May 7, 2014 Deadline: Barnes-Wall Award Nomination

The Barnes-Wall Foundation of South Carolina is again soliciting nominations for the following award to a deserving student:

The foundation will consider providing an award ($500.00) to the best paper on a topic related to military legitimacy.

The award is not intended to recognize a paper for academic credit in an independent study, but an award for the best paper in a class or group of 3 or more. The topic and paper should relate to legal and moral issues in military operations and/or strategy (e.g. democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and religion/cultural issues), with the winning paper being posted (with a non-exclusive right of publication, rights reserved by author) with the author’s permission on the Military Legitimacy Review (MLR) website at

A new cycle for 2014 begins, with submissions solicited for the next year’s competition encouraged accepted to a date now extended through May 7, 2014. For additional details please contact the Editor in Chief of the MLR, Professor of Law Kevin Govern, via or info@

The Late Fred Phelps, The First Amendment and Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012

The Passing of Fred Phelps and Challenges to First Amendment Freedom of (and from) Speech

JURIST Guest Columnist Kevin Govern of Ave Maria School of Law considers the life and times of the late First Amendment advocate-antagonist Fred Phelps …

JURIST has previously examined the strident First Amendment struggles of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), founded in Topeka, KS in 1955, that became notorious for picketing military funerals, public events and businesses, attacking Christians, Jews, gays and others with hateful signs and shouted slurs. That church’s charismatically confounding founder, Fred Waldron Phelps, died at age 84 on March 19, 2014. Phelps ironically turned down a West Point appointment and a career in the military, to serve as civil rights advocate, only to be disbarred in his home state for having “little regard for the ethics of his profession,” and then served as an ordained minister of God to preach a false gospel of hate. With his passing, perhaps America will find relief from his outrageous efforts to defame and outrage others while seeking the protection of the First Amendment.

April 11-12, 2014 Conference on The Weighing of Lives in War: Combatants and Civilians in the Jus in Bello

The Weighing of Lives in War: Combatants and Civilians in the Jus in Bello
University of Pennsylvania Law School Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL)

imageThe weight assigned to combatants’ lives has further implications beyond the battlefield.  For example, the more risk on the battlefield soldiers are expected to bear, arguably the greater the national obligation to compensate and care for wounded warriors.  An argument for minimizing combatant exposure, on the other hand, would have implications for the technologies we should be willing to use in order to minimize combatant casualties, even if some such technologies pose an increased risk of collateral damage. CERL’s roundtable discussion will foster an interdisciplinary discussion on these and related topics, drawing together academics and practitioners to discuss the concept of combatancy and the policy its implications.

View Details and read, The Legal Way Ahead Between War And Peace 


U.S. Navy SEALs take over oil tanker for return to Libya / Perspectives on U.S.’ current counterterrorism and counterpiracy strategy in Africa

U.S. Navy SEALs take over oil tanker for return to Libya

Esam Omran al-Fetori/Reuters – The oil tanker Morning Glory is docked at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, Libya, on March 8. Libya threatened Saturday to bomb the tanker if it tried to ship oil from a rebel-controlled port.

By Ernesto Londoño and , Published: March 17 E-mail the writer

A team of U.S. Navy SEALs boarded an oil tanker Sunday night in the Mediterranean Sea in an apparent bid to prevent the delivery of Libyan crude worth several million dollars that members of a militia had been attempting to sell, according to U.S. and Libyan officials.

For additional perspective on this operation, and the U.S.’ current counterterrorism strategy in Africa, see Drone Operations in Current US Counterterrorism Strategy in Africa and regarding the related problems of piracy and maritime terrorism see National Solutions to an International Scourge: Prosecuting Piracy Domestically as a Viable Alternative to International Tribunals,


Advancing or Repressing Rule of Law in Ukraine? “Russian upper house approves use of military force in Ukraine”

Russian upper house approves use of military force in Ukraine

By Tom Watkins, Laura Smith-Spark. and Ingrid Formanek, CNN
Troops stand guard in Balaklava, Crimea, on Saturday, March 1. Ukraine suspects Russia of sending new troops into Crimea and provoking separatist tensions in the region. Crimea is an autonomous republic of Ukraine with an ethnic Russian majority. It's the last large bastion of opposition to Ukraine's new political leadership after President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster. Troops stand guard in Balaklava, Crimea, on Saturday, March 1. Ukraine suspects Russia of sending new troops into Crimea and provoking separatist tensions in the region. Crimea is an autonomous republic of Ukraine with an ethnic Russian majority. It’s the last large bastion of opposition to Ukraine’s new political leadership after President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster.

