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The International Law Department (ILD) of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies serves as the Naval War College's focal point for the study of international and maritime law and oceans policy as they affect U.S. military policy, strategy and operations. We strive to be the world's premier research and educational entity dealing with the relationship between military affairs and international law.

We focus on cutting edge legal research at the intersection of military strategy, policy, operations and international law. In that vein, ILD has recently been focusing on topics such as the legal implications of autonomous weapon systems, international law related to cyber war, and the geography of war. 

The Department annually hosts legal research workshops on emerging issues that draw the world’s leading international law experts. We also co-host an annual International Law of Military Operations course and Maritime Security Cooperation Workshop for legal advisors from the U.S. and abroad. We further provide legal support to War Games, and when requested, the Department provides advice to the Fleet and other DOD entities on a variety of international, operational, and maritime legal issues. 

As part of its research, ILD compiles, edits, and publishes the International Law Studies series that since 1895 has provided a forum for prominent legal scholars to publish articles that contribute to the broader understanding of international law. The department also serves as Primary Review Authority for the Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations. Members of the department also serve as faculty for International Institute of Humanitarian Law courses on the law of armed conflict, the law of naval operations, and rules of engagement and as guest lecturers at various international law conferences.

Contact Information

TELEPHONE: 401-841-6590 or 401-841-4949

International Law Department (Code 36)
United States Naval War College
686 Cushing Road
Newport, Rhode Island 02841