The New National Security Challenge to the Economic Order

79 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2019 Last revised: 8 Mar 2020

See all articles by J. Benton Heath

J. Benton Heath

Temple University Beasley School of Law

Date Written: March 27, 2019


National security policies are increasingly threatening the rules that govern trade and investment flows. This problem goes much deeper and is far more intractable than is suggested by current high-profile controversies, such as recent disputes over the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Governments worldwide have adopted national security policies that address an increasingly wide array of risks and vulnerabilities, including climate change, pandemic disease, cybercrime, terrorism, and threats to infrastructure, industry, and the media. And these policies are increasingly likely to conflict with trade and investment rules. In other words, while today’s high-profile controversies have focused on alleged abuses of national security in economic law, it is the potential for good-faith but novel national security claims that may pose a more significant and permanent threat to the system in the long run.

This Article is the first to systematically map the “new” national security challenge and to consider its implications for the reform of the economic order. It demonstrates that the expansion of national security policy in the twenty-first century undermines our existing models for separating security measures from ordinary economic regulation. What is needed, it argues, is a new model for reintegrating the economic order with the national security state. To that end, this Article identifies reforms that allow for some oversight of increasingly novel national-security claims, while preserving flexibility for governments to redefine their security policies in response to twenty-first-century threats.

Keywords: National security, trade, investment, international economic law, dispute settlement

Suggested Citation

Heath, J. Benton, The New National Security Challenge to the Economic Order (March 27, 2019). 129 Yale Law Journal 1020, Available at SSRN:

J. Benton Heath (Contact Author)

Temple University Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

HOME PAGE: http://

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics