Institute for Security Policy and Law Impacts War in Ukraine and Growing AI Field

Syracuse Law Review and the Institute for Security Policy and Law Host “Lessons Learned: Perspectives on Law and Policy from the War in Ukraine” Symposium 

The Syracuse Law Review and the Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL) hosted the “Lessons Learned: Perspectives on Law and Policy from the War in Ukraine” symposium during the 2022 Law Alumni Weekend. Beginning with an introduction from the Director of the SPL, the Hon. James E. Baker, panelists gathered for a roundtable discussion on topics related to the war in Ukraine, which included: 


  • Beth Kubala, Professor, Executive Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (LTC U.S. Army Ret.) 
  • Rachel VanLandingham, Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School (Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force Ret.) 
  • Major William Casey Biggerstaff, Military Professor at the Stockton Center for International Law at the U.S. Naval College 
  • Major Jason Harrup, Chief of National Security Law, 10th Mountain Division, U.S. Army


  • Robert Murrett, Professor, Deputy Director of the Institute for Security Policy and Law (former Director NGA, Vice Admiral U.S. Navy Ret.) 
  • Renn Gade, Deputy General Counsel/Intelligence, Department of Defense 
  • Brian Taylor, Professor, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs 
  • Laurie Hobart, Professor, College of Law


  • Adam Smith, Partner Gibson Dunn (former Senior Advisor, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Director NSC staff) 
  • Kristen Patel, Professor, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs 

The Syracuse Law Review recently published a special Symposium Journal edition that discusses ideas and topics deducted from the discussion. The symposium and accompanying journal focused on strategic and subject matter aspects of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, starting with the question: why Ukraine matters to United States and NATO security. 

This was the first symposium on the war in Ukraine held at a law school in the United States. While the in-person speakers were drawn from the United States, the special edition of the Law Review included comparative perspectives drawn from leading scholars in the “frontline states,” referencing the European states located on Russia’s border. 

“An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence for Federal Judges” Published by the Federal Judicial Center

In February 2023, the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) published An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence for Federal Judges, written by James E. Baker, Professor Laurie Hobart and Research Fellow Matt Mittelsteadt during the 2021-22 academic year. The booklet addresses the role of judges as evidentiary gatekeepers, constitutional guardians, and potential consumers with respect to artificial intelligence (AI). 

The FJC reports that the booklet has been one of their most downloaded and requested publications this spring. Hobart and Baker are currently revising and updating the booklet into a chapter for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and FJC’s Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence. The work supplements and supports SPL’s ongoing AI work to promote responsible AI regulation, including over 10 presentations to domestic and international legal and policymaking audiences. 

Expanding the Reach of Ring Around Russia: A Partnership for Law and Policy

Expanding the reach of the Ring Around Russia: Partnership for Law and Policy was a key focus for the SPL this academic year. Led by the Hon. James E. Baker, the initiative involves a series of partnerships and exchange programs with universities and civil society organizations in countries along the eastern flank of NATO and the edge of Russia to reinforce the connection between law and security. 

Through training, symposia, joint papers, and academic exchange at the professorial and Master of Laws (LL.M.) student level, SPL is working with regional partners to assist critical regional actors and thinkers to articulate and apply national security law and thus make the link between good faith adherence to law and process and security. Doing so will help provide for NATO’s physical and legal security while building trans-Atlantic academic bonds and, it is hoped, help democratic states, including Ukraine, resist aggression. The project draws on leading scholars in the Frontline States, including Professors Knut Einar Skodvin (University of Bergen), Izabela Kraśnicka (University of Bialystok), Martin Bulla (Trnava University), Volodymyr Turchynovskyy (Ukrainian Catholic University), and Charles Szymanski (University of Bialystok). 

The Ring Around Russia partnership now stretches from the Arctic to the Black Sea with participants in Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, Georgia, and Moldova. During the past year, the SPL team and its partners conducted more than a 100 meetings with government officials, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), and university officials in Europe and in the United States. In addition, SPL hosted and contributed to four seminars addressing Ukraine, including an online Symposium on the “Experience of the Frontline States” with the Ukrainian Catholic University and the University of Bialystok that drew scholars from throughout Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. 

This significant outreach effort has produced a fruitful outcome. The project team has delivered well over 20 presentations and conducted training for domestic and international audiences on Ukraine, cybersecurity, disinformation, and emerging technologies. Baker and SPL consultant Lotta Lampela LL.M.’23 were also invited to publish the project’s first best practice paper, “A Combined Arms Response to Disinformation,” in the Journal of the Latvian Association of Political Scientists. The project’s value has been recognized by European cabinets, as the Chief of Staff to the President of Slovakia and Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs have called it both vital and critical. 

Several new Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with universities abroad are also underway, including: 

  • Ukrainian Catholic University (Ukraine) 
  • Trnava University (Slovakia) 
  • The University of Bialystok (Poland) 
  • The University of Eastern Finland (Finland) 
  • Tallinn Technical University (Estonia) 
  • Alexandru loan Cuza University (Romania) 
  • Carol I National Defense University (Romania) 
  • Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (Moldova) 

Partnerships with universities such as the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) in Estonia bring significant potential to Syracuse Law students aspiring to become leading experts in growing and vital areas of law. TalTech Law School is a top-tier regional research institution focused on cyber security and technology law, whereas international environmental law and international climate change law are among the specialty areas of UEF. 

The MOUs serve as a mechanism for academic cooperation, including funding mechanisms, further enhancing the cultural and values ties between the United States and the Frontline States, and making Syracuse University a leader in international academic cooperation in the national security area, highlighting the College of Law’s outstanding LLM program and the Maxwell School’s world class policy research and programs. These MOUs will also allow the SPL to expand the reach of the Ring Around Russia partnership, thereby stimulating necessary changes in the Frontline States’ national security laws and policies and ultimately enhancing their overall security and thus the security of NATO and the United States. They also highlight SU’s outstanding LLM program and international programs generally.