Ashley Deeks

Fast Facts

  • Served in the Biden Administration as White House associate counsel
  • Member, U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Law
  • Member, board of editors, American Journal of International Law
  • Senior fellow, Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare
  • Expertise on international law and litigation, national security law, terrorism

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Law and Justice

Ashley Deeks is the Class of 1948 Professor of Scholarly Research in Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, which she joined in 2012 after two years as an academic fellow at Columbia Law School. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of international law, national security, intelligence, and the laws of war. She has written articles on the use of force, executive power, secret treaties, the intersection of national security and international law, and the laws of armed conflict. She is a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law, and she serves as a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog. Deeks also serves on the boards of editors of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of National Security Law and Policy. She is the supervising editor for AJIL Unbound, and is a senior fellow at the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare.

Deeks served in the Biden Administration as White House associate counsel and deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council. Before joining Columbia in 2010, she served as the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor, where she worked on issues related to the law of armed conflict, the use of force, conventional weapons, and the legal framework for the conflict with al-Qaida. She also provided advice on intelligence issues. In previous positions at the State Department, Deeks advised on international law enforcement, extradition, and diplomatic property questions. In 2005, she served as the embassy legal advisor at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, during Iraq’s constitutional negotiations. Deeks was a 2007–08 Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow and a visiting fellow in residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Deeks received her JD with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as comment editor on the Law Review. After graduation, she clerked for Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Ashley Deeks News Feed

Ashley Deeks, Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and Dr. Mark Klamberg, Professor at Stockholm University, Visiting Professor at American University, and Fellow with the Atlantic Council, join Lawfare's Tarbell Fellow Kevin Frazier and Senior Editor Alan Rozenshtein to discuss the weaponization of AI. The group explores a number of related topics including ongoing domestic and international efforts to regulate military use of AI, the national security implications of weaponized AI, and whether AI companies bear any legal responsibility for military use of their AI systems. Professor Deeks and Dr. Klamberg bring their extensive AI knowledge to the fore in this illuminating podcast. Keep an eye out for their respective forthcoming publications on military use of AI.
Ashley Deeks Lawfare
There have been many many, many proposals to use Russia’s frozen assets to help Ukraine. Russia’s invasion violated international law; reparations are owed. Can’t Ukraine use Russian assets held by its allies to defend itself? 
Ashley Deeks Financial Times
It's part two of our Lawfare year-end event. Yesterday, we brought you the headliner conversation with Adam Kinzinger. Today, it's three panels of Lawfare insiders talking about the year to come and the year that's passed. We did a panel on democracy, the Trump trials, and related matters. We did a panel on cybersecurity, cyber defense, and AI. And of course, we did a panel on foreign policy and the various crises that are overtaking American foreign policy.
Ashley Deeks Lawfare Podcast
Executive branch lawyers could argue that using force against cartels would be consistent with past presidential uses of force, but it would be very difficult to defend under international law.
Ashley Deeks Lawfare
China won’t yet commit to keep autonomy out of its nuclear command and control. It will take a lot more talking to get there.
Ashley Deeks Lawfare
As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its 16th month, the United States and its allies have developed a range of sanctions to cut off Russia’s economy and strangle its ability to fight a war. Ashley S. Deeks and Andrew Hayashi, two University of Virginia School of Law professors who specialize in international law and national security, and tax law and policy, respectively, recently teamed up on a research paper analyzing how the U.S. could use the breadth of its tax code to levy a different, nuanced type of sanction against Russia.
Ashley Deeks University of Virginia School of Law