The AU National Security Law Brief – Bringing a New Generation to the Debate

It is now a truism to acknowledge September 11th, 2001 as a turning point in American foreign affairs and security policy. The ensuing legislative and policy responses – the Patriot Act, the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, and military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, to name a few – have generated much debate. Some may say that this debate has yielded more heat than light. However, the debate over national security policy and law in the wake of the September 11th attacks highlights an important consensus: now, more than ever, the United States can ill afford to ignore and isolate itself from world affairs. And it certainly cannot do so while retaining security policies steeped in Cold War paradigms.

In academia, this debate has not yielded many student-generated law publications. Currently, there is only one law school journal devoted to the field of national security law – the Journal of National Security Law & Policy at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. (By highlighting our colleagues at McGeorge, we only bemoan the lack of similar publications nationwide. We wish to acknowledge this journal’s academic leadership.) More generally, other institutions have centers or programs devoted to this field, rather than journals. After two terms of Bush’s national security presidency, we feel that it is time for American law students of all backgrounds to broaden the contribution to this field.

At American University’s Washington College of Law, many of our colleagues and professors are distinctly oriented toward public service. A national security publication that is largely student-run serves as an outlet for this civic inclination. The founding members of our brief – liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and independents – bring a beneficial diversity of perspective, all while sharing the same interest in our nation’s security. Through vigorous debate and legal scholarship, we hope to lend to the continued study and innovation of counterterrorism, border security, cyber security, and intelligence reform, among other areas. In this way, we hope that our brief will further galvanize a new generation’s involvement in the protection of America.

-The Editors of the AU Nat’l Security Law Brief