U.S. STRATCOM Advanced Operational Law Conference

The Annual Advanced Operational Law Conference
U.S. Strategic Command

Due to pandemic protocols and other situational obstacles, the conference has been postponed indefinitely for 2021 and likely 2022. Information on any future events will be sent to prior conference attendees and posted here. 

The Staff Judge Advocate for U.S. Strategic Command invites military members and select academic scholars to Nebraska for this annual conference. The ongoing conference objective is to share best practices on strategic level international and operational law, with a focus on the legal challenges facing current practitioners. The conference is intended to be a forum to discuss the evolving space domain, nuclear weapons, and to increase the understanding of potential adversaries and issues relating to the law of war. The conference will provide an opportunity to develop professional relationships with counterparts within the U.S. government and the wider academic community.

This conference is presented by U.S. Strategic Command with support from the University of Nebraska College of Law Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law program and the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska. 

Thank you for joining us! 

“Law and Global Warfighting: The Challenges in 21st Century Practice”
Held 4-5 September 2019 at Dougherty Conference Center, Offutt AFB

Group Photo STRATCOM Conference

I want to take a moment to thank you for joining us for the USSTRATCOM “Law and Global Warfighting: The Challenges in 21st Century Practice” conference this week. I found our two days together to be intellectually invigorating, challenging, and insightful.

One of my favorite moments was listening to the recording of Sputnik’s beep and Laura Grego’s recounting of the NBC anchor’s response, “Listen now for the sound that will forever more separate the old from the new..” because I believe that is why we gather to have these conversations. Our world, the technology we create, and modern geopolitics is moving at a rapid pace. It is my hope that conversations and informational sessions like those we’ve enjoyed during this conference prepare us to practice in those environments.

Thank you for being a part of it.

Many of you have asked me about next year. We don’t have solidified plans to share at this point, but any save-the-date for future conferences will be sent in early 2020.

Elsbeth Magilton

Wednesday 4 September
0730: Shuttle Pick Up at Courtyard Marriot (10 minutes wait, will depart by 7:40)
0800: Registration Opens, Continental Breakfast and Networking
0830: Opening Remarks from Colonel Rothwell, SJA, U.S. Strategic Command
0840: Conference Welcome from General John Hyten, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command
0910: Conference Photo on Stairs in DCC
915: Housekeeping and Rules of the Road, Elsbeth Magilton
0920 – 9:50: Updates on Space, Jessica Tok, Policy Advisor, Office of Space Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense
0950 - 1000: Break
1000 – 1130: Presidential Authority under Article 2: Nuclear Engagement as a Collaborative and Secure Process
Moderator: Dakota Rudesill – Ohio State Law
Rupal Mehta – University of Nebraska
Amy Woolf - Congressional Research Service, Defense and Trade Division
1130 - 1230 Lunch (served in conference lobby, may go into conference room)
1230 – 1400: Civilian and Military Effects from Low-Yield Nuclear Weapon Detonations, Tim Goorley, Los Alamos National Laboratory
1400-1415 Break
1415 - 1600 - Nuclear Targeting, LTC Zachary Irvine, Deputy Director Commander’s Action Group
1615: Hotel shuttle will depart 15 minutes after the close of the last panel to Quarters 13; Guests may shuttle or walk to Quarters 13
1645: Reception at “Quarters 13” with service from Patricia’s Catering and Cash Bar
1800: Shuttle from Quarters 13 to Hotel

Thursday 5 September
0730: Shuttle Pick Up at Courtyard Marriot (10 minutes wait, will depart by 7:40)
0815: Registration Opens, Continental Breakfast and Networking
0910: Welcome and Housekeeping
0915 – 1045: Technical Dimensions on Ballistic Missile Defense and of Outer Space Security with Laura Grego, Union of Concerned Scientists
1045 – 1100: Break
1100 – 1230: A Nuclear Arms Control Diplomacy Discussion: Is There a Practical Mechanism for Multilateral Arms Control Agreements?
Moderator: Dakota Rudesill – Ohio State Law
Maxwell Downman - British American Security Information Council
Jack Beard – University of Nebraska Law
Nancy Teeple - Royal Military College of Canada
1230 – 1300: Lunch (served in conference lobby, may go into conference room)
1300 – 1400: Remarks and Q&A with Brigadier General R. Patrick Huston, Office of the Judge Advocate General
1400 – 1415: Break
1415 – 1525: Nuclear Decision Making Process, Speaker and Q&A, Christopher T. Kuklinski, Assistant Deputy Director for Global Operations
1530 - 1600: Concluding Remarks Vice Admiral David M. Kriete, Deputy Commander at U.S. STRATCOM

2018 Event:

A Message from Nebraska Law Space, Cyber, and Telecom Law Executive Director Elsbeth Magilton from the 2018 Conference:

We want to personally thank everyone who attended and contributed to the Advanced Operational Law Conference last week. This year included some very focused discussions on specific topic areas, compared to last year's more broad approach. I hope you found these sessions and the resulting conversations thought provoking and useful to your position.

I want to extend an additional thank you to CDR Gretchen Sosbee (Deputy Staff Judge Advocate) and TSgt Kassandra Suggs who were fundamental in the creation, development, and deployment of this conference and their team who helped with the many details. I also want to thank the team at NSRI who helped us manage registration and meals.

Nebraska Law LL.M. students were in attendance briefing unclassified sessions so that we may publish a conference summary for you and for any interested individuals who could not attend. That will be made available later this year.

Please don't hesitate to reach out for contacts or with other questions.

Elsbeth Magilton

Photos from the 2018 conference are available on the STRATCOM Flickr Page

2018 Keynotes:

P.W. Singer HeadshotWe were pleased to welcome author and scholar P.W. Singer to keynote the conference on 6 September. Mr. Singer is a strategist at New America and an editor at Popular Science magazine. He has been named by the Smithsonian as one of the nation's 100 leading innovators, by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues, by Foreign Policy to their Top 100 Global Thinkers List, as an official "Mad Scientist" for the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command, and by Onalytica social media data analysis as one of the ten most influential voices in the world on cybersecurity and 25th most influential in the field of robotics. His award winning books include Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Children at War, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century; and Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.

Mr. Singer's novel Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, a technothriller crossed with nonfiction research, which has been endorsed by people who range from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the co-inventor of the Internet to the writer of HBO Game of Thrones.

His past work include serving at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Harvard University, and as the founding director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings, where he was the youngest person named senior fellow in its 100 year history.

Brian Weeden HeadshotThe second conference keynote was from Dr. Brian Weeden, the afternoon of 6 September. Dr. Brian Weeden is the Director of Program Planning for Secure World Foundation and has nearly two decades of professional experience in space operations and policy. Dr. Weeden directs strategic planning for future-year projects to meet the Foundation's goals and objectives, and conducts research on space debris, global space situational awareness, space traffic management, protection of space assets, and space governance. Dr. Weeden also organizes national and international workshops to increase awareness of and facilitate dialogue on space security, stability, and sustainability topics. He is a member and former Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Space Technologies, and is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing(ACCRES) to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Prior to joining SWF, Dr. Weeden served nine years on active duty as an officer in the United States Air Force working in space and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) operations. As part of U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), Dr. Weeden directed the orbital analyst training program and developed tactics, techniques and procedures for improving space situational awarenessRespected and recognized as an international expert, Dr. Weeden's research and analysis have been featured in The New York TimesThe Washington PostNational Public RadioUSA TodayThe BBCFox NewsChina Radio InternationalThe Economist, The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, academic journals, presentations to the United Nations, and testimony before the U.S. Congress. 

Our final keynote was delivered by Brigadier General Susan K. Escallier, Assistant Judge Advocate General for Military Law and Operations, U.S. Army. Brigadier General Susan K. Escallier was commissioned in the U.S. Army Signal Corps upon graduation from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988. As a Signal Officer, Brigadier General Escallier served as a platoon leader, and also as an Assistant S3 and S1 for the 125th Signal Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. Following her assignment with the 25th Infantry Division, she received her Juris Doctor from Ohio State University. She holds an LL.M in Military Law and a Masters Degree in Resource Strategy. Brigadier General Escallier attended the Judge Advocate Officer Basic and Graduate Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Brigadier General Escallier most recently served as the Staff Judge Advocate for III Corps and Fort Hood. Her previous assignments in The Judge Advocate General’s Corps include: Trial Counsel, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division; Chief of Legal Assistance and Chief of Administrative and Operational Law, 82nd Airborne Division; Office of The Judge Advocate General Administrative Legal Investigations Division; Officer In Charge (OIC) DMAIN, 101st Airborne Division (Iraq Invasion); Liaison to Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance/Coalition Provisional Authority (Iraq) and Chief of Justice, 101st Airborne Division (OIF); Senior Operational Law Observer/Trainer for the Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, 1st Infantry Division; Legal Advisor for the Security Agreement Secretariat (OIF); Military Judge, Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Division Chief for the Investigations and Legislation Division in the Army Office of the Chief Legislative Liaison (OCLL); Staff Judge Advocate, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Staff Judge Advocate, Joint Force Command United Assistance (Liberia), the military effort assisting U.S. Government agencies in containing the Ebola virus; Staff Judge Advocate, CJFLCC-OIR (OIR). She currently serves as the Assistant Judge Advocate General for Military Law and Operations. Brigadier General Escallier’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Iraq Campaign Medal (3 stars), and the Operation Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal. She is also entitled to wear the Air Assault Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge. 

2017 Event:

A Message from Nebraska Law Space, Cyber, and Telecom Law Executive Director Elsbeth Magilton from the 2017 Conference:

I want to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the Advanced Operational Law Conference. I hope you found the presentations and the conversations that followed substantively rich, thought provoking, and at times challenging. I believe we are in a transformative moment in several domains and that conversations like these are vital to us as practitioners, researchers, and operators. 

I also want to extend a thank you to CDR Gretchen Sosbee and Chief Stephen Thaggard who were fundamental in the creation, development, and deployment of this conference and their team who helped with the many details. I also want to thank the team at NSRI who helped us manage registration and meals.

Elsbeth Magilton

Conference Group Photo