Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap

Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap, Jr.

Professor of the Practice of Law Executive Director, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, Duke Law

Charles J. Dunlap Jr. joined the Duke Law faculty in July 2010 where he is a professor of the practice of law and Executive Director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. His teaching and scholarly writing focus on national security, law of armed conflict, the use of force under international law, civil-military relations, cyberwar, airpower, military justice, and ethical issues related to the practice of national security law.

Dunlap retired from the Air Force in June 2010, having attained the rank of major general during a 34-year career in the Judge Advocate General Corps. In his capacity as Deputy Judge Advocate General from May 2006 to March 2010, he assisted the Judge Advocate General in the professional supervision of more than 2,200 judge advocates, 350 civilian lawyers, 1,400 enlisted paralegals, and 500 civilians around the world. In addition to overseeing an array of military justice, operational, international, and civil law functions, he provided legal advice to commanders and civilian leaders at all levels.

In the course of his career, Dunlap has been involved in various high-profile interagency and policy matters, including his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives concerning the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Dunlap previously served as the senior lawyer (staff judge advocate) at Headquarters Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, at Headquarters Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, and at U.S. Strategic Command, Omaha, Nebraska, among other leadership posts.  Additionally, he served on the faculty of the Air Force Judge Advocate General School where he taught various civil and criminal law topics. An experienced trial lawyer, he also spent two years as a military trial judge for a 22-state circuit. He served tours in the United Kingdom and Korea, and deployed for operations in the Middle East and Africa, including short stints in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also led military-to-military delegations to Colombia, Uruguay, Iraq, and the Czech Republic.

A prolific author and accomplished public speaker, Dunlap’s commentary on a wide variety of national security topics has been published in leading newspapers and military journals. His 2001 essay written for Harvard University’s Carr Center on “lawfare,” a concept he defines as “the use or misuse of law as a substitute for traditional military means to accomplish an operational objective,” has been highly influential among military scholars and in the broader legal academy. His essay, “Lawfare 101: A Primer,” appeared in the May-June 2017 issue of Military Review.

Click to play: Panel 1: Legal Authorities for the U.S. Role in Syria: Does Congress Need to Weigh In?

Panel 1: Legal Authorities for the U.S. Role in Syria: Does Congress Need to Weigh In?

The U.S. Role in Syria: Legal and Policy Questions in a Challenging Conflict

On May 23, 2019, the National Security Institute and the Federalist Society co-hosted an event...

Panel 1: Legal Authorities for the U.S. Role in Syria: Does Congress Need to Weigh In?

The U.S. Role in Syria: Legal and Policy Questions in a Challenging Conflict

On May 23, 2019, the National Security Institute and the Federalist Society co-hosted an event...