Michael Schmitt

Francis Lieber Distinguished Scholar


Professor Michael N. Schmitt is the Francis Lieber Distinguished Scholar at West Point’s Lieber Institute. He is also Professor of Public International Law at the University of Reading (UK), Distinguished Scholar and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Texas, and Charles H. Stockton Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence and professor emeritus at the United States Naval War College. He was previously Chairman of the Naval War College’s Stockton Center for International Law and Dean of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany. Professor Schmitt served 20 years in the United States Air Force as a judge advocate specializing in operational and international law. In 1996 he graduated first in class from the Naval War College's College of Naval Warfare. From 2007 through 2008, Professor Schmitt occupied the Charles H. Stockton Visiting Chair of International Law at the Naval War College. He has been invited to serve as the Sir Ninian Stephen Visiting Scholar at Melbourne University, Visiting Distinguished Fellow at Emory Law School's International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Visiting Scholar at Australian National University and Visiting Scholar Yale Law School. Additionally, he has delivered the United Nation's Association (UK) Annual Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen International Law Lecture, James Crawford Lecture at Adelaide Law School, Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture at Melbourne University, Hilaire McCoubrey Lecture at Hull University and Waldemar Solf Lecture at the US Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. The General Editor of the Lieber Studies series (OUP), Professor Schmitt serves on many boards of institutions, learned and professional societies, and publications dealing with international humanitarian law. A fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, in 2017 he was awarded the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana by the President of Estonia for his contributions to cyber defence and in 2018 named the Naval War College’s Research Scholar of the Year. Professor Schmitt has participated in multiple international expert working groups, including those on the Manual on the International Law of Air and Missile Warfare (Harvard Program on Conflict Research), Direct Participation by Civilians in Hostilities (ICRC), Characterization of Conflict (Chatham House), and, as Project Director, the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations. The author of over 160 publications, his works on law and military affairs have been published around the world.

Publications & Presentations


Michael Schmitt, Taming the Lawless Void: Tracking the Evolution of International Law Rules for Cyberspace, Texas National Security Review (2020).

Michael Schmitt and Yuval Shany, An International Attribution Mechanism for Hostile Cyber Operations, 96 International Law Studies (2020).

Michael Schmitt, International Humanitarian Law and the Targeting of Non-State Intelligence Personnel and Objects, 31 Duke Journal of International and Comparative Law (2020).

Michael Schmitt, International Humanitarian Law and the Conduct of Hostilities, in The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law (Dapo Akande & Ben Saul eds., Oxford University Press, 2020).

Michael Schmitt and Hitoshi Nasu, A Threat or A Warning: Russia’s Weapons Testing in Space, Just Security (July 31, 2020).

Michael Schmitt, COVID-19 and International Law, Directions: Cyber Digital Europe (July 1, 2020).

Michael Schmitt and Durward Johnson, Iranian Gunboat Harassment and the Rules of Engagement, Just Security (May 7, 2020).

Michael Schmitt, The Defense Department’s Measured Take on International Law in Cyberspace, Just Security (March 11, 2020).

Michael Schmitt and Kieran Tinkler, War in Space: How International Humanitarian Law Might Apply, Just Security (March 9, 2020).

Michael Schmitt, Norm-Skepticism in Cyberspace? Counter-factual and Counterproductive, Just Security (Feb. 28, 2020).


Michael Schmitt, NATO Collective Defense at 70: Confession and Response Revisited, 34 Emory International Law Review (2019).

Michael Schmitt, Wired Warfare 3.0: Protecting the Civilian Population during Cyber Operations, 101(1) International Review of the Red Cross (2019).

Michael Schmitt and Jeffrey Biller, Classification of Cyber Capabilities and Operations as Weapons, Means, or Methods of Warfare, 95 International Law Studies (2019).

Michael Schmitt and Michael Schauss, Uncertainty in the Law of Targeting: Towards a Cognitive Framework, 10 Harvard National Security Journal (2019).

Michael Schmitt, The Netherlands Releases a Tour de Force on International Law in Cyberspace, Just Security (Oct. 14, 2019)

Michael Schmitt. France Speaks Out on IHL and Cyber Operations: Part II, European Journal of International Law: Talk! (Oct. 1, 2019)

Michael Schmitt, France Speaks Out on IHL and Cyber Operations: Part I, European Journal of International Law: Talk! (Sept. 30, 2019)

Michael Schmitt, France’s Major Statement on International Law and Cyber: An Assessment, Just Security (Sept. 16, 2019).

Michael Schmitt, The U.N. Yemen Report and Siege Warfare, Just Security (Sept. 12, 2019) (with Kieran Tinkler and Durward Johnson).

Michael Schmitt, Top Expert Backgrounder: Aborted U.S. Strike, Cyber Operation Against Iran and International Law, Just Security (June 24, 2019).

Michael Schmitt, U.S. Cyber Command, Russia and Critical Infrastructure: What Norms and Laws Apply?, Just Security (June 18, 2019)

Michael Schmitt, Estonia Speaks Out on Key Rules for Cyberspace, Just Security (June 10, 2019).