This article is based on a chapter written for The Rule of Law Handbook: A Practitioner's Guide, a handbook used as a text at The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and as a reference for judge advocates worldwide.

The paper considers the recent explosion in legal development activity undertaken by the U.S. government in the context of the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those programs, frequently lumped together under the title 'rule of law,' have in turn led to a flurry of activity to define the 'rule of law' in order to provide some guidance to those programs.

The paper highlights the need to define the purpose of the definition before seeking a definition and discusses how recently adopted definitions of the rule of law in U.S. military doctrine necessarily affect not only 'rule of law' programs but also the full spectrum of operations undertaken by U.S. forces.

Thomas B. Nachbar, Defining the Rule of Law Problem, 12 The Green Bag Second Series 303–318 (2009).