Welcome to Articles of War

by , | Aug 5, 2020

west point on the hudson


It’s our sincere pleasure to introduce you to Articles of War, the new digital publication of the Lieber Institute for Law & Land Warfare at West Point. In this initial post we’ll share our plans and introduce you to our editorial team.

But first a quick word about our title. Several years ago, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Ford (U.S. Army JAG Corps) proposed naming a publication Articles of War after regulations issued to the U.S. Army in 1775. We thought the name particularly fitting as the 1816 version of Articles of War had featured in legal instruction to West Point cadets as early as the 1820s and soon governed their battlefield decisions.

We found similar inspiration in General Order No. 100, also known as the Lieber Code. Issued to the U.S. Army in 1863, General Order No. 100 was drafted chiefly by Professor Francis Lieber. The Lieber Code regulated combat, captures, and confiscations by Union forces during the American Civil War. It also inspired and influenced many of the earliest international regulations of the conduct of war, as well as national military manuals.

The 1816 Articles of War and 1863 Lieber Code remain inspirational efforts to account simultaneously for humanity and the operational demands of war. We are particularly inspired by their combination of military and scholarly work. We humbly hope to continue their important traditions.

About Articles of War

As Co-Editors-in-Chief, we promise you timely, clear, and thought-provoking perspectives on the law of armed conflict and related subjects. Articles of War will feature curated reflections on the balance between military operational demands and humanitarian concerns in the law of war. You will find a range of views from across academia, government, and practice united by a sound understanding and portrayal of the law.

We launch Articles of War on the heels, and in the midst, of nearly two decades of global combat. We hope to leverage the invaluable humanitarian and operational legal developments from this period of warfare to inform opinion and deepen understanding of the law. We recognize that the law evolves best through respectful collaboration and careful deliberation. We also recognize ours is a field now populated by diverse perspectives. We hope to encourage and leverage this diversity toward a richer dialogue on the regulation of combat. Articles of War will stand at the crossroads of scholarship and practice to ensure the law of armed conflict accounts for battlefield realities in a principled and informed manner.

We proudly join an already vibrant community of electronic publications and blogs. We bring to the conversation unique access to military commands and organizations, a global network of academic and government experts, and extensive experience educating the nation’s future combat leaders and law-of-war decisionmakers.

Our Articles

We plan to dedicate particular (though not exclusive) attention to law of armed conflict subjects. Articles of War will address targeting, detention, rules of engagement, belligerent occupation, protection of civilians, humanitarian relief, emerging technology, accountability, weapons law, and protection of the wounded and sick, among other subjects.

Some posts will highlight new legal developments on these topics. Others will focus on policy or operational developments. We’ll present posts that feature new scholarship or analysis, and some that respond to older opinions. Still others will introduce projects or collaborations in our field of study and, considering the rich pedigree of this area of scholarship, some that consider historical perspectives. Other posts will respond to current events, while others will predict future developments and challenges to the law. 

Publication Process and Submissions

We have planned a deliberate pace of publication. You can generally expect a new post each week. We may occasionally speed or slow this pace. But we will always give priority to quality over quantity. All told, consistent readers of Articles of War will receive a comprehensive assessment of the law of armed conflict—past, present, and future.

We will work carefully with our contributors, often with multiple consultations, to produce informative, readable, and legally sound articles. It is worth emphasizing the value we, and our readers, will place on clarity of writing.

Reviews and edits will mainly be conducted in-house—more exciting news on that immediately below—though we may enlist outside editorial assistance in some cases. But in every case, we promise a professional, responsive, and friendly experience.

If you are interested in publishing with Articles of War, please feel free to visit our submissions guidelines page.

Our Editorial Team

We’re thrilled to be joined by Dr. Sasha Radin, Director of Research and Publications at the Lieber Institute. Sasha will serve as Co-Managing Editor. She combines academic expertise in international law with extensive experience in digital publishing platforms. Many of you will know Sasha from her recent tenure with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sasha also brings a wealth of research and editorial experience from her time at the United States Naval War College where she was Editor-in-Chief of International Law Studies. With over 15 years of experience working in think tanks centered around the law of armed conflict, she also brings her experience in stimulating informed debate on contemporary challenges.

We are also joined by Ron Alcala, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and an Academy Professor in the Department of Law at West Point. Ron will serve as Co-Managing Editor. As a Judge Advocate, Ron advised commanders on national security law and law of war issues at operational and tactical levels of command. Ron also previously served as Editor of both The Army Lawyer and the Military Law Review while assigned to the U.S. Army JAG School in Charlottesville, Virginia. More recently, Ron co-edited the second volume of The Lieber Studies Series, The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Law of Armed Conflict, with Eric Talbot Jensen, and has been closely involved with the Lieber Institute since its establishment in 2016.

Articles of War & The Lieber Institute

Articles of War is nested within the Lieber Institute for Law & Land Warfare at West Point. The Lieber Institute’s mission is to foster a deeper understanding of the complex and evolving relationship between law and warfare, through global academic engagement and advanced interdisciplinary research, in order to educate and empower current and future combat leaders. The Lieber Institute focuses on research, collaboration, and education in the law of armed conflict. Articles of War (along with our OUP series, The Lieber Studies Series) is instrumental in accomplishing this goal. If interested in more details on the Lieber Institute’s initiatives please visit our website.


Finally, although we will often include features and comments on current U.S. legal policy and practice, we must remind readers, Articles of War is not an official publication of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, or Department of Defense. Articles of War is a forum for professionals to share opinions and cultivate academic thought. Publication of an article does not indicate endorsement or advocacy of the ideas or thoughts included in any respect.

We are delighted to welcome you to Articles of War! We look forward to providing insights into the law of armed conflict and a platform for those who are ready to engage in the discussion.