The Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs leads the International Affairs division of the DoD Office of General Counsel and supervises the General Counsels of the Defense Technology Security Administration, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
The International Affairs division is responsible for legal advice and services in the broad area of international and national security affairs. Attorney from the International Affairs division advise the DoD General Counsel, the Secretary of Defense, senior Office of the Secretary of Defense officials, and, as appropriate, officials of other DoD Components. The division’s principal practice areas are:
- Counterterrorism and Irregular Warfare. International Affairs division attorneys advise on the legal sufficiency of U.S. counterterrorism operations and irregular warfare activities, including activities conducted by U.S. special operations forces.
- Cyberspace, Space, and Information Operations. International Affairs division attorneys advise regarding the legal framework for military operations in and through cyberspace, outer space, and the information environment.
- Support of Civil Authorities. International Affairs division attorneys advise regarding the legal framework for Department of Defense support to civil authorities of the United States and of foreign countries for purposes including counter-drug, humanitarian and disaster response, and support to law enforcement activities.
- International Agreements. International Affairs division attorneys participate in and provide legal counsel to U.S. Government delegations negotiating international agreements and arrangements. International Affairs attorneys also provide legal advice related to the administration of status of forces and similar agreements and arrangements facilitating U.S. military activities in foreign countries; agreements and arrangements for international cooperation in acquisitions; and DoD implementation of arms control treaties.
- International Law. The International Affairs division is responsible for the publication of the DoD Law of War Manual. Division attorneys advise on the application of international law, particularly focusing on the law of war, law of the sea, and aviation and space law, to planned or ongoing U.S. military activities. This includes advising on law of war considerations in the development and acquisition of systems using advanced technology. Legal support to DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office is part of the responsibility of the International Affairs division.
- Past Conflict Accounting. International Affairs division attorneys provide legal support to Office of the Secretary of Defense officials responsible for guiding the Department’s work, through the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel.
- Plans and Orders. International Affairs division attorneys review for legal sufficiency military plans and orders prepared for approval by the Secretary of Defense across the entire range of military operational missions. Attorneys support the legal staff of the National Security Council and work closely with the Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the legal staffs of the combatant commands in formulating legal advice and opinions regarding the use of U.S. military force and the War Powers Resolution.
- Security Assistance and Cooperation. International Affairs division attorneys provide legal advice on the Defense Department’s role in providing security assistance to, and conducting security cooperation activities with, friendly foreign nations, including through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Defense Technology Security Administration, and the combatant commands with relevant regional responsibility.