Robert Chesney

Senior Fellow  | Clements Center
Robert Chesney

Bobby Chesney is the Charles I. Francis Professor in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution. His scholarship examines legal and policy questions associated with U.S. national security, including but not limited to terrorism-related issues. Professor Chesney also serves as the school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In 2009, Professor Chesney served in the Justice Department in connection with the Detention Policy Task Force created by Executive Order 13493, and he also previously served the Intelligence Community as an associate member of the Intelligence Science Board and as a member of the Advanced Technology Board. He currently is a member of the American Law Institute, a senior editor for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and a past chair of Section on National Security Law of the Association of American Law Schools (as well as the AALS Section on New Law Teachers). He is a co-founder and contributor to www.lawfareblog.com, the leading source for analysis, commentary, and news relating to law and national security. Professor Chesney's scholarship focuses on U.S. national security policies and institutions, encompassing both domestic and international law issues. Among other things, he has written about military detention, the use of lethal force, civilian criminal prosecution in terrorism-related cases, civil litigation involving the state secrets privilege, and the convergence of functions across the military and the Intelligence Community. Pending projects include two books under contract with Oxford University Press (one that places the legal debates of the post-9/11 period in long-term historical context, and the other examining the evolving judicial role in national security affairs). 

In addition to his blogging at Lawfare, those interested in national security law should consider following Professor Chesney on Twitter (@bobbychesney), and might also be interested in the listserv he operates for those interested in receiving updates on national security law developments (to join the listserv, just send him an email with a request to that effect). Professor Chesney is a magna cum laude graduate of both Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Robert D. Sack of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then practiced with the firm Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York (litigation), before beginning his academic career with Wake Forest University School of Law. There he received a teacher of the year award from the student body in one year, and from the school's dean in another. In 2008 he came to the University of Texas School of Law as a visiting professor, and then joined UT on a permanent basis in 2009. He became the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2011.

Professor Chesney has taught a variety of courses over the years, including Constitutional Law, National Security Law, Evidence, Civil Procedure, and an array of security-related seminars.