David Koplow

Member, Non-Partisan Security Group

David Koplow specializes in the areas of public international law and national security law at Georgetown Law faculty, which he joined in 1981.  His principal courses have been International Law I (the introductory survey of public international law topics), a seminar in the area of arms control, non-proliferation and terrorism, and the pro-seminar for LLM students in national security law. 

In addition, Mr. Koplow has directed a clinic, the Center for Applied Legal Studies, in which students provide pro bono representation to refugees seeking asylum in the United States because of persecution in their homelands. 

His government service has included stints as Special Counsel for Arms Control to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009-2011); as Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs at the Department of Defense (1997-1999); and as Attorney-Advisor and Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1978-1981). 

He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School and a Rhodes Scholar.  Most of his scholarly writings focus on the intersection between international law and U.S. constitutional law, especially in the areas of arms control and national security and treaty negotiation and implementation.


  • https://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/david-a-koplow/
    • Book: Death by Moderation: The U.S Military’s Quest for Useable Weapons (New York: Cambridge University Press 2010)
    • Book: Non-Lethal Weapons: The Law and Policy of Revolutionary Technologies for the Military and Law Enforcement (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006)
    • Book Chapter: “The Jurisprudence of Non-Proliferation: Taking International Law Seriously” in Arms Control Law (3-29) (Daniel H. Joyner ed, Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate 2012)
    • Book Chapter: “International Legal Standards and the Weaponization of Outer Space” in Security in Space: The Next Generation (United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Conference Report, March 31, 2008)
    • Book Chapter: “Green Chemistry: Dismantling Chemical Weapons While Protecting the Environment” in Arms Control and the Environment (143-157) (Lakshman D. Guruswamy & Suzette R. Grillot eds., Transnational Publishers, 2001)
    • Journal Contribution: Reviewing “The New Chemical Weapons Convention: Implementation and Prospects” (1998)
    • Journal Contribution: “Tangled up in Khaki and Blue: Lethal and Non-Lethal Weapons in Recent Confrontations” (36) (Georgetown Journal of International Law, 2005)
    • Journal Contribution: “ASAT-isfaction: Customary International Law and the Regulation of Anti-Satellite Weapons” (Michigan Journal of International Law, 2009)
    • Journal Contribution: “Train Wreck: The U.S Violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention” (Journal of National Security Law and Policy, 319-408, 2013)
    • Journal Contribution: “Indisputable Violations: What Happens When the United States Unambiguously Breaches a Treaty?” (Fletcher World Affairs, 53-74, 2013)
    • Journal Contribution: “What Would Zero Look Like?: A Treaty for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (Georgetown Journal of International Law, 683-781, 2014)
    • Journal Contribution: “A Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact: Proposing a Treaty for the Renunciation of Nuclear War as an Instrument of National Policy” (Syracuse Journal of International Law, 123-191, 2014)
    • Journal Contribution: “An Interference About Interference: A Surprising Application of Existing International Law to Inhibit Anti-Satellite Weapons” (University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, 737-827, 2014)
    • Journal Contribution: “Nuclear Arms Control by a Pen and a Phone: Effectuating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Without Ratification” (Georgetown Journal of International Law, 475-518, 2015)
    • Journal Contribution: “You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Alternatives to the UN Security Council for Enforcing Nuclear Disarmament and Human Rights” (Harvard Human Rights Journal, 135-201, 2016)
    • Journal Contribution: “Eve of Destruction: Implementing Arms Control Treaty Obligations to Dismantle Weaponry” (Harvard National Security Journal, 158-238, 2017)
    • Journal Contribution: “Sherlock Holmes Meets Rude Goldberg: Fixing the Entry-into-Force-Provisions of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty” (Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law, 1-57, 2017)
    • Journal Contribution: “The Fault is Not in Our Stars: Avoiding an Arms Race in Outer Space” (Harvard International Law Journal, 331-388, 2018)