This seminar explores how law defines and shapes America’s complex relationship with its largest, most lethal, and perhaps most misunderstood institution: The Armed Forces of the United States. The seminar also focuses intensely on the essential skills of written and oral communication. The seminar will address the legal and policy issues arising from the military’s organization, composition, and wide variety of missions; the merits of an all-volunteer force; the military’s response to changing norms regarding race, sexuality, and gender, including the challenge of sexual assault; the concept of civilian control of the military and its relationship to military effectiveness; the role of lawyers in the military; and the unique nature of military society as reflected in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The seminar also gives students the opportunity to write on a topic related to the military specifically or national security more generally. Students will present research papers on topics relevant to the seminar and, circumstances permitting, will have the opportunity to witness actual military justice proceedings.This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.