Register now for LENS’ 29th Annual National Security Law Conference!

I’m pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 29th Annual National Security Law Conference presented by Duke Law’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security (LENS) on Feb 23-24, 2024. Because seats are very limited, please register ASAP on the registration portal found here. The Conference is for anyone interested in national security matters, not just lawyers and law students.

What you will experience…

There’s lots of variety in the ‘ripped-from the-headlines’ topics the conference’s world-class speakers will address.  I think you’ll agree if you check out the agenda found here.

Here are some highlights:

On Friday morning, Vanderbilt’s Professor Mike Newton provides an update on international criminal justice with special emphasis on war crimes in the Ukraine where he has been working on-the-ground with prosecutors. 

And the ‘fireside chat’ with CIA General Counsel Ms. Kate Heinzelman will surely be intriguing!

I’m excited to tell you we have panels on several hot topics.  Col Ted Richard will moderate a panel on Emerging Challenges in Space Law featuring Prof. Chris Borgen, CDR Tracy L. Reynolds, and Dr. Hitoshi Nasu.

Another panel of experts will address Maritime Law and Global Security and it includes Prof. James Kraska, Prof. Raul (Pete) Pedrozo, and U.S. Coast Guard CAPT Robin Ellerbe.

The conference leadership speech will be presented by Brig Gen David E. Mendelson, the Army’s Assistant Judge Advocate General for Military Law and Operations.  If you haven’t heard this super-dynamic speaker before, you’re in for a great experience. 

We have another fascinating ‘fireside chat’ for you, and this one is with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw on Business and American National Security.”  Duke’s own Bobby Bishop will be the discussant.

I’m especially pleased that Air Force Academy Dean Brig Gen Linell Letendre will return to the LENS conference to give us what will surely be an awesome presentation: “Guardians of Code and Conscience: Exploring Legal and Ethical Frontiers of Generative AI.”

Dawn Zoldi, one of the nation’s foremost experts on domestic drones, will discuss their impact on national security.  Returning as the guest speaker for our working lunch is Mr. Dean Cheng from the U.S. Institute of Peace who will brief us on some of the current issues with China.

And you’ll also hear from returning conference experts Laurie Blank who will speak about the law of armed conflict; Prof. Geoff Corn, who will talk about war powers; and Prof. Adam Oler whose topic isWar Again – The Middle East and the Conflict in Context”.   

Conference newcomer Maj Melissa Ken will give us a ‘Shortburst’ on “Protecting Constitutional Rights in Domestic Terrorism cases.” 

LENS stalwarts Prof. David Hoffman, and Prof. Shane Stansbury will brief us on recent (and controversial!) developments in surveillance law – and, importantly, what it may mean looking ahead.

“Early Arrival” session

An “Early Arrival” session co-sponsored with Duke Law’s National Security Law Society will take place on Thursday, February 22 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Room 3041 at Duke Law. 

Practitioners from the military, government, a think tank, and ‘big law’ will discuss “Careers in National Security Law.”  They’ll explain to students, young attorneys, and others how national security law can be involved in a number of different practice venues. (Conference registration for this event is not required).


Again, you just need to click here to get the registration portal, or you can scan the QR to the right. (If you have any difficulties registering, please reach out to conference coordinator, Amanda Gonzalez  (A modest registration fee applies.)

Besides a terrific educational experience and networking opportunity, registration includes a continental breakfast on Friday and Saturday mornings, and a box lunch on Friday. 

There is also a reception at the Washington Duke Inn on Friday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  If you’d like to attend the reception, let us know when you register.  We hope to accommodate everyone who wants to go, but because there is a cap on the numbers we can invite, we can’t guarantee it.  (Priority given to early registrants!)


We have been approved for 10 hours of CLE by North Caroline and Pennsylvania (including an hour of ethics).  An additional hour of general CLE credit is available for those who attend the “Early Arrival” luncheon event (see the conference website for more information.)

Will you help support the conference and LENS activities?

As you might imagine, the registration fee hardly covers the full cost of the conference or, as explained here other LENS efforts to try to help build the next generation of national security leaders.  I hope you will want to be part of the process – and please know that any amount will help!

The easiest way to donate is online through Duke’s secure giving website:

You can also mail a check to the Duke Law Alumni & Development Office, 210 Science Drive, Box 90389, Durham, NC 27701. Please write LENS on the memo line. If you would like to learn about additional ways you can make an impact on our students and support the LENS Center, please contact Halley House at

Anyway, we hope to see you at the conference, so please register as soon as possible!!!

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