Faculty & Staff



Lecturer in Law


LLM, Georgetown University Law Center, 2023
JD, Wake Forest University, 2023
AB, Duke University, 2023


Commander Jonathan Odom is a judge advocate (i.e., licensed attorney) on active duty in the U.S. Navy.  Currently, Odom serves as a Military Professor of Law at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, which is located in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Having served on active duty for over twenty-two years, he has provided legal advice on matters of international law and national security law to military commanders (both U.S. and multinational), headquarters staffs, and forces for military operations around the world, including at sea, in the air, and on land.

Odom’s headquarters assignments have included: Oceans Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Defense (Pentagon); Deputy Legal Advisor, Headquarters, U.S. Pacific Command (Hawaii); Department Head and Attorney-Advisor, Administrative Law Division, Office of the Navy Judge Advocate General (Pentagon); Assistant Special Counsel to the Chief of Naval Operations (Pentagon); Attorney-Advisor, International and Operational Law Division, Office of the Navy Judge Advocate General (Pentagon); Deputy Legal Advisor and Speechwriter to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy, and Operations (Pentagon).

His operational deployments have included: Chief of International Law to Commander, Joint Support Force – Japan, deploying to Yokota Air Base, Japan, in direct support of Operation TOMODACHI, for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster; Chief of International Law to Commander, Multi National Force – West / II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), deploying to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, as part of the 2007 troop surge, in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; Assistant Legal Advisor to Commander, Kosovo Force, NATO, deploying to Pristina, Kosovo, in direct support of Operation JOINT GUARDIAN; Legal Advisor to Commander, Amphibious Squadron ELEVEN, embarked aboard USS BELLEAUWOOD (LHA-3) and deploying to the Western Pacific in support of Exercise COBRA GOLD (Thailand) and other theater engagement events; and Assistant Legal Advisor to Commander, Carrier Strike Group FIVE, embarked aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) and deploying to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH (Iraq).

Previously, Odom served as the International and Operational Law Division Head and Instructor at the U.S. Naval Justice School, Newport, Rhode Island, where he taught international law and national security law to judge advocates of all five U.S. military services, as well as Navy officers at the U.S. Naval War College, the U.S. Surface Warfare Officer School, the U.S. Naval Submarine Officer School, and the U.S. Naval Chaplains School. 

Odom is a Fleet Marine Force Qualified Officer. His personal awards include: the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards). In 2015, he received the Judge Advocate Association’s Career Armed Services Attorney Award for a “record of outstanding professional accomplishments, service to community, service to the legal profession, and development of subordinates.”  He is a member in good standing with the State Bar of North Carolina. 


Edited Volume

  • NATIONALIZING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SAFETY:  ASIA-PACIFIC STATE PRACTICE OF IMPLEMENTING THE COLREGS AND CUES (Jonathan G. Odom and Collin Koh, eds., Asia-Pac. Ctr. for Sec. Stud. and S. Rajaratnam Sch. of Int’l Stud. 2017) 

Law Journal Articles

  • A Modern-Day Pentagon Paper in a Post-Pentagon Papers World: A Case Study of the Negotiations Between The Washington Post and the U.S. Government About the Publishing of the 2009 Afghanistan Assessment, 23 HARVARD NEGOT. L. REV. 101-48 (2018)
  • Guerrillas in the Sea Mist:  China’s Maritime Militia and International Law, 3 ASIA-PAC. J. OF OCEAN L. & POL’Y 31-94 (2018)
  • Navigating Between Treaties and Tweets: How to Ensure Discourse about Maritime Freedom Is Meaningful, 49 OCEAN DEV. & INT’L L. 1-51 (2018)
  • A Maritime Paradigm for Respecting International Law:  How the United States Preserves the Freedom of the Seas as both a Coastal State and User State, 1 ASIA-PAC. J. OF OCEAN L. & POL’Y 103-05 (2016)
  • A `Rules-Based Approach’ to Airspace Defense:  A U.S. Perspective on the International Law of the Sea and Airspace, Air Defense Measures, and the Freedom of Navigation, 47 BELG. REV. OF INT’L L. 65-93 (2014)
  • What Does A `Pivot’ or `Rebalance’ Look Like? Elements of the U.S. Strategic Turn Towards Security in the Asia-Pacific Region and Its Waters, 14 ASIAN-PAC. L. & POL’Y J. 1-32 (2012)
  • A China in the Bull Shop: Comparing the Rhetoric of a Rising China with the Reality of International Law of the Sea, 17 OCEAN & COASTAL L. J. 201-51 (2012)
  • The True `Lies’ of the Impeccable Incident:  What Really Happened, Who Disregarded International Law, and Why Every Nation (Outside of China) Should Be Concerned, 18 MICH. ST. J. OF INT’L L. 411-52 (2010)
  • Beyond Arm Bands and Arms Banned:  Chaplains, Armed Conflict, and the Law, 49 NAV. L. REV. 1-67 (2002)

Book Chapters

  • The United States Nexus for Maritime Security, in EXPLORING THE NAVY-COAST GUARD NEXUS (Collin Koh and Ian Bowers, eds., Palgrave MacMillan Publishing)(forthcoming 2018)
  • Maritime Claims in the South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation Operations, in BUILDING A NORMATIVE ORDER IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA (Tran Truong Thuy, et al. eds., Edward Elgar Publishing)(forthcoming 2018)
  • When Gray Zone Meets Black Letter:  China’s Paranaval Strategy and International Law, in CHINA’S MARITIME GRAY ZONE OPERATIONS (Andrew Erickson and Ryan Martinson, eds., U.S. Naval Inst. Press)(forthcoming 2018) 
  • Freedom of the `Far Seas’?  A Maritime Dilemma for China, in BEYOND THE WALL: CHINESE FAR SEAS OPERATIONS 73-89 (Peter Dutton and Ryan Martinson, eds., Naval War C. Press 2015) 
  • Committed to the Law of the Sea In Most Ways, Except for One: How the United States Helps to Preserve the International Maritime Order in East Asia, Even Though It Has Not Yet Joined the Law of the Sea Convention in THE ASIAN CENTURY — WHAT INTERNATIONAL NORMS AND PRACTICES? 33-39 (Francois Nicolas, Celine Pajon & John Seaman, eds., French Inst. of Int’l Rel. 2014)
  • How a ‘Rules-Based Approach’ Could Improve the South China Sea Situation, in PERSPECTIVES ON THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: DIPLOMATIC, LEGAL, AND SECURITY DIMENSIONS OF THE DISPUTE 115-126 (Murray Hiebert, et al. eds., Ctr. for Strat. & Int’l Stud. 2014)
  • The `Case’ of USNS Impeccable Versus Five Chinese Vessels: A Close Examination of the Facts, the Evidence, and the Law, in GOVERNING OCEAN RESOURCES:  NEW CHALLENGES AND EMERGING REGIMES 307-341 (Jon Van Dyke, et al. eds.)(Martinus Nijhoff Pub. 2013)


  • China’s Maritime Militia Threat, THE STRAITS TIMES (Sing.), June 16, 2018
  • US Navy Collisions: What’s Next?, THE STRAITS TIMES (Sing.), Aug. 25, 2017
  • Merely Avoiding Conflict in the South China Sea Is Not Good Enough, THE DIPLOMAT, June 24, 2017
  • How Trump Can Make America Navigate Again, THE NATIONAL INTEREST, Jan. 16, 2017 
  • Testing the Chinese “Myth” about Freedom of Navigation, THE DIPLOMAT, Mar. 18, 2016 
  • South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation – Taking a Closer Look at the FON Myth, THE DIPLOMAT, Mar. 9, 2016 
  • FONOPs to Preserve the Right of Innocent Passage?, THE DIPLOMAT, Feb. 25, 2016
  • Why U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea Make Sense, THE DIPLOMAT, Oct. 31, 2015 
  • How the U.S. Freedom of Navigation Program Is Lawful and Legitimate, ASIA MARITIME TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE, Oct. 30, 2015
  • How China Shot Down Its Own [Anti-Access/Area-Denial] Lawfare Strategy, THE NATIONAL INTEREST, Oct. 8, 2015 

Other Publications

  • A Master Key for China and India to Help Unlock the Freedom of the Seas Globally (Adelaide Law School, University of Adelaide, Australia, Occasional Paper, 2016)
  • Operation Tomodachi:  Doing Our Utmost To Help A Friend In Need –Navy Lawyers Support U.S. Relief Operations In Response To The Earthquake, Tsunami In Japan, 5 NAVY JAG MAGAZINE 6 (2011)
  • Leveraging Federal Law to Support Decision Making in Homeland Defense Operations, 39 BULL. OF MIL. OPERATIONS RES. 27 (2006)
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TR 9:15-9:45amClassroom 4