Ashley S. Deeks

  • Class of 1948 Professor of Scholarly Research in Law
  • 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. 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 the American Law Institute, and she serves as a contributing editor to the Lawfare blog. Deeks also recently served as White House associate counsel and deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council while on leave from the Law School. She is 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

Works in Progress

Tax Sanctions and the Russia-Ukraine Conflict (with Andrew Hayashi) (2023).


Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials  (with Curtis A. Bradley & Jack L. Goldsmith), Wolters Kluwer (7 ed. 2020).

Book Chapters

Coding the Law of Armed Conflict: First Steps, in The Future Law of Armed Conflict, Oxford University Press, 41–60 (2022).
Defend Forward and Cyber Countermeasures, in The United States’ Defend Forward Cyber Strategy: A Comprehensive Legal Assessment, Oxford University Press, 181–203 (2022).
Will Cyber Autonomy Undercut Democratic Accountability?, in Autonomous Cyber Capabilities under International Law, NATO CCDCOE Publications, 67–105 (2021).
Sleeping Dogs: The Fourth Restatement and International Humanitarian Law, in The Restatement and Beyond: The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Foreign Relations Law, Oxford University Press, 497–508 (2020).
Intelligence Communities and International Law: A Comparative Approach, in Comparative International Law, Oxford University Press, 251–270 (2018).
The NATO Intervention in Libya―2011, in The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach, Oxford University Press, 749–759 (2018).
Intelligence Services, Peer Constraints, and the Law, in Global Intelligence Oversight: Governing Security in the Twenty-First Century, Oxford University Press, 3–36 (2016).
Taming the Doctrine of Pre-Emption, in The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law, Oxford University Press, 661–678 (2015).
Domestic Humanitarian Law: Developing the Law of War in Domestic Courts, in Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi Judicial Bodies: International and Domestic Aspects, Asser (2014).

Articles & Reviews

Tax Law as Foreign Policy (with Andrew Hayashi), 170 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 275–340 (2022).
Defend Forward and Cyber Countermeasures, Hoover Institution: Aegis Series Paper No. 2004 (2020).
High-Tech International Law, 88 George Washington Law Review 574–653 (2020).
Secrecy Surrogates, 106 Virginia Law Review 1395–1477 (2020).
Secret Reason-Giving, 129 Yale Law Journal 612–689 (2020).
Will Cyber Autonomy Undercut Democratic Accountability?, 96 International Law Studies 464–504 (2020).
Facebook Unbound?, 105 Virginia Law Review Online 1–17 (2019).
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the Use of Force by States (with Noam Lubell & Daragh Murray), 10 National Security Law & Policy 1–25 (2019).
The Judicial Demand for Explainable Artificial Intelligence, 119 Columbia Law Review 1829–1850 (2019).
Predicting Enemies, 104 Virginia Law Review 1529–1592 (2018).
Statutory International Law, 57 Virginia Journal of International Law 263–324 (2018).
The Jus Ad Bellum's Regulatory Form (Introduction to the Symposium on Monica Hakimi), 112 American Journal of International Law Unbound 94–96 (2018).
The Substance of Secret Agreements and the Role of Government Lawyers, 111 American Journal of International Law Unbound 474–478 (2018).
Politics by Other Means (reviewing Rajan Menon, The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention) New Rambler (2016).
A (Qualified) Defense of Secret Agreements, 49 Arizona State Law Journal 713–794 (2016).
Checks and Balances from Abroad, 83 University of Chicago Law Review 65–88 (2016).
Multi-Part Tests in the Jus ad Bellum, 53 Houston Law Review 1035–1064 (2016).
The Obama Administration, International Law, and Executive Minimalism, 110 American Journal of International Law 646–662 (2016).
An International Legal Framework for Surveillance, 55 Virginia Journal of International Law 291–368 (2015).
Intelligence Communities, Peer Constraints, and the Law, Harvard National Security Journal 1–54 (2015).
Review of Michael J. Glennon, National Security and Double Government (reviewing Michael J. Glennon, National Security and Double Government) 109 American Journal of International Law 900–904 (2015).
Consent to the Use of Force and International Law Supremacy, 54 Harvard International Law Journal 1–60 (2013).
The Geography of Cyber Conflict: Through a Glass Darkly, 89 International Law Studies 1–20 (2013).
Unwilling or Unable: Toward a Normative Framework for Extraterritorial Self-Defense, 52 Virginia Journal of International Law 483–550 (2012).
Litigating How We Fight, 87 International Law Studies 427–462 (2011).
Administrative Detention in Armed Conflict, 40 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 403–436 (2009).
Introductory Note European Court of Human Rights: Case of Saadi v. Italy, 47 International Legal Materials 542–577 (2008).
Starting from Here, 84 International Law Studies 161–182 (2008).
Iraq's Constitution and the Rule of Law, 28 Whittier Law Review 837–861 (2007).
Iraq's Constitution: A Drafting History (with Matthew D. Burton), 40 Cornell International Law Journal 1–88 (2007).
Inside "L": Some Thoughts on the Office of the Legal Adviser Perspectives, 2 Chicago Journal of International Law 503–510 (2001).
Raising the Cost of Lying: Rethinking Erie for Judicial Estoppel, 64 University of Chicago Law Review 873–902 (1997).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Prosecuting Purposeful Coronavirus Exposure as Terrorism (with Manal Cheema), Lawfare (March 31, 2020).
How the Endless War Came Home, War on the Rocks (March 19, 2020).
International Lawyering in the High-Tech Era, Machine Lawyering (March 1, 2020).
Iran Shoots Down a U.S. Drone: Domestic and International Legal Implications (with Scott R. Anderson), Lawfare (June 20, 2019).
Detaining by Algorithm, Humanitarian Law & Policy (March 25, 2019).
"One Nation Under CCTV": The U.K. Tackles Facial Recognition Technology  (with Shannon Togawa Mercer), Lawfare (May 7, 2018).
Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter Propaganda Efforts? (with Sabrina McCubbin & Cody M. Poplin), Lawfare (October 25, 2017).
Congress as International Law Defender?, Lawfare (June 20, 2017).
DC Circuit Shoots Down Drone Regulations: Taylor v. Huerta (with Russell Spivak), Lawfare (May 31, 2017).
Foreign Constraints on the Trump Administration, Lawfare (February 16, 2017).
The U.N. Charter and Safe Zones in Syria, Lawfare (January 31, 2017).
Military Intervention by Consent: Remarks, 111 Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 221–22 (2017).
The International Legal Dynamics of Encryption, Lawfare (October 12, 2016).
Who Is on Board with "Unwilling or Unable"? (with Elena Chachko), Lawfare (October 10, 2016).
Checks and Balances from Abroad, Lawfare (August 4, 2015).
Surveillance Diplomacy, Lawfare (July 17, 2015).
The U.S. Intelligence Community and Non-Neutral Principles (with Benjamin Wittes), Lawfare (February 26, 2015).
Strikes in Syria: The International Law Framework (with Jennifer Daskal & Ryan Goodman), Lawfare (September 24, 2014).
A Call for Article 51 Letters, Lawfare (June 25, 2014).
Rescuing the Kidnapped Turks in Iraq, Lawfare (June 15, 2014).
Russia in Ukraine: A Reader Responds, Lawfare (March 5, 2014).
No "No Spy" Agreements?, Lawfare (February 13, 2014).
Covert Action and International Law Compliance, Lawfare (December 18, 2013).
Snowden in Deutschland?, Lawfare (November 4, 2013).
I Spy, You Spy, We All Spy?, Lawfare (September 6, 2013).
The Value of Kosovo as a Non-Legal Precedent, Lawfare (August 24, 2013).
Safe Haven(s) for Snowden?, Lawfare (June 10, 2013).
Waxman on Cyber Law, Strategy, and Policy, Lawfare (March 21, 2013).




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