Charles J. Dunlap Jr., the former deputy judge advocate general of the United States Air Force, 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, 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 the Air Staff and commanders at all levels.
Dunlap is a graduate of St Joseph’s University (PA) and Villanova University School of Law. He is also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, and is a distinguished graduate of the National War College.
In the course of his career, Dunlap has been involved in various high-profile interagency and policy matters, highlighted by his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives concerning the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Dunlap previously served as staff judge advocate at Headquarters Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and at Headquarters Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, among other leadership posts. His other assignments include 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 overseas tours in the United Kingdom and Korea, and he deployed for operations in the Middle East and Africa.
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, “Law and Military Interventions: Preserving Humanitarian Values in 21st Century Conflicts,” written for Harvard University’s Carr Center about “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.
Dunlap’s legal scholarship also has been published in the Stanford Law Review, the Yale Journal of International Affairs, the Duke Journal of Gender law & Policy, the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, the Wake Forest Law Review, the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Air & Space Power Journal, the University of Nebraska Law Review, the Texas Tech Law Review, the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and the Tennessee Law Review, among others. He is the author of “The Origins of the Military Coup of 2012”, originally published in 1992, which was selected for the 40th Anniversary Edition of Parameters (Winter 2010-2011).
He also has published chapters in a number of texts and other books. Most recently he completed a chapter on “Civil-Military Relations” for National Security Law and Policy: A Reader to be published in 2020. Additionally, he is the author of two monographs: Shortchanging the Joint Fight? An Airman’s Perspective on FM 3-24 and the Case for Developing Truly Joint COIN Doctrine, published by the U.S. Air Force’s Air University in 2008, and Technology and the 21st Century Battlefield: Recomplicating Moral Life for the Soldier and the Statesman by the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute in 1999.
Dunlap’s wife, Joy, was formerly a vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters, and most recently was the deputy director of Government Relations for the Military Officers Association of America. She is also a past president of the Duke Campus Club. They reside in Durham, and her blog is Speaking Joyfully.