismic shift toward rule of law, rather than the law of force. The second generation of modern international justice began to build the architecture to make that idea a reality for victims of conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, with large-scale multilateral tribunals, courts and transitional justice processes all geared toward making good on the justice promise. This promise ultimately culminated in a permanent war crimes tribunal at the International Criminal Court. The ICC represented an important step forward, but it lacks jurisdiction in many atrocity situations and, even where it does have jurisdiction, deals with only those at the top who are most responsible.

Friday, 10:30 a.m.-noon

“Nuclear Weapons and the Law: The Ukraine War and Beyond” — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered the most perilous international security crisis since the 1983 Able Archer war scare or the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Like both of those crises, the Ukraine war has raised the risk of use of nuclear weapons by Moscow, Washington, and/or Washington’s NATO alliance. Meanwhile, China seems to be racing to near-peer status as a nuclear power amid rising tensions with the United States, and the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran are apparently advancing. This session will focus on U.S. law and reform proposals regarding presidential nuclear launch authority (with particular attention to the roles of lawyers and process in launch decisions), international law regarding the possession and use of nuclear weapons, nuclear arms control and legal efforts to halt or reverse the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran.

Friday, 1:45-3:15 p.m.

During the conference, two lawyers will receive the Morris I. Leibman Award in Law and National Security, the committee’s most prestigious award, which recognizes lawyers who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to and made exceptional contributions to the field of law and national security. The honorees are:

·       Stephen Dycus, professor of law emeritus at Vermont Law School and a founding architect of the academic discipline of national security law

·       Elizabeth Rindskopf-Parker, dean emerita of University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and former general counsel of the NSA and CIA

Click here for the 32nd Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference agenda, including details on all of the speakers and panelists.

For media credentialing and registration, please contact Jennifer Kildee at [email protected]. Note: All attendees are required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or have had a negative COVID test taken within 3 days before entering the event.

The ABA is largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.