The National Institute of Military Justice is dedicated to advancing the fair administration of military justice and fostering improved public understanding of our military justice system.
Most of our advisors have served as Judge Advocates in the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. Having served as prosecutors and defense attorneys in courts-martial and military commissions, as counsel in federal litigation, and as scholars in academia, our experts-on-call are available to provide in-depth commentary as SME sources for the media, governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations on issues relating to military justice, international humanitarian law, and military commissions.
One of NIMJ’s strengths is the diversity of views among its Advisors. Because of this, the views expressed by these experts are offered in their personal capacities, and do not represent the views of the National Institute of Military Justice. When using our advisors’ expertise, we ask that media representatives please ensure that this distinction is clear.
Our NIMJ advisors acting as experts-on-call have volunteered to provide their expertise to the media on military justice, including courts-martial, the law of war, and military commissions. NIMJ does not provide endorsements of, or referrals or recommendations to any law firm, judge, or attorney, nor will its advisors provide individual legal advice arising from contact through this site.
Although some of our experts also operate as private attorneys, use of their law firm email or links does not constitute an endorsement or referral by NIMJ to these individuals. They have agreed to act as experts on call for the media in their capacities as NIMJ Advisors.
Dru Brenner-Beck is an attorney in private practice in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and consults and writes on international law and the law of armed conflict, as well as the Guantanamo military commissions.
She served in the U.S. Army initially as a Military Intelligence officer, serving as a tactical intelligence officer for an Infantry Brigade, and then as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1992-2004. As a Judge Advocate, LTC (Ret.) Brenner-Beck served worldwide as a prosecutor, an administrative law attorney, an Army litigator, the Chief of Military and Civil Law for the US Army, Europe, and as Deputy General Counsel for the Department of the Army Inspector General. After retirement she served as a Law Clerk to The Honorable Carlos F. Lucero of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
She has written numerous book chapters and legal articles dealing with international humanitarian law, US treaty practice, and military and criminal law issues. She graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Boston University’s School of Law and earned an LL.M in military law from the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. She is also the current President of the National Institute of Military Justice.
Cdr. (Ret.) Phil D. Cave, is a retired Navy judge advocate, now a sole practitioner, focusing exclusively on military law and security clearance law issues. Phil came to America in 1972, having spent seven years with the Metropolitan Police in London, England. After graduating from the Case Western Reserve Law School in 1979, he attended the Naval Justice School; and then reported to his first assignment at Naval Legal Service Office Norfolk, to be a defense counsel and then a trial counsel (prosecutor).
Over the next 20 years Phil served as a Navy judge advocate in various military justice related assignments: twice as a defense counsel, twice as a trial counsel (prosecutor), three times as a staff judge advocate (command legal advisor), and as an appeals lawyer. In his last few years of active duty he served in the Navy office responsible Military Justice (legislation, regulation, policy) matters, as well as sitting as a member of the Naval Clemency & Parole Board.
Phil has broad experience in courts-martial ranging from simple AWOL/UA cases to complicated murder, sex assault, and national security cases, and as a NIMJ Director has filed and argued amicus petitions on behalf of NIMJ before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) in cases of significant interest.
Phil earned his JD from Case Western Reserve University, and an LL.M. from George Washington University. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, all military trial and appellate courts, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Ohio, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the federal Court of Claims.
Geoffrey S. Corn is the Vinsen & Elkins Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law Houston in Houston Texas. Prior to joining the South Texas College of Law Houston faculty in 2005, Professor Corn served in the U.S. Army for 21 years as an officer, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His last position as a civilian with the Army was as senior law of war expert advisor for The Army Judge Advocate General and Chief of the Law of War Branch.
Professor Corn’s teaching and scholarship focuses on the law of armed conflict, national security law, criminal law and procedure, and prosecutorial ethics. He has appeared as an expert witness at the Military Commission in Guantanamo, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and in federal court. He is the lead author of The Law of Armed Conflict: An Operational Perspective, and The Laws of War and the War on Terror, and National Security Law and Policy: a Student Treatise.
He earned is B.A. from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY, his J.D. with highest honors from George Washington University, his LLM as the distinguished graduate from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School.
David has 23 years of active and reserve service as an officer in the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, including as a military prosecutor and defense counsel, and will retire as a Lieutenant Colonel in September 2018. David has previously taught as a law professor at several law schools, including Georgetown and the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in military law, the law of war, criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence and trial advocacy. He is best known for his successful defense of Mohammed Jawed, a Guantanamo detainee, before the military commissions. He is a respected scholar with over 40 publications, including over a dozen law review articles, many related to Guantanamo and the military commissions. He is a frequent commentator in the news media, with numerous appearances on NPR, NBC, MSNBC and CNN, and is frequently quoted in leading periodicals on matters related to military justice and national security law.
