Michael N. Schmitt

Michael N. Schmitt

Professor and Director of the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law, United States Naval War College

Michael N. Schmitt is Charles H. Stockton Professor and Director of the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law, United States Naval War College; Professor of Public International Law at Exeter University; and Senior Fellow at the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.


  • International law and the military use of unmanned maritime systems

    Unmanned maritime systems (UMSs) comprise an important subcategory of unmanned military devices. While much of the normative debate concerning the use of unmanned aerial and land-based devices applies equally to those employed on or under water, UMS present unique challenges in understanding the application of existing law. This article summarizes the technological state of the art before considering, in turn, the legal status of UMSs, particularly under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the regulation of their use under the law of naval warfare. It is not yet clear if UMSs enjoy status as ships under UNCLOS; even if they do, it is unlikely that they can be classified as warships. Nevertheless, their lawful use is not necessarily precluded in either peacetime or armed conflict.

  • Rewired warfare: rethinking the law of cyber attack

    Michael N. Schmitt / The most significant debate regarding the applicability of international humanitarian law to cyber operations involves interpretation of the rules governing cyber “attacks”, as that term is understood in the law.

  • Precision attack and international humanitarian law

    Precision operations have opened up new possibilities for avoiding the harm to civilians and their property that is the inevitable result of armed conflict. Further, as weaponry becomes more precise, interpretation of IHL is becoming increasingly demanding for an attacker.

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