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

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
Sens. Edward Markey, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, and Bernie Sanders recently released a draft bill to safeguard nuclear command and control from future policy changes that might allow an artificial intelligence (AI) system to make nuclear launch decisions. Whatever the policy merits or risks, few commentators have analyzed in detail the constitutional questions that such legislation raises.
Ashley Deeks Lawfare
On April 8, the Washington Post reported that members of Congress have “vowed to tackle AI.” The article describes the anxiety that is growing among lawmakers as they try to get a handle on what recent advances in artificial intelligence portend. “Something is coming. We aren’t ready,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted.
Ashley Deeks Lawfare
A panel of foreign policy experts marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq by discussing Melvyn P. Leffler’s new book, Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq. Looking back, what does this highly consequential foreign policy decision reveal about presidential leadership and decision making? How did Saddam Hussein's record as a brutal dictator influence the decisions made by George W. Bush? Leffler's extensive interviews with top Bush administration policymakers document the war's conflicting objectives and costly aftermath.
Ashley Deeks Miller Center Presents
States are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence systems to enhance their national security decision-making. The real risks that states will deploy unlawful or unreliable national security AI (NSAI) make international regulations seem appealing, but approaches built on nuclear analogies are deeply flawed. Instead, and as I argue in this paper, regulation of NSAI is more likely to follow the path of hostile cyber operations (HCOs).
Ashley Deeks Lawfare
A year of war between Russia and Ukraine has upended expectations. Ukraine surprised many observers by holding back the Russian invasion using weapons and other support from at least 40 countries aligned with the West. The Ukrainian infrastructure has been battered and Russian forces have been humbled, but states in the Global South are increasingly sympathetic to Russia. This week President Vladimir Putin withdrew from Russia’s last remaining arms control treaty with the United States. Three University of Virginia law professors and Miller Center senior fellows who are experts in national security and international law reflected on the war so far and the prospects for peace.
Ashley Deeks UVA Today