Professor Hansen teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Prosecutorial Ethics at New England Law | Boston. Before joining the New England Law faculty in 2005, he served a 20-year career in the US Army, most of that time as a JAG Corps officer. In his last military assignment, he served as a regional defense counsel for the US Army Trial Defense Service. His previous assignments include work as a military prosecutor and supervising prosecutor. He has been involved in military capital litigation as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. He also served as an associate professor of law at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the author of several articles and books on criminal and military law, evidence, and national security issues
Dr. Elizabeth L. Hillman, an Air Force veteran, has a distinguished background in higher education with a focus on key gender and women’s issues. She currently serves as president of Mills College, an independent liberal arts college for women and gender non-binary students, with graduate programs for all genders, located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. At Mills, she has articulated an agenda that places Mills at the forefront of the national movement for educational access and equity. This strategic road map builds on Mills’ historic commitment to gender and racial justice, and espouses a new commitment to accessibility and affordability alongside inclusive excellence in the arts and sciences, humanities, and technology.
Dr. Hillman’s expertise in sexual violence and gender issues in military organizations and culture has brought her national and international recognition. She has been an expert witness testifying before Congress on numerous occasions, including at the Congressional Women’s Caucus hearing to address nonconsensual pornography in the U.S. Military (Marines United). She is a sought-after educator and speaker on the topics of sexual assault and harassment, and women’s leadership and rights.
In 2013–2014, she served on the Response Systems to the Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel (RSP), an independent panel chartered by the U.S. Congress to study and make recommendations about sexual assault in the U.S. military. She also chaired the RSP’s Comparative Systems Subcommittee, leading the preparation and drafting of a comprehensive report recommending significant changes to improve military responses to sexual assault.
In 2017, she was named as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Science, Engineering, and Medical Workplaces, and became a founding president of the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, which seeks to influence the policy-making process on immigration, especially the policies that affect undocumented students. In 2018, she was appointed NCAA Division III Chancellors and Presidents Advisory Group, and to the board of the Women’s College Coalition.
Professor Eric Talbot Jensen, LTC, USA (ret), is a Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Law School where he teaches criminal law, international law, the law of armed conflict, and national security law. He preciously served for 20 years in the United States Army, including 15 years as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, finishing his career as the Army’s Chief, International Law Branch. He is the author of numerous books, book chapters, and articles on the topics of international law and the law of armed conflict.
Fredric Lederer, Colonel, USAR, retired, is Chancellor Professor of Law and Director, Center for Legal and Court Technology, at William & Mary Law School where, among other courses, he teaches criminal procedure, evidence, technology augmented trial practice and military law.
He is a co-author of the Military Rules of Evidence and the author of the Analysis of those rules. For four years, via appointment by the Secretary of Defense, with Gene Fidell he served as a public member of the Code Committee, which oversees military criminal law. With Fran Gilligan, he is the co-author of the treatise, Court-Martial Procedure.
Professor Rachel E. VanLandingham was appointed to the Southwestern Law School faculty in 2014 after having served in the U.S. Air Force for over 20 years, including more than a decade as a Judge Advocate. She currently teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and national security law. While on active duty, Professor VanLandingham served in many capacities, including as a nuclear surety advisor, a trial prosecutor and defense counsel, and appellate defense counsel. She also was the legal advisor for international law at Headquarters, U.S. Central Command, where she advised on operational and international legal issues related to the armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq; she additionally served as the Command’s Chief Liaison to the International Committee of The Red Cross. She is the co-editor of the 2015 Oxford University Press book, Military Operations: Law, Policy and Practice, which details the operationalization of law across the spectrum of U.S. military operations. She is also the author of numerous law review articles regarding military criminal law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and, and was the 2015 winner of the Benjamin Ferencz Essay Competition for her article, Criminally Disproportionate Warfare: Aggression as a Contextual War Crime.
Sean Watts is a Professor of Law at Creighton University Law School and an operational law attorney at United States Cyber Command in his capacity as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army JAG Reserve. He is a Senior Fellow with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Lieber Center for Law and Land Warfare at the United States Military Academy at West Point. From 2010-2016 he participated in drafting both volumes of The Tallinn Manual on International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare. From 2009-2011 he served as a defense team member in Gotovina et al. at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. He is also a co-founder of the annual Creighton Law School Nuremberg to Hague Summer Program in international criminal law. Prior to teaching, Professor Watts served as an active-duty U.S. Army officer for fifteen years in legal and operational assignments as a military lawyer and as an Armor officer in a tank battalion.