2015 Military Legitimacy Award Competition Announcement

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

The foundation will consider providing a Military Legitimacy Review Award ($500.00) to the best paper on a topic related to military legitimacy, as well as the additional category of a Military Scholarship Award ($250) to a rising military scholar (Cadet/Midshipman/Officer Candidate/Senior Military College*/Military Junior College** attendee) for 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 http://militarylegitimacyreview.com

A new cycle for 2015 begins, with submissions solicited for the next year’s competition accepted through April 7, 2015. For additional details please contact the Editor in Chief of the MLR, Professor of Law Kevin Govern, via khgovern@avemarialaw.edu or info@militarylegitimacyreview.com.

*= A senior military college (SMC) is one of six colleges that offer military Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs and are specifically recognized under 10 USC 2111a(f). The six senior military colleges are:

University of North Georgia; Dahlonega, Georgia
Norwich University; Northfield, Vermont
Texas A&M University; College Station, Texas
The Citadel; Charleston, South Carolina
Virginia Military Institute; Lexington, Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech); Blacksburg, Virginia
**=There are five Military Junior Colleges in the United States:

Wentworth Military Academy, Lexington, Missouri.
Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, Pennsylvania.
Marion Military Institute, Marion, Alabama.
New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, New Mexico.
Georgia Military College, Milledgeville, Georgia.

NIMJ Writing Competition

The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) is a non-profit NGO dedicated to the fair administration of military justice and the advancement of public understanding of military law. NIMJ seeks to bring together academic interest and practical experience in military justice. One of the ways in which NIMJ has sought to recognize the growing interest in military justice and encourage further study of military legal issues is through awards that recognize excellence in military legal scholarship. These awards advertise to the broader legal community some of the most significant work being done by judge advocates and other practitioners, scholars, and students of military justice, military commissions, and the laws of war.

Kevin J. Barry Award for Excellence in Military Legal Studies. This award honors an outstanding article published in a calendar year. It also honors an outstanding scholar and peerless advocate of reform: Kevin J. Barry, a founder and longtime director of NIMJ. Captain Barry retired from the Coast Guard after 25 years of service that included duty as an operations officer, navigator, trial and defense counsel, staff judge advocate, and trial and appellate judge. As a lawyer, scholar, citizen, and gentleman, Kevin Barry is a model for those who would improve military justice. The award carries a $250 prize and certificate.

Articles published in an academic journal, law review, or similar forum during 2014 are eligible for that year’s award (including articles dated in an earlier year but which actually appear later; some law journals take so long to release their issues that an article dated 2014 might actually appear in 2015). This award is intended to recognize substantial scholarship and will be evaluated for “excellence in military legal studies,” with the winner selected by a committee of law professors and practitioners, keeping in mind NIMJ’s mission to improve public understanding of military justice. If no article is deemed appropriate for the award, the committee may elect not to make an award for that year. If more than one article is deemed worthy of recognition, the committee may honor such articles with honorable mentions. Copies of the winning and honorable articles will be posted on NIMJ’s website if permitted by the author.

Interested scholars should submit their articles with details of its publication, the author’s name, email, and phone number, to NIMJ at nimjemail@gmail.com no later than midnight on 31 January 2015. Any questions may be directed to Philip D. Cave, Esq. at mljucmj@court-martial.com

Cyber War Law and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts


Edited by Claire Finkelstein, Jens David Ohlin, and Kevin Govern

Explores the controversial legal and ethical problems raised by cyber war, critically assessing the received wisdom about its legal implications
Examines the complex questions of which legal regimes apply to cyber attacks, whether principles of humanitarian law work in cyber warfare situations, and how these principles can be translated into the operational reality
Provides an unique analysis of the foundational questions of the legality and morality of cyber warfare
Contributions from a wide range of experts in the field.

$49.95 Paperback

This item is not yet published. It is available for pre-orders and will ship on 19 April 2015

360 Pages 9.2 x 6.1 inches ISBN: 9780198717508


$185.00 Hardcover

This item is not yet published. It is available for pre-orders and will ship on 19 April 2015

360 Pages 9.2 x 6.1 inches ISBN: 9780198717492


Announcing A New Initiative And Website On Issues Of Legitimacy And Faith

Jesus Meets Muhammad


From the Jesus Meets Muhammad About Link:
“Religion is the primary source of those standards of legitimacy that define what we consider to be right and wrong, and in an increasingly pluralistic world in which most people identify as either Christians or Muslims, conflicting standards of legitimacy can lead to religious hatred and violence. (See the Introduction to the J&M Book)

This website presents topics for discussion on issues of legitimacy that are related to the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad. But those ancient teachings did not address critical issues of national sovereignty, just war, democracy and fundamental human rights in our time and place.  That requires that we apply the moral imperative to love God and our neighbors—even our unbelieving neighbors—as a governing principle of legitimacy.  It is a common word of faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and when reason is used to apply that principle of faith to contemporary issues of legitimacy it enables us to reconcile our religious differences.

Reason requires that people of faith distinguish between voluntary moral standards and obligatory religious laws that are imposed on others.  That is because freedom of religion and expression require that religious standards of belief and behavior be entirely voluntary, in contrast to Islamic regimes that deny freedom with blasphemy and apostasy laws.

This website promotes the premise that both Jesus and Muhammad would support libertarian democracy as a means of loving God and neighbor, and have their followers use reason to conform their ancient holy laws to modern standards of legitimacy, leaving obligatory and coercive laws to elected lawmakers—not to God.

