American Bar Association
Section of International Law: National Security Committee

Section of International Law:
National Security Committee

About the Committee

National Security Committee members examine political, military, economic, social, legal and naturally occurring events throughout the world and evaluate how they affect the security interests of the United States and other nations. Members analyze these events, and responses of decision-makers, in the context of the rule of law. Members are active in the areas of intelligence, immigration, cybersecurity, asymmetrical warfare, supply chain security, nuclear non-proliferation, space weaponization, international governing bodies such as the UN and NATO, and in various geographic regions worldwide. Members produce programs for regular ABA International Section meetings and other venues, including the United Nations and Capitol Hill, publish articles and promulgate policy proposals regarding national security topics.

Past National Security Committee Programs

Program on International Humanitarian Law and Nuclear Weapons Spring 2012 Section Meeting, April 20, 2012 Program Summary Report and Transcript Audio How does, and how should, international humanitarian law (IHL) governing the conduct of warfare apply to nuclear weapons? At the Spring Meeting of the Section, a program sponsored by the National Security Committee addressed that question. The program featured Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, the Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Gary Solis, a leading expert on IHL who taught at West Point, and Charles J. Moxley, Jr., professor at Fordham University School of Law and author of International Law and Nuclear Weapons in the Post Cold War World. Amb. Cabactulan, who was president of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, described the negotiation of an innovative provision of the Conference Final Document on application of IHL to nuclear weapons. And Prof. Solis and Prof. Moxley explained that while the United States in theory accepts that IHL applies to nuclear weapons, and while IHL is more and more integrated into the US military, in practice education, training, and doctrine are silent on the subject of IHL and nuclear weapons. Economic Sanctions: Are They Effective Tools of U.S. Foreign Policy? February 28, 2011 Program Recording (MP3) Border Searches of Electronic Devices: A Discussion of Legal and Policy Issues This program discussed the Ninth Circuit's decision, U.S. v. Arnold, which held that the U.S. government has the authority to search the contents of electronic devices (e.g. laptops, blackberries and cellphones) of persons entering the U.S. -- including U.S. citizens -- without reasonable suspicion. Featured Speaker: Lee Tien, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA. Program Recording (MP3) On The Rim Of The Abyss: Military Intervention to Neutralize a Potential Nuclear Threat View this program on FORA.TV

Program Materials: 2008 Amicus 2009 Amicus Statement of Lee Tien before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary - Subcommittee on the Constitution

Florida To Restrict Governments from Contracting with Companies that Do Business in Cuba and Syria Jason Poblete The State of Florida is in the political hot seat with certain foreign investors because of a proposed law approved by the Florida legislature that will prohibit companies from doing business with state and local governments who also happen to have business connections in Cuba or Syria. According to The Miami Herald, Florida Governor Rick Scott will sign Florida House Bill 959 (HB 959) that will, among other things, “prohibit state agency or local governmental entity from contracting for goods & services of more than certain amount with company that has business operations in Cuba or Syria.” The measure is not new or novel. It will add Cuba and Syria to an existing statute restricting contracting with certain companies that do business with the Sudan or Iran. The new law is not settling very well with the governments of Canada or Brazil, countries whose nationals have a lot of investment in Florida as well as Cuba. According to various news accounts, officials from both the Canadian and Brazilian governments have supposedly weighed in against the law. Officials with the powerful Florida Chamber of Commerce have also chimed in with concerns about the effort to expand the reach of existing law. This is not the first time an expansion of “state sanctions” has been undertaken in Florida or Miami-Dade County. Home to a politically powerful Cuban exile community strongly opposed to engagement with the Castro regime, the proposal was introduced by a Miami-Dade area state legislator. It will be interesting to see how this ultimately unfolds. While states have legal authority under federal law to restrict this activity to the Sudan and Iran, there has been no explicit delegation for Cuba. I’ve been studying this issue for many years both inside and outside of government. In all likelihood, this will be challenged in court; however, in the near term, it is going to complicate business relationships of may foreign companies that do business in both Cuba and Florida. Affected companies will have tough choices to make about future business interests.

Join Us



Hendrix, Steven
Lyons, Carrie


Bergeron, James
Dopplick, Renee
Goodale, Geoffrey
Laufman, David
Meyer, Jonathan
O'Neill, Philip
Schmitz, Aaron
Trujillo, Maximiliano
Varon Levy, Eddie
White, Larry

Committee Roster  

Programs, Meetings and Events

Committee Events

Private Contractors, Snowden, and Cybersecurity: Did the Reorganization of the Intelligence Community Achieve Success?

April 3, 2014
Join Senator Evan Bayh, former NSA IG Joel Brenner and noted national security lawyer Davd Laufman as they discuss the latest developments in the Snowden leak case as well as cyber security issues impacting the government and private sectors.

The 09/11 Commission Report recommended "significant changes in the organization" of U.S. national security institutions. Many changes resulted, including a staggering growth in the reliance on contractors. The fallout from the unauthorized release of highly sensitive documents by Edward Snowden presents an opportunity to revisit these "significant changes" and what more might be needed, especially by private contractors, to deal with cyber and data security matters.

The panel will consider the Snowden case and a number of related issues, including cybersecurity for practitioners, especially U.S. government contractors. Some of the questions to be discussed are: Did reorganization of the intelligence community result in too much dependence on contractors? Should Congress revisit the post-09/11 Commission reorganization? With new cybersecurity standards for federal government contractors, will the Snowden and other data breach cases impact their implementation? How these changes impact lawyers' obligations to safeguard client data?

Section, The National Security Committee Events

    Law, Justice and Development Week 2014 (World Bank Global Forum)


    LJD Week 2014 is a part of the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development (Global Forum) where the Section is a Founding and Intellectual Partner. In September 2014, a report on Sustainable Development Goals to guide the post-2015 agenda will be submitted to the UN General Assembly. LJD Week 2014 ...

    Section of International Law 2014 Fall Meeting

    Hilton Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires

    WHAT WILL ATTENDANCE AT THE 2014 FALL MEETING OFFER YOU?Over 70 substantive continuing legal education sessions with world-class speakers;Cutting edge programming on the latest international legal and ethics issues;Networking opportunities with counterparts, decision makers & potential clients from around ...

    58TH congress of the Union Internationale des Avoc


    The event will be held on 10/29/2014. The format is In-Person. The event sponsor(s) are Section of International Law. The event has 0.00 CLE Credits .

Newsletters & Publications

Sites of Interest

Modified by Jason Poblete on July 17, 2014

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