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

The Power To Wage War Successfully

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Thursday, October 13, 2016

A little more than 99 years ago, and several months after the United States declared its entry into the Great War against the Central Powers of Europe, Charles Evans Hughes declared in a widely publicized speech that “the [constitutional] power to wage war is the power to wage war successfully.”

Analysis and Commentary

NY State Cyber Regulation For Banks: A Model?

by Marcel Bucsescu, Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Monday, September 19, 2016

On September 13, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a set of proposed cybersecurity regulations for financial services companies that fall under the jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS): Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies. 


The Other Forever War Anniversary

by Jack Goldsmith, Matthew Waxmanvia Time
Saturday, September 10, 2016

The United States had been bombing the Islamic State sporadically throughout the summer of 2014, under the President’s Article II Commander-in-Chief power. But at about the time on September 10 when President Obama announced the United States’ ramped-up efforts “to degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, he also shifted the legal basis for the effort to the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) that had been the foundation for the conflict against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Associates since a few days after the 9/11 attacks. 

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.