Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF (Ret.)

Professor of the Practice of Law
Executive Director, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security


Charles J. Dunlap Jr., the former deputy judge advocate general of the United States Air Force, joined the Duke Law faculty in July 2010. His teaching and scholarly writing focus on national security, international law, civil-military relations, cyberwar, and military justice.

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 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.

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 tours in the United Kingdom and Korea, and he deployed for operations in the Middle East and Africa, including those in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also led military-to-military delegations to Colombia, Uruguay, and the Czech Republic.

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 written for Harvard University’s Carr Center on “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. His latest essay on the subject (“Lawfare Today…And Tomorrow”) appears in International Law and the Changing Character of War (US. Naval War College, 2011).

Dunlap’s legal scholarship also has been published in the Stanford Law Review, the Yale Journal of International Affairs, the Wake Forest Law Review, the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, the University of Nebraska Law Review, the Texas Tech Law Review, 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 is also the author of “Airpower” in Understanding Counterinsurgency (Thomas Rid and Thomas Keaney, eds., Routledge, 2010), and his essay on “The Military Industrial Complex” appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Daedalus.

His article on international humanitarian law was published in 2012 in the German Red Cross in their Journal of International law of Peace and Armed Conflict, and he has a forthcoming essay ion the European Journal of International Law. His chapter on military law will appear in The Modern American Military (David Kennedy, ed., Oxford University Press, 2013), and his essay on anticipatory self-defense will be published in 2013

Dunlap has written a number of articles on cyberwar including “Perspectives for Cyber Strategists on Law for Cyberwar” which appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of Strategic Studies Quarterly and, more recently, his piece, “Some Reflections on the Intersection of Law and Ethics in Cyber War,” was published in the Jan-Feb 2013 issue of Air & Space Power Journal

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. They reside in Durham.