Robert F. Turner

Associate Director, Center for National Security Law

Professor, General Faculty, University of Virginia School of Law

Robert F. Turner holds both professional and academic doctorates from the University of Virginia School of Law. He co-founded the Center for National Security Law with Professor John Norton Moore in April 1981 and has served as its Associate Director since then except for two periods of government service in the 1980s and during 1994-95, when he occupied the Charles H. Stockton Chair of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. A veteran of two Army tours in Vietnam, he served as a Research Associate and Public Affairs Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace before spending five years in the mid-1970s as national security adviser to Senator Robert P. Griffin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has also served in the Pentagon as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, in the White House as Counsel to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, at the State Department as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, and as the first President of the congressionally established United States Institute of Peace.

A former three-term chairman of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security (and for many years editor of the ABA National Security Law Report), Turner has taught undergraduate courses at Virginia on international law, U.S. foreign policy, the Vietnam War, and foreign policy and the law in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, in addition to co-teaching with Moore the law school seminars Advanced Topics in National Security Law I & II. The author or editor of more than a dozen books and monographs (including coeditor of the Center's National Security Law and National Security Law Documents) and numerous articles in law reviews and professional journals, Turner has also contributed articles to most of the major U.S. newspapers and has testified before more than a dozen different congressional committees on issues of international or constitutional law and related topics. Turner is a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, the Council on Foreign Relations, and other professional organizations.


War and Peace

Indochina War



Articles and Op-Eds

Congressional Testimony

Selected Presentations, Papers, and Documents

Gina Haspel Followed Faulty Advice in Good Faith Wall Street Journal March 21, 2018

The Burns-Novick Vietnam War Film: A Different Perspective Jan 22, 2018

Congress, Secrecy, and "the Business of Intelligence": Reassessing Modern Practice Through the Eyes of the Founding Fathers Capital Law School Federalist Society, Nov 9, 2017

Resolved: The President Needs a New AUMF for ISIS & DPRK OSU Federalist Society, Nov 8, 2017

Does President Trump have the authority to "totally destroy" North Korea? Loyola Law School-Chicago Federalist Society, Oct 26, 2017

Does President Trump Congress in the Sphere of Foreign Affairs? Federalist Society, Sept 2017

The AUMF: Is an Update Required? International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast, Sept 2017

Does the President Need a New AUMF for ISIS? Yale Federalist Society, 2017

War Powers Slides for Cleveland Bar Association 2017

Turner "Reassessing the Factual Arguments (1967)" Texas Tech University, Apr. 2017

Turner "Presidential Power Over Foreign Affairs" Duke Federalist Society, Feb. 2017

Turner "Gun Control and Terrorism" Wake Forest Feb. 2017

Turner "Censoring Jefferson to Safeguard Ignorance" Daily Progress, Nov. 27, 2016

Turner PowerPoint and audio (Mp3) "Snowden's Treachery" Texas Tech Oct 2016

Turner PowerPoint: "NSA Collection of Metadata Debate v. Donohue" 2016 NSLI

Turner PowerPoint: "Operation Iraqi Freedom Debate v. Moore" 2016 NSLI

Turner PowerPoint: "War Powers Theory" 2016 NSLI

Turner, "Views on Vietnam: The Irony of the LBJ Library Vietnam War Summit" Apr 2016