Official biography
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Jonathan G. Odom, J.D., LL.M.

Commander, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy Military Professor of International Law
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Cmdr. Jonathan G. Odom is a judge advocate (i.e., licensed attorney) in the U.S. Navy. Currently, he serves as a Military Professor of International Law in the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, where his principal areas of research and teaching are public international law, maritime security, and international territorial-maritime disputes.

During his Naval career, Odom has provided legal and policy advice on matters involving international law and national security law to U.S. and multi-national military commanders, headquarter staffs, and forces around the world for military operations at sea, in the air, and on land. Additionally, he has served as a legal and policy advisor on U.S. delegations in negotiations and official dialogues between the U.S. Government and foreign governments of more than twenty nations around the world for matters involving international security.

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

His operational deployments have included: Chief of Operational Law to Commander, U.S. 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 Operational 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, NATO Kosovo Force, deploying to