Washington, DC –
JAG community member Lt. Cmdr. Alex Homme was awarded the Judge Allan Nathanial Kornblum Award upon his July graduation from National Intelligence University (NIU) master’s degree program. Homme is an active-duty judge advocate, who currently serves as Deputy Special Assistant for Legal Matters at the Office of the Naval Inspector General in Washington, D.C.
The Judge Allan Nathanial Kornblum Award is presented to a student who exemplifies the eponymous judge’s commitment to national security, civil liberties, and outstanding scholarship, and who also submits an outstanding thesis on national security law or ethics. Homme’s thesis is entitled, “Misrecognizing Opportunity: An Examination of the Law Regarding Facial Recognition Technology and Its Potential Domestic Use for Foreign Intelligence Purposes by the U.S. Intelligence Community.”
“Winning the award was a very unexpected honor, but I’m proud that my thesis advisor thought my work warranted submission for the award,” said Homme. “It was nice to bring home an award for the Navy too – my graduating class was approximately 80 people, and there were only a handful of Navy members, so I was glad to represent.”
Approximately two years ago – while he was stationed at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Md. – Homme enrolled in NIU on part-time basis. NIU is the only accredited classified program in the country.
Following his coursework, to successfully earn his master’s of science degree in Strategic Intelligence, Homme submitted a thesis, which closely examines the intelligence community’s use of facial recognition technology (FRT). His work included a thorough analysis of relevant legislative actions and judicial case law, as well as predictions of what future U.S. FRT regulation will encompass, and how it will be received by courts.
“In one class, FRT came up, and the instructor noted that he didn’t know of any laws on the topic,” said Homme. “It got me interested in the area, especially with the unsettled privacy issues the intelligence community may face in the wake of recent litigation.”
In the announcement about the award, NIU applauded Homme’s thesis, calling it “exceptional” and “nuanced.”
“Homme’s thesis reflects a work that is exceptional both in the breadth of the sources consulted and in depth of analysis,” the announcement read. “It is a very nuanced discussion of the various uses of facial recognition technology and indications of emerging attitudes toward them that the intelligence community should take into account in considering its use for foreign intelligence in the domestic context. The combination of meticulous research and broad conceptual sophistication was found to be very impressive.”
Homme graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul in 2002. He attended the University of Minnesota Law School, from which he graduated, magna cum laude, in 2009. During law school he clerked with the Hennepin County Public Defender's Office. He commissioned into the JAG Corps via the student program.
His previous tours include working as defense counsel and in legal assistance at Naval Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic; completing an individual augmentee deployment to Joint Task Force Guantanamo; serving as a staff judge advocate to Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Tex., and Naval Air Station Kingsville, Tex.; working in Rota, Spain as a Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC) and later as the officer-in-charge for the VLC program in that region; and serving with the Office of the General Counsel at NSA.
Homme noted that the NIU master’s degree program is open to people with top-secret and sensitive compartmented information clearances, and can even include students in remote locations. He also offered to share his unclassified thesis with interested JAG community members on an individual basis.
Homme credits his wife Liz’s support for his successful completion of his master’s degree, saying that while his workload was, indeed, heavy at times – it was well worth it.