The J&M Book and other resources on this website can help Christians and Muslims better understand their differences and find the common ground needed to reconcile religious differences in a world of diverse and conflicting religious beliefs.

We welome your comments and suggestions on our blog.”

Summer Internship Program 2015 Overview

imageSummer Internship Program 2015

The Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) is accepting applications for the Center’s 2015 Summer Internship Program. The program aims to increase students’ theoretical and practical understanding of work towards preservation of rule of law values in the face of the changing nature of warfare. Interns in the program will work as a team under the supervision of CERL’s leadership, and will participate in CERL’s activities to the greatest extent possible. They will engage, inter alia, in research on issues of national security law and policy, preparation of CERL’s forthcoming academic publications: “Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority” and “The Weighing of Lives in War; Combatants and Civilians in the Jus in Bello”, planning and organization of CERL’s conferences, managing and updating CERL’s website, and drafting of position statements to Congress and other governmental or private institutions.

Application Process

Law students, as well as graduate students from other disciplines related to CERL’s mission interested in examining the intersection of rule of law values, applied ethics, national security or the law and morality of war are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be required to submit a cover letter, resume, and names of two referees. Potential candidates for the program will be scheduled for interviews (through phone or in person), and offers of internship will be extended to six selected candidates. The internships program will last eight weeks, from June 1, 2015 to July 27, 2015. Applications for the Summer Internship Program will be processed on a rolling basis and may be submitted until January 20, 2015 to the email CERL@law.upenn.edu.

Goals and Benefits of the Summer Internship Program

The Summer Internship Program is a part of CERL’s commitment to produce the next generation of ethical and legal scholars for preservation and promotion of rule of law values. CERL does not provide funding for the Summer Internship Program, however, students will be given academic credit for their full attendance during the program and successful completion of the program’s requirements. Students may also receive supervision on a paper in the area relevant to CERL’s mission or conferences. In addition, CERL will hold weekly lunches for the students, the majority of which will be attended by prominent guest speakers from the academia, military, government or the private sector (either in person or via Skype). These meetings will be dedicated to discussing the recent developments in national security law and policy, and the work in progress of the students writing academic papers.

Fall 2014 Reintroduction of Allied Ground Troops Into Iraq

Australian special forces are moving into Iraq to advise the country’s military in its fight …

Obama On Iraq: “Now What We Need Is Ground Troops”

In an interview with CBS on Face the Nation, the President refused to rule out sending greater numbers of troops to Iraq, and even admitted the need for boots on the ground.

Obama called the decision, announced Friday, to double the number of “US military advisers” in Iraq “a new phase” in the campaign, denying that the original strategy to combat the IS terror group had been inadequate.

“The air strikes have been very effective in degrading ISIL’s capabilities and slowing the advance that they were making,” Obama said. “Now what we need is ground troops, Iraqi ground troops, that can start pushing them back.”

  • President: new troops will focus on training local forces to fight Isis
  • Comments draw emerging parallel to past US military strategy in Iraq

Jury Finds Blackwater Guards Guilty of Iraq Shootings

Jury Finds Blackwater Guards Guilty of Iraq Shootings

Four Former Security Guards Had Claimed Self-Defense in Shootings of 14 Iraqis in 2007

Former Blackwater guard Nicholas Slatten was found guilty of murder on Wednesday.
Former Blackwater guard Nicholas Slatten was found guilty of murder on Wednesday. Associated Press

WASHINGTON—A federal jury Wednesday convicted four former Blackwater USA private security guards in the shooting deaths of 14 Iraqis in a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007, closing a chapter in a saga that complicated U.S.-Iraq relations.

The guards were convicted on nearly every one of the 32 charges they faced. Nicholas Slatten, a sniper who prosecutors said started the shooting, was convicted of murder. Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted on charges of voluntary manslaughter, attempting to commit voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges.

The jury didn’t reach a verdict on three of the charges against Mr. Heard, but his conviction on other charges would likely still result in a lengthy prison sentence.

Mr. Slatten faces a life sentence for the murder charge while the three defendants convicted on manslaughter charges could face at least three decades in prison.

The four defendants were largely motionless as the charges were read. Lawyers for Messrs. Heard and Liberty said they plan to appeal.

See also:


Mending Alliance, U.S. and Afghanistan Sign Long-Term Security Agreement


Mending Alliance, U.S. and Afghanistan Sign Long-Term Security Agreement

Ambassador James Cunningham, left, with the Afghan national security adviser, Hanif Atmar.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan — American and Afghan officials signed a long-term security pact here on Tuesday, nearly a year after the agreement was cast into limbo by a breakdown of trust at the highest levels of each allied government.

See also:

Govern, Kevin H., Warrant Based Targeting: Prosecution-Oriented Capture and Detention as Legal and Moral Alternatives to Targeted Killing. Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 29, No. 3, (2012) (published 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2279704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2279704

Govern, Kevin H., The ‘Great Game’ & the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement (May 22, 2012). JURIST Forum, May 2012 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2065513

Govern, Kevin H., Right to Peace or Human Rights Per Se in Islamic States (March 13, 2013). Ave Maria Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, p. 103, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2233187

Govern, Kevin H., Resigned to Failure or Committed to a Just Cause of Justice? The Matthew Hoh Resignation, Our Current Politico-Military Strategy in Afghanistan, and Lessons Learned from the Panama Intervention of Twenty Years Ago (January 1, 2011). Oregon Review of International Law Vol. 13, 161. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2083614