Law of Armed Conflict

Professor Jack Beard

Jack M. Beard Associate Professor of Law and Director, Space, Cyber, and National Security Law Program

Professor Jack Beard joined the law faculty in 2011. Before coming to Nebraska, he was a member of the faculty at the UCLA School of Law. He previously served for fourteen years as the Associate Deputy General Counsel (International Affairs) in the Department of Defense where he was responsible for a variety of legal matters related to arms control agreements, defense cooperation and basing agreements in the Middle East region, and programs assisting states of the former Soviet Union in dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and other nonproliferation activities.  These latter activities included the removal of nuclear weapons from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine and the elimination of other WMDs and related infrastructure in those countries.  He served as the senior lawyer on numerous U.S. delegations negotiating international agreements on a wide range of U.S. military operations and activities. He also served on active and reserve duty as an officer in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where his assignments included Chief of the International Law Section, International and Operational Law Division, Office of The Judge Advocate General of the Army. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in U.S. Army JAG Corps (Retired).

Professor Beard is a Director of the Space, Cyber, and National Security Law Program, teaching courses in International Cyber Security and National Security Space Law. He also teaches courses in National Security Law, Arms Control, and Human Rights & International Criminal Law. His primary research interests focus on public international law and national security law, with a particular emphasis upon space law and military uses of space, cyber capabilities, arms control, the law of armed conflict, and the international legal implications of modern military technologies. He was recognized as a Cyber Security & Data Privacy Trailblazer by the National Law Journal.

Professor Beard is the Editor-in-Chief of the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Activities and Operations (Oxford University Publishing, forthcoming 2024).

Professor Beard is the Chairman of the Committee on the Use of Force of the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), a member of the ABILA Board of Directors, and is one of the U.S. representatives on the London-based International Law Association’s Committee on the Use of Force. He is also a member of the International Institute of Space Law.


Watch to see how Professor Beard is guiding the laws of military space operations. 

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Elsbeth Magilton

Elsbeth Magilton Lecturer, Director of Externships

Elsbeth Magilton is the Director of Externships and a Lecturer at the University of Nebraska College of Law. As part of the Space, Cyber, and National Security Law Program, Elsbeth teaches U.S. Space Law and Policy and was a 2023-2024 Scowcroft National Security Fellow at the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense in the U.S. Air Force Academy. She has served as a faculty mentor to the U.S. Strategic Command Fellows program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha since 2022, and is also a faculty researcher at the Nebraska Deterrence Lab (NDL). NDL conducts research on multi-actor deterrence, multi-actor quantitative risk, and decision-making for private, public, and defense sectors. In September 2018 Elsbeth’s team received a major NASA Space Law pilot-program grant to create a nationwide network of students, faculty, and practitioners interested in space law and policy. She is member of the “SPACE²” University of Nebraska Grand Challenges Team, whose vision is for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to grow the first acre of corn on Mars’ soil.

Elsbeth was a 2023 TEDx speaker, has keynoted multiple conferences, spoke at SXSW in 2021, and speaks internationally on space topics and education. 

In addition to her interest in space law and technology, Elsbeth specializes in experiential legal education and practical workforce development. In 2022 Elsbeth was named a “NExt Pioneer” fellow with the Nebraska Tech Collaborative – a workforce initiative examining tech talent retention in the Midwest. In September 2022 she was appointed to her present position as the Director of Externships at Nebraska Law. As the program’s inaugural Director she developed a new experiential learning curriculum for law students in field placements outside the college, and teaches the general externship course, the nonprofit board service course, and ‘Public Speaking for Attorneys’ classes.

Magilton is part of the U.S. State Department Speaker’s Program under the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Under that program she most recently visited the Digital Learning Hub and Women In Digital Empowerment groups in Luxembourg, discussing experiential education and workforce development. She also facilitated a roundtable discussion for the UzSpace agency and the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent on Uzbekistan’s commercial and governmental space interests, and gave series of lectures for the New Zealand and Australian Space Council on behalf of the U.S. Consulate in Auckland, New Zealand. Elsbeth is a member of the American Society of International Law and served as the Co-Chair (2020-2021) for the Space Law Interest Group. She is also a member of the Legal Expert Pool for the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.

Elsbeth previously served (2021-2023) as the board president for Girls Code Lincoln, a nonprofit organization striving to ignite passion for technology and leadership in 4th-9th grade students. She also is a member of the Advisory Board for the Branched Oak Observatory, an outdoor and indoor (open-roof) sky park supported by science education professionals and astronomy enthusiasts. Elsbeth is also a Lincoln Public Schools volunteer and a Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader. She would almost always rather be outside making art or building robots.

Elsbeth received her B.A., cum laude, from Doane University in 2008 in graphic design. After starting her career in web development, Elsbeth shifted into technology policy during law school. She earned her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law and received a concentration in Cyberlaw. During law school Elsbeth also attended the William and Mary College of Law, working with the Center for Legal and Court Technology.

Personally, Elsbeth enjoys being a parent, reading, and gaming. She is married to a concert and event chef who has fed musicians and athletes around the country.

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