Jack M. Beard

Professor Jack Beard

Jack M. Beard Assistant Professor of Law

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Professor Jack Beard joined the law faculty in May 2011. Before coming to Nebraska, he was a member of the faculty at the UCLA School of Law. He previously served as the Associate Deputy General Counsel (International Affairs) in the Department of Defense where he was responsible for a variety of legal matters, including those associated with arms control agreements, defense cooperation and basing agreements in the Middle East region, and programs assisting states of the former Soviet Union in the dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction and other nonproliferation activities. In this capacity, he served as the senior lawyer on numerous U.S. delegations negotiating international agreements related to a wide range of U.S. military operations and activities. He is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Army Reserve (Retired) and served as the Chief, International Law Section, International and Operational Law Division, Office of The Judge Advocate General. For his work as a consultant on international legal issues for the Department of Defense, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service in 2013.

Professor Beard was voted Professor of the Year by the graduating class of 2008 at the UCLA School of Law, presented the Excellence in Teaching Award by the graduating class of 2003 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and received the Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award at the Georgetown University Law Center in 2001.

Professor Beard teaches National Security Law, Arms Control and Human Rights and International Criminal Law.  He also teaches courses as a faculty member in the Space, Cyber and Telecom Law Program, including Cyber Warfare and National Security Space Law.  His research interests and scholarship focus on the international legal implications of modern military technologies. Some of Professor Beard’s recent works have explored international legal issues raised by remotely controlled weapon systems and the nature of new conflicts in cyberspace. His latest article, in the Georgetown University Journal of International Law, is entitled “Autonomous Weapons and Human Responsibilities.” 


Arms Control: Problem of Law and Technology Law 760 (2 cr hr)
This course will examine the historical, political and strategic foundations of contemporary arms control and disarmament regimes and will evaluate the nature and effectiveness of supporting legal frameworks. Specific topics will include: prohibited weapons under international law; agreements banning various conventional weapons; the successes and failures of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention; nuclear arms limitation agreements and underlying nuclear deterrence doctrines; the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement, and; future arms control initiatives related to cyber warfare, space and emerging new military technologies.

International Cyber Security: Mischief, Crime and Warfare Law 756/G (3 cr hr)
This course explores international legal issues related to emerging conflicts in cyberspace and related security and technology problems. Its primary focus is on the appropriate legal frameworks, particularly the Law of Armed Conflict, which may be applicable to hostile acts in cyberspace and compares various forms of cybercrime with state-sponsored efforts to disrupt, deny, degrade or destroy information in computer networks and systems. Related topics include an examination of the use of information as a weapon; cyber techniques and technologies; private and governmental roles in cyberspace, and; increasingly diverse military operations in cyberspace (including various forms of data exploitation, espionage and sabotage). This course is also available to online LLM students.

National Security Law Law 719 (1 cr hr)
This course examines international and U.S. law relevant to the handling of national security matters. On the domestic level, we will study the allocation of power under the Constitution between Congress and the President with respect to war powers and will assess the role of the courts as a check on the political branches in this area, particularly as it relates to ongoing efforts to fight terrorism. Domestic statutory authorities, especially the War Powers Resolution, will also be covered. To illustrate and better understand some of the challenges confronting individual liberties in time of war, several contemporary U.S. national security problems will be examined, particularly the military detention of suspected terrorists and their trial by military commissions. Other controversial U.S. national security initiatives, such as covert intelligence operations and the targeted killing of suspected terrorists (particularly by unmanned aerial vehicles), will be assessed in the context of both domestic and international law. The second half of the course focuses on international law governing the use of force, conflict management and collective security arrangements. Special attention will be given to the U.N. Charter, the doctrine of self-defense, arguments setting forth justifications for the unilateral use of force, intervention in internal conflicts, and the institutional framework for collective efforts to maintain international peace and security, including peacekeeping operations and peace enforcement actions.

National Security Space Law Law 747 (1 cr hr)
This course will address the national security and military aspects of space law and policy, including arms control, intelligence gathering, weaponization, and rules on the use of force as applied to space activities. This course is also available to online LL.M. students.

Human Rights and International Criminal Law Law 715 (3 cr hr)
This course examines the nature and scope of transnational and international criminal law and explores the relationship between human rights law and state sovereignty. Specific topics include: an introduction to human rights law; state sovereignty and extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction; immunity from jurisdiction; nationality; extradition; international criminal law, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes; the International Criminal Court; the ad hoc international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and; international or hybrid criminal tribunals and special courts for other countries, including Sierra Leone, Lebanon and Kosovo.


Soft Law's Failure on the Horizon: The International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities,  38 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 335 (2017)

Autonomous Weapons and Human Responsibilities,  45 Georgetown Journal of International Law 617 (2014)

Legal Phantoms in Cyberspace: The Problematic Status of Information as a Weapon and a Target under International Humanitarian Law,  47 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 67 (2014)

Law and War in the Virtual Era,  103 American Journal of International Law 409 (2009)

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime and Nuclear Realities: Repair or Reassessment?,  101 American Society of International Law, Proceedings 438 (2007)

The Shortcomings of Indeterminacy in Arms Control Regimes: the Case of the Biological Weapons Convention,  101 American Journal of International Law 271 (2007)

The Geneva Boomerang: the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and U.S. Counterterror Operations,  101 American Journal of International Law 56 (2007)

A New Urgency about Anthrax: Recent Efforts to Prevent the Proliferation of Biological Weapons in the Former Soviet Union,  96 American Society of International Law, Proceedings 275 (2002)

America's New War on Terror: The Case for Self-Defense,  25 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 559 (2002)


LL.M. (International & Comparative Law), with distinction, 1989, Georgetown University Law Center
J.D., magna cum laude, 1983, University of Michigan Law School
Order of the Coif, 1983
B.S.F.S., magna cum laude, International Affairs/Russian, 1980, Georgetown University

Areas of Expertise


Assistant Professor of Law, 2011