Video On Demand

New Challenges to the Laws of War: A Discussion with Ambassador Valentin Zellweger

October 30, 2015 • 1:00 – 2:30 pm EDT

New technologies have altered the way nations conduct armed conflict. Advanced cyber techniques and autonomous weapons systems are two salient examples, and nations can wield these tools to great effect. As these technologies proliferate, international bodies need to consider how existing legal frameworks keep pace with on-the-ground realities. 

Join Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, Director General for International Law and Legal Advisor at the Swiss Foreign Ministry and a group of leading experts for a discussion on how the challenges posed by modern technology can be addressed within the existing laws of armed conflict (LOAC) framework. Ambassador Zellweger will particularly draw from past experiences, such as the regulation of private military and security companies in the Montreux process, in order to illustrate ways to address new challenges in LOAC.

Light refreshments will be served at 10:30 AM following the panel.



Ambassador Valentin Zellweger
Director General for International Law and Legal Advisor
Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Ambassador Valentin Zellweger is head of the Directorate of Public International Law and Legal Advisor of the Swiss Foreign Ministry. He started his professional career as a research assistant in international law at the University of Basel where he also submitted his doctoral thesis. He joined the Swiss Foreign Ministry in 1991. Mr. Zellweger has served as a diplomat in Kenya and as a legal adviser to the Swiss Mission to the United Nations in New York. He was representative of Switzerland in different treaty negotiations and a member of the Swiss delegation to the Rome Conference on the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Between 2003 and 2007, he served as Chef de Cabinet of the first President of the ICC in The Hague during the setting up phase of the newly established Court.


Colonel Gary Brown
Professor of Cyber Security
Marine Corps University

Gary Brown is Professor of Cyber Security at Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia.  Previously he served as Head of Communications and Congressional Affairs for the Washington Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); he was with the ICRC from 2012-2015.  Prior to joining the ICRC, he served 24 years as a judge advocate with the United States Air Force.  Colonel Brown’s Air Force career included two deployments to the Middle East, one of which was a year at the Combined Air Operations Center, Southwest Asia as the senior lawyer advising on combat air operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In his final military assignment he was the first senior legal counsel for U.S. Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Maryland, where he served for three years.


Catherine Lotrionte
Director of the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security
Georgetown University

Professor Catherine Lotrionte is the Director of the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security and Visiting Assistant Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Professor Lotrionte teaches courses on national security law, U.S. intelligence law, and international law. In 2002 she was appointed by General Brent Scowcroft to be Counsel to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the White House, a position she held until 2006. In 2002 she served as a legal counsel for the Joint Inquiry Committee of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Prior to that, Professor Lotrionte was Assistant General Counsel with the Office of General Counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency, where she provided legal advice relating to information warfare, foreign intelligence and counterintelligence activities, and international terrorism. Before working in the Office of General Counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency, Professor Lotrionte served in the U.S. Department of Justice.


David Simon
Sidley Austin, LLP

David Simon, a former Special Counsel to the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel from 2011–2015, has advised extensively on cutting edge economic sanctions and cybersecurity matters. David’s practice focuses on cybersecurity, privacy and national security matters involving U.S. courts, Congressional investigations, Executive Branch proceedings and international regulatory authorities. David counsels U.S. and foreign clients on national security and international legal issues, including U.S. and multilateral economic sanctions and asset controls and transactions reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). David also serves, at the invitation of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia, as a peer reviewer of the second edition of the “Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare.”


James Andrew Lewis
Senior Vice President; Pritzker Chair; and Director, Strategic Technologies Program