Our Commitment to Teaching

Prof. Dunlap with Duke Law studentsThe range of topics and issues that fall under the rubric of national security law continues to expand. In some way, national and international security law matters affect almost every aspect of 21st century life, from battlefields to boardrooms to backyards. Events that capture daily headlines or become the lead stories on the nightly news have a dramatic and almost instantaneous effect upon national security decision making, and also on the political, economic, and social life of the United States as well as nations around the globe. Our Center aims to help students and others understand the legal and ethical implications of these events, so as to acquire the skills to become uniquely qualified counselors and decision makers, regardless of the discipline in which they eventually practice.

The Center presents guest lectures and events on national security law and policy topics in undergraduate and graduate classes throughout Duke University, as well as other colleges, universities, service academies and military installations around the country and internationally, and provides speakers and panelists for both governmental and nongovernmental symposiums.


Selected courses

227: Use of Force: Cyber, Drones, Hostage Rescues, Piracy, and more

The seminar analyzes what constitutes "force" and "armed attack" under international law in various settings.

312:  Cybercrime

The course surveys substantive and procedural legal issues raised by cyber-related crime.

316:  Introduction to Cyber Law and Policy

This team-taught course covers three major areas:  (1) the legal frameworks governing cybersecurity, cybercrime, and cyberwarfare; (2) legal and policy issues surrounding data privacy; and (3) the impact of data-intensive emerging technologies, with an emphasis on ethics.

546: International Law of Armed Conflict

The course explores the international law of armed conflict, focusing on the jus in bello context.

582: National Security Law

Addressing a wide range of national security law issues, the course begins with an analysis of the Constitutional architecture for the American national security enterprise and the role played by the three branches of government.

588:  Investigating and Prosecuting National Security Cases

This course provides an in-depth examination of the unique issues that lawyers face in national security prosecutions and the substantive and procedural tools used to navigate those issues. 

611 A/B: Readings in Ethics: National Security

The course introduces issues confronting young lawyers as they try to navigate today’s national security environment.

837: Legal and Policy Aspects of U.S. Civil-Military Relations - Wintersession

The seminar addresses the constitutional and statutory structure of U.S. civil-military relations, as well as contemporary issues relating to the role of the armed forces in policy debates, politics, and social issues.

873:  Prosecutorial Ethics – Wintersession

This course examines the ethical obligations of prosecutors at each stage of the criminal process, from the initiation of an investigation through trial and sentencing.