  • NEW: “Impose those consequences without further delay,” Sen. McCain demands of Obama
  • Russia’s upper house approves sending of Russian troops into Crimea
  • Ukrainian official: 300 gunmen in Russian uniforms trying to seize a coast guard site
  • Scuffles break out in eastern city of Kharkiv between pro-Russian, pro-EU protesters

Simferopol, Ukraine (CNN) — Russia’s upper house of Parliament voted unanimously Saturday to approve sending Russian military forces into Ukraine, amid mounting tensions in the country’s Crimea region and in defiance of warnings from Western powers.


Civil Affairs Association’s Board Meeting – Saturday, 22 March 2014

header with flags

The Civil Affairs Association’s Board Meeting well be held on Saturday, 22 March 2014 at the Arlington Court Suites Hotel, 1200 North Courthouse Road.Arlington, VA. Telephone number is (703) 524-4000. When calling the hotel for reservations, ask for the Civil Affairs Association Room Rate which will be available Thursday through Saturday, March 20 to March 22. The meeting will start at 9:00 am.
Please confirm your attendance by emailing
Hotel information can be located at the following URL:
 On the Friday prior to the CAA board meeting, the  George Mason University Peace Operations Policy Program, Reserve Officers Association, Alliance for Peacebuilding, Civil Affairs Association, UN Association of the United States National Capital Area, Better World Campaign, and Foreign Area Officer Association will conduct their 20th Civil Affairs Roundtable on “More than Monuments Men: Military Support to Governance in the 21st Century.” 
The date and location are as follows: 21 March 2014, from 8:00 a.m. to 3 the George Mason University Arlington Campus, Room 125, Founders Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22201.
A detailed agenda  for the Roundtable will be posted in early March. To pre-register please go to:

United States reveals ‘specific’ threats to Olympic Games

United States reveals ‘specific’ threats to Olympic Games

By Laura Smith-Spark and Nick Paton Walsh, CNN
Watch this video

U.S. reveals ‘specific threats’ to Sochi

  • NEW: Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee complains about cooperation
  • Austrian team receives threatening letter
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi three days before the Winter Olympics open
  • Organizers are scrambling to get everything ready for the Games

Sochi, Russia (CNN) — U.S. officials say they have specific reasons to worry about security in Sochi, only three days before the Winter Olympic Games are set to open in the Russian city.

Speaking at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday, Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, highlighted concern over the Games and whether Muslim fundamentalists in disputed regions of Russia — or other groups — could launch deadly attacks on selected targets.

7 civil affairs soldiers at Fort Bragg honored for valor in Afghanistan

7 civil affairs soldiers at Fort Bragg honored for valor in Afghanistan

Staff photos by Johnny Horne

7 civil affairs soldiers at Fort Bragg honored for valor in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Michael P. Pate was awarded the Silver Star at the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion Valorous Awards Ceremony on Thursday at Fort Bragg.

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 9:21 pm | Updated: 9:31 pm, Thu Jan 23, 2014.

By Venita Jenkins Staff writer

A group of soldiers honored for their valor during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2012 say they did what any other soldier would have done to help a wounded colleague.

Seven civil affairs soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg were honored Thursday during the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion Valorous Awards Ceremony at the JFK Memorial Auditorium. The men were serving with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Michael P. Pate, a former paramedic, received a Silver Star Medal, the military’s third-highest award for valor, during the ceremony.

Pate, 30, of Charleston, S.C., is a member of Civil Affairs Team 611, A Company. Pate was humbled by the recognition. He said the team did what they were trained to do.

“I am humbled because of the sheer number of people who have received these awards,” Pate said. “The company that we keep is pretty profound. I’m proud to represent my organization and the guys who could not be here that should have been recognized. Definitely mixed emotions about the entire thing.”

According to a citation for his award, Pate was part of a Nov. 1, 2012, civil reconnaissance patrol when his unit was ambushed east of the village of Sardar Kala, Afghanistan.

With only ankle-high irrigation berms for cover, Pate found himself fewer than 200 yards away from two fortified heavy machine gun positions and at least six other enemy shooters hiding in a dense orchard.

With one of his teammates critically wounded in the ambush, Pate risked his life to save the soldier by running more than 50 yards toward the enemy.

Pate and Capt. Jacob Allen dragged the wounded soldier behind a berm, and Pate performed surgery for more than 10 minutes while returning fire to the enemy position.

He then “remained exposed while hundreds of enemy bullets impacted all around” as he coordinated air support and a medical evacuation.

For his role, Allen, 32, of Williamsburg, Va., earned the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device. The leader of Team 611, Allen also doubled back to save the wounded soldier and helped Pate render aid in the open field.

Allen fired the wounded soldier’s heavy weapon until it jammed, according to the citation for his award, then began firing with his own rifle, remaining exposed until he could direct other soldiers to the location of the enemy.

“I don’t think anything I did would have been different than anything the guys around me would have done,” he said.

Pate witnessed several courageous acts by other soldiers who have not been recognized, he said.

“I think everybody we were with, as soon as bullets started kicking off, ran to the fight because you never know when someone will need your help,” Pate said.

Two other soldiers from Team 611 were awarded for valor for the same patrol.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin L. Hargrove, 31, of Mount Holly, N.J., and Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Oakes, 36, of Bad Hersfeld, Germany, received an Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device.

According to medal citations, Hargrove and Oaks drew fire away from their injured teammate during the ambush.

Hargrove led soldiers through stream beds while under fire to outflank the enemy and send them fleeing from their fortified positions.

His soldiers were able to seize hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The three other soldiers honored were Staff Sgt. Philip A. Aubrey, Sgt. 1st Class Donovan S. Johnson and 1st Sgt. Jamie T. Mullinax.

Aubrey, 32, of Santa Fe, N.M., received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device. According to a citation, Aubrey was the medic on a patrol out of a remote Afghan base on Nov. 5, 2012.

When his unit came under attack, Aubrey maneuvered from the back of the patrol to treat a soldier from a partner force who was injured, sprinting 50 feet through incoming fire to treat the wounded soldier while completely exposed.

Mullinax and Johnson, also members of Team 611, received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device for actions during separate patrols, according to their citations.

Johnson, 28, of Crossnore, was part of an April 26, 2012, group that came under attack during a village stability operation in an enemy-dominated village.

During the attack, Johnson was trapped with four other soldiers in a narrow pathway flanked by mud walls.

Isolated from the rest of the patrol, Johnson maneuvered through the exposed alley, jumping over walls to spot enemy fighting positions to relay to his commander.

“He selflessly exposed himself to the enemy at least a half dozen times, as rounds snapped overhead and impacted the walls around him,” according to the award citation.

Mullinax, 43, of Catawba County, was on a different village stability operation Sept. 27, 2012, when his patrol came under attack from a “highly organized enemy.”

Mullinax bounded across open terrain to a defensive fighting position, then called out the direction and location of enemy fighters.

Then, with two other soldiers, Mullinax sprinted to another post while avoiding bullets and an incoming rocket-propelled grenade, according to the award citation. Mullinax again engaged the enemy while relaying information to his commander during the 30-minute firefight.

Capt. Jacob Allen said the men’s action is “representative of what happens regularly in our community.”

“We were recognized, but there are a lot of brave men and women who do this job every day,” he said.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Hargrove said the men never second-guessed what they needed to do to save the wounded soldier.

“We train together before we leave. You are together pretty much 24/7 when you are deployed,” he said. “Your teammates become part of your family.

“If you know your teammate is out there, that instinct just kicks in to help them – and make sure that they make it home to their families.”

Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, presented the soldiers with medals and a certificate.

The seven men faced the ultimate test of a soldier – confronting an enemy of the country, he said.

Cleveland said what was a described as a normal reconnaissance patrol become more than routine.

“What is routine for our special operators perhaps is extraordinary for others,” he said. “… Your actions and the actions of your comrades amazed and inspired those of us who came before you.”

Staff writer Venita Jenkins can be reached at or 486-3511.

Reference Links

Posted in , , , , on Thursday, January 23, 2014 9:21 pm. Updated: 9:31 pm.

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2014 Winter Olympics – Averting And Responding To Terrorist Threats

Sochi 2014

With the Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics from 6 to 23 February 2014 coming up, the topic of military legitimacy, and the role of the military in averting and responding to terrorist threats is more timely than ever!

Bill Rathburn, a former police chief in Los Angeles and Dallas, directed security for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta and served in various planning roles for six other Olympics says “The security threat is higher than it’s ever been in the history of the Olympic Games,” Rathburn told Yahoo News. “In my opinion, it’s not a matter of whether there will be some incident, it’s just a matter of how bad it’s going to be.”

See Jason Sickles, Security expert: It’s not if but when for Sochi Olympics terror attack, Yahoo News, Jan. 16, 2014,–its-not-if–but-how-bad-for-sochi-olympics-terror-attack-150717940.html

Two bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd over the last two months, one at the city’s central railway station and another on a bus, killed dozens of people and raised anxieties about the safety of the Olympics.  See Tom Cohen and Jethro Mullen, Russia bombings raise questions about Sochi Olympics security,, Jan. 4, 2013,

U.S. officials said U.S. and Russian authorities have engaged in extensive contacts regarding security preparations for the Games. The United States is expected to share with Russia information it might collect about possible threats to the Games, with the

National Counter-terrorism Center coordinating and integrating the intelligence community’s support to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Many are hoping, praying and working towards the end that the Winter Olympics will be a peaceful event – but this is not likely – and the security threat for the Rio Summer Olympic games are considerable as well.

All of this is aside from the certainty that wars will continue to rage for the months and years ahead.

For additional readings, see, e.g.,

UNH Sochi Terrorist Threat
The Sochi Predicament – Sample