Introduction: The Future Law of Armed Conflict
Matthew C. Waxman, “Introduction: The Future Law of Armed Conflict,” in The Future Law of Armed Conflict, Matthew C. Waxman & Thomas W. Oakley, eds. (Oxford U. Press, 2022), pp. 1-5.
5 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022
Date Written: April 5, 2022
Warfare is changing—and rapidly. New technologies, new geopolitical alignments, new interests and vulnerabilities, and other developments are changing how, why, and by whom conflict will be waged. Just as militaries must plan ahead for an environment in which threats, alliances, capabilities, and even the domains in which they fight will differ from today, they must plan for international legal constraints that may differ, too.
As States, including the United States, plan for how they will conduct warfare in the future, West Point’s Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare, in collaboration with Columbia Law School’s National Security Law Program, convened an expert workshop to consider the future legal context in which conflict will be waged. Titled “Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) 2040,” we assembled leading academics and practitioners from around the world to consider how that body of law and institutions for creating, interpreting, and enforcing it might look two decades ahead—as well as what opportunities may exist to influence it in that time.
Such assessment is important as the United States and other governments plan for future warfare. It is also important as they formulate strategies for influencing the development of that law to better serve security, humanitarian, and other interests. We wanted a diverse set of voices to consider and debate not just specific questions, such as how might a particular technology require adaptive interpretation of existing law, but also grand ones, such as whether law of armed conflict (LOAC) is capable at all of keeping up with these changes. Will law effectively adapt, or will it break down?
Keywords: law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law, laws of war, jus in bello, jus ad bellum, international law
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