Matthew Waxman

Matthew Waxman

Research Team: 

Matthew Waxman is a professor of law at Columbia Law School and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He previously served as principal deputy director of policy planning (2005–7) and acting director of policy planning (2007) at the US Department of State. He also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs (2004–5), director for contingency planning and international justice at the National Security Council (2002–3), and special assistant to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (2001–2). He is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. He served as law clerk to Supreme Court justice David H. Souter and US Court of Appeals judge Joel M. Flaum. His publications include The Dynamics of Coercion: American Foreign Policy and the Limits of Military Might (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's Legal Legacy Of Light Footprint Warfare

by Jack Goldsmith, Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

We have a new piece in The Washington Quarterly, titled “The Legal Legacy of Light-Footprint Warfare.”  President Obama’s approach to military intervention has generally emphasized stealthy and often long-distance warfare as an alternative to his predecessor’s heavy “boots on the ground” approach. 

Analysis and Commentary

Bellovin Appointed Technology Scholar To PCLOB

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Friday, February 12, 2016

Congratulations to my Columbia University colleague Steve Bellovin, who was just appointed as the first Technology Scholar of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

Analysis and Commentary

How Does Israel Regulate Encryption?

by Matthew Waxman, Doron Hindinvia Lawfare
Monday, November 30, 2015

Recent terrorist attacks and resulting questions about the limits of surveillance have rekindled debate about how governments should deal with the challenges of powerful, commercially available encryption.

Analysis and Commentary

My Review Of Charlie Savage's Book, Power Wars

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Saturday, November 7, 2015

Earlier this week, Time magazine published reviews of Charlie Savage's new book, Power Wars, by me and former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer.

Analysis and Commentary

Similar Ethical Dilemmas For Autonomous Weapon Systems And Autonomous Self-Driving Cars

by Kenneth Anderson, Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Friday, November 6, 2015

In writing about autonomous weapon systems (AWS) and the law of armed conflict, we have several times observed the similarities between programming AWS and programming other kinds of autonomous technologies, as well as the similarities of ethical issues arising in each.

Analysis and Commentary

Best Of My Lawfare-ish Summer Reading

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Friday, September 4, 2015

As usual, I didn’t make much of a dent in my intended summer reading. From among those I made it through, though, the following three books stand out. I recommend all of them to Lawfare readers.

Complexities of CybersecurityAnalysis and Commentary

Cultivating Cyberattack Norms After Snowden and Sony

by Matthew Waxmanvia The Briefing
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The cyberattack late last year against Sony, attributed by the US government to North Korea, has highlighted the issue of international norms — especially those related to impermissible actions in cyberspace and permissible actions in response to them.  For the United States to effectively advance norms it must balance secrecy and transparency as well as build and sustain credibility.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands
Analysis and Commentary

The Palestinian Authority’s Lose-Lose-Lose Move On ICC

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Monday, January 5, 2015

Just before the end of the year, the Palestinian Authority took steps to become party to the Rome Statute and thereby join the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is a lose-lose-lose move: it is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinian Authority, and bad for the ICC.

Analysis and Commentary

The Heroism Of Effective Logistics: A Dispatch From Kerem Shalom

by Matthew Waxman, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We witnessed a moving scene today—if the loading and unloading of trucks amid looming concrete security barriers can ever really be moving: A major joint Palestinian-Israeli operation to route goods into the Gaza Strip.

Analysis and Commentary

There Is a Recent Silver Lining for Gitmo Policy – But It’s Not What People Have Been Talking About

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Monday, December 8, 2014

The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is likely to extend the ban on any transfers of Guantanamo detainees into the United States but ease restrictions on transfers to other countries.