News | March 30, 2011

Information Operations and Intelligence Law – Code 18

By Cmdr. Andrew Levitz Information Operations and Intelligence Law – Code 18

OJAG’s Code 18 was established in October 2009 in response to the critical need for a JAG community of experts in information operations, intelligence law, and cyber law and policy. Its establishment complimented the Navy’s unveiling of the Information Dominance Corps, OPNAV N2/N6, and the stand up of Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet. In support of the CNO’s conviction that the Navy will be at the forefront of managing information flows across the cyberspace warfighting domain in the next conflict, Code 18 establishes OJAG as a crucial player in this effort.

Code 18 is presently staffed with an O-6 and O-5, with an O-4. Code 18 is augmented with a cadre of uniquely qualified reserve officers, many of whom work in the information operations, intelligence law, and/or cyber law areas in their civilian capacities. Code 18 maintains close contact with relevant subject matter experts at CIA, DHS, DIA, DNI, DOE, DOJ, and NSA, and works closely with Navy Cyber Command/10th Fleet, OPNAV N2/N6, and OPNAV N3/N5, as well as with General Counsel attorneys from both DoD and DoN who are working information operations and cyber issues. Code 18 is located at the Pentagon, but officers participate in legal and policy symposia throughout the U.S. to discuss related legal and policy issues with experts from the USIC, academia, and private industry.

Though the Code has many responsibilities in keeping with the developing area of law, Code 18 is primarily responsible for providing the Judge Advocate General, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and subordinate commands and staffs on all aspects of information operations and intelligence law. As such, Code 18 staff must be familiar with the numerous intelligence law regulations and policies that govern the collection of information in such areas as Signals Intelligence and Human Intelligence, among others. The operational and legal issues surrounding these disciplines are fast-developing and dynamic. In the area of information operations, the traditional pillars include electronic warfare, military deception, and psychological operations, recently renamed “Military Information Support Operations”. Once a pillar of information operations, cyber law has gained both national and international prominence, with the increasing imperative for the U.S. to protect its networks from intrusion and attack.

The Director of Code 18 also serves as the community manager for all judge advocates who are practicing in this area, and helps identify training opportunities and experience thresholds to assist with detailing decisions. In this capacity, Code 18 has been instrumental in driving the development of the Law of Cyberspace course, being offered this fall by the George Washington University School of Law.

Due to the frenetic pace at which policy and law are developing in these practice areas, particularly in cyber law, it is difficult to define a typical work day in Code 18. Often the workday includes participating in working groups, often at the Top Secret level, to define terms and policy to advance the law; reviewing proposed legislation and updates to instructions; and responding to operational questions from the Fleet. Code 18 is a member of the Deputy Secretary of the Navy’s working group that is reviewing all intelligence directives and instructions, represents the JAG at meetings of the Special Access Program Oversight Group, and works closely with the Secretarial office overseeing Navy Special Programs.

Learn more about the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy and its codes