The Rise of Military Legalism

Doyle Hodges, WWS

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 12:00pm
Robertson Hall, Room 020
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

PLEASE NOTE LOCATION:  Room 020, Robertson Hall

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract: "Over the last 50 years, the US military has seen a marked increase in the number and role of military lawyers. Despite conventional wisdom that lawyers constrain military operations, the military has embraced this trend. Why? This paper argues that the professional role of both military commanders and military lawyers has changed, a phenomenon I call military legalism. Military legalism is the practice of privileging the application of legal norms and processes rather than the norms and processes of military professionalism in justifying military decisions. Military legalism is an adaptive response by military commanders to adversaries who exploit constraints on the use of force for their own protection and for strategic advantage.  This paper defines the concept of military legalism, provides examples, and examines macro-level indications in the US military." 

Doyle Hodges
Ph.D. Candidate, Security Studies
U.S. Navy (ret.)

Doyle Hodges is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Woodrow Wilson School Security Studies program.  Prior to coming to Princeton, Doyle spent 21 years as a Naval officer, serving as an Aide to senior Naval leader and commanding two ships.