Ashley S. Deeks

  • E. James Kelly, Jr.– Class of 1965 Research Professor of Law
  • Director, National Security Law Center
  • Senior Fellow, Miller Center

Ashley Deeks joined the Law School in 2012 as an associate professor of law after two years as an academic fellow at Columbia Law School, and now serves as director of UVA Law’s National Security Law Center. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of international law, national security, intelligence and the laws of war. She has written articles on the use of force, executive power, secret treaties, the intersection of national security and international law, and the laws of armed conflict. She is a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law and serves as a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog. Deeks also serves on the boards of editors of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of National Security Law and Policy. She is the supervising editor for AJIL Unbound, a senior fellow at the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare, and a faculty senior fellow at the Miller Center.

Before joining Columbia in 2010, she served as the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S. State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser, where she worked on issues related to the law of armed conflict, the use of force, conventional weapons, and the legal framework for the conflict with al-Qaida. She also provided advice on intelligence issues. In previous positions at the State Department, Deeks advised on international law enforcement, extradition and diplomatic property questions. In 2005, she served as the embassy legal adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, during Iraq’s constitutional negotiations. Deeks was a 2007-08 Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow and a visiting fellow in residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Deeks received her J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as comment editor on the Law Review. After graduation, she clerked for Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


  • J.D.
    University of Chicago Law School
  • B.A.
    Williams College

“Coding the Law of Armed Conflict: First Steps,” in Matthew C. Waxman ed., The Law of Armed Conflict in 2040 (Oxford University Pres, forthcoming 2020).

“Introduction to the Symposium: How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect International Law?” 114 AJIL Unbound 138 (2020).

"Sleeping Dogs: The Restatement (Fourth) and International Humanitarian Law," in Sarah A. Cleveland & Paul B. Stephan, eds., The Restatement and Beyond — The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Foreign Relations Law (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2020).

“High-Tech International Law,” 88 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2020).

“Secret Reason-Giving,” 129 Yale L.J. 612 (2020).

“The Judicial Demand for Explainable Artificial Intelligence,” 119 Colum. L. Rev. 1829 (2019).

“Facebook Unbound?,” 105 Va. L. Rev. Online 1 (2019). 

“Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the Use of Force by States” (with Noam Lubell and Daragh Murray), 10 J. Nat’l Security L. & Pol’y 1 (2019). 

“Predicting Enemies,” 104 Va. L. Rev. 1529 (2018).

“Statutory International Law,” 57 Va. J. Int'l L. 263 (2018).

“Intelligence Communities and International Law: A Comparative Approach,” in Anthea Roberts et al., eds., Comparative International Law 251 (Oxford University Press, 2018). 

“The Nato Intervention in Libya (2011)” in Olivier Corten & Tom Ruys, eds., International Law and the Use of Force: A Case-Based Approach (Oxford University Press, 2018).

“The Substance of Secret Agreements and the Role of Government Lawyers,” 111 AJIL Unbound 474 (2018).

“A (Qualified) Defense of Secret Agreements,” 49 Ariz. St. L.J. 713 (2017).
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“The Obama Administration, International Law, and Executive Minimalism,” 110 Am. J. Int’l L. 646 (2017).
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“The International Legal Dynamics of Encryption,” 1609 Hoover Inst. Aegis Paper Series (2017).

“Confronting and Adapting: Intelligence Agencies and International Law,” 102 Va. L. Rev. 599 (2016).
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“Multi-Part Tests in the Jus Ad Bellum,”53 Hous. L. Rev. 1035 (2016).
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“Intelligence Services, Peer Constraints, and the Law,” in Zachary K. Goldman & Samuel J. Rascoff, eds., Global Intelligence Oversight: Governing Security in the Twenty-First Century 3 (Oxford University Press, 2016).

“Checks and Balances from Abroad,” 83 U. Chi. L. Rev. 65 (2016).
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Book Review, 109 Am. J. Int’l. L. 900 (2015) (reviewing Michael J. Glennon, National Security and Double Government (2015)).

“Intelligence Communities, Peer Constraints, and the Law,” 7 Harv. Nat’l Security J. 1 (2015).
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“An International Legal Framework for Surveillance,” 55 Va. J. Int'l L. 291 (2015). 
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“Taming the Doctrine of Preemption,” in Marc Weller, ed., The Oxford Handbook on the Use of Force (Oxford University Press, 2015).

“Domestic Humanitarian Law: Developing the Law of War in Domestic Courts,” in Derek Jinks et al., eds., Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Bodies: International and Domestic Aspects 133 (Asser Press/Springer, 2014).

“Consent to the Use of Force and International Law Supremacy,” 54 Harv. J. Int'l L. 1 (2013).
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“The Geography of Cyber Conflict: Through a Glass Darkly,” 89 Int'l L. Stud. 1 (2013).
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“The Observer Effect: National Security Litigation, Executive Policy Changes, and Judicial Deference,” 82 Fordham L. Rev. 827 (2013).
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“Unwilling or Unable: Toward a Normative Framework for Extra-Territorial Self-Defense,” 52 Va. J. Int’l L. 483 (2012).
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“Iraq’s Constitution: A Drafting History” (with Matthew Burton), 40 Cornell Int’l L. J. 1 (2007).
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