David T. Lee, J.D.

Military Professor Stockton Center for International Law
Cmdr., U.S. Navy
David T Lee profile image


Cmdr. Lee joined the faculty at the U.S. Naval War College in 2019. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government, a Master of Arts in national security and strategic studies and a Juris Doctor. He was originally commissioned as a surface warfare officer through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1988. His assigned duty stations have included Norfolk, San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Port Hueneme and Naples, Italy. He has deployed to Somalia, the Arabian Gulf, Spain, Guam and Iraq. His most recent assignment was as chief, operational law, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet.

Areas of Expertise

  • International Law
  • Piracy
  • Rules of Engagement

Professional Highlights


Chief, Operational Law, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa, U.S. SIXTH Fleet

Lead operational law attorney for flag leadership and staff of Navy component command and numbered fleet command in European Command and Africa Command areas of responsibility. Provided legal advice on rules of engagement, maritime operational law, and international law.

International Law Attorney, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia

Sole international law attorney for Navy regional commander and staff overseeing Navy installations in Europe, Africa, and southwest Asia. Provided international law advice on shore-based issues, engaged with host nation counterparts in negotiating new agreements and implementing existing ones.

Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Naval War College

Sole legal counsel to President, U.S. Naval War College and staff. Provided legal guidance involving ethics, civilian personnel, Privacy Act, academic freedom, military justice, and other issues.

Civil Law Department Head, Naval Justice School

Oversaw training of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard judge advocates, and Navy line officers relating to civil law matters, including administrative separations, ethics, investigations, and Privacy Act.

Legal Assistance Department Head, Naval Legal Service Office Southwest

Oversaw provision of legal assistance to eligible military and other personnel in Navy Region Southwest.

Staff Judge Advocate, Amphibious Group THREE/Expeditionary Strike Group FIVE

Sole legal counsel for commander of amphibious forces in U.S. Third Fleet, and deployed operational strike group commander. Provided legal advice on operational law, ethics, military justice, investigations, and rules of engagement.

Staff Judge Advocate, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek

Sole legal counsel for Navy base commanding officer, providing advice on ethics, military justice, investigations, environmental law, and fiscal law.

Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Navy Region Middle-Atlantic

Legal counsel for Navy regional commander overseeing all Navy bases in Virginia, providing advice on ethics, military justice, investigations, environmental law, and fiscal law.

Defense Counsel, Naval Legal Service Office Middle-Atlantic

Represented over 150 service members at court-martial or administrative separation proceedings.

Surface Warfare Officer, USS CORONADO (AGF 11)

Served as First Division Officer, and then Administrative Officer during initial Navy tour as surface warfare officer.


M.A., U.S. Naval War College, 2014

J.D., University of Notre Dame, 1997

B.A., University of Notre Dame, 1988

Awards and Decorations

Meritorious Service Medal
Four Awards

Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Five Awards

Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal

National Defense Service Medal, with Bronze Star

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Iraq Campaign Medal, with Bronze Star

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

Navy Expert Pistol Award

Joint Meritorious Unit Award

Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation

Battle Efficiency Award

Armed Forces Expeditionary Ribbon

Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, with Two Bronze Stars

Navy Overseas Service Ribbon, with Four Bronze Stars

Navy Rifle Sharpshooter Ribbon

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