Heather Brandon-Smith

Heather Brandon-Smith (@HBrandonSmith) is Legislative Director for Militarism and Human Rights at the Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL). She leads the organization’s work to repeal the 2001 authorization for war, promote respect for human rights and international law, and reduce U.S. armed interventions around the world.

Prior to joining FCNL, Heather served as the Advocacy Counsel for National Security at Human Rights First, where she worked to advance U.S. national security policies that are consistent with human rights and the rule of law.

She specializes in the domestic and international legal frameworks governing the use of force and has worked to reform key post-9/11 counterterrorism policies, including indefinite detention and military commissions at Guantanamo and U.S. war authorities, including the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Heather holds an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law School, where she graduated with distinction and was co-chair of Georgetown Law’s Human Rights Action – Amnesty International LL.M. committee. Heather taught at the University of New South Wales Law School and Macquarie University Law School (both in Sydney) and worked at the law firm Ashurst in Sydney. She has a B.A. in Politics and International Relations/LL.B. and an LL.M. from the University of New South Wales. She is also on LinkedIn.

Articles by this author:

Analyzing Previously Undisclosed Use of Force Reports: Challenges of Congressional Oversight of the War on Terror

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Sep 18th, 2023

Opaque Transparency on the Use of Force: Observations on the 2022 “1264” Report

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Mar 14th, 2023

Missed Opportunities and Minor Progress: The FY 2023 National Defense Bill and War Powers

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Dec 15th, 2022

The Biden Administration Should Begin its “War on Secrecy” by Releasing Key War Powers Reports


Aug 26th, 2022

Toward a New Approach to National and Human Security: End Endless War

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Sep 11th, 2020

Toward a New Approach to National and Human Security: End Unlawful, Secret, and Unaccountable Use of Lethal Force

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Sep 11th, 2020

New Legislation Offers Opportunity to Address 2001 Authorization for Use of Force, Amid Fears of War with Iran


May 21st, 2019

Senator Merkley’s Smart New Alternative AUMF Proposal


May 24th, 2018

Takeaways from this Week’s House AUMF Hearing—on Authorizing War Against ISIS

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Jul 27th, 2017

An ISIS AUMF: Where We Are Now, Where to Go Next, and Why It’s So Important to Get It Right


May 5th, 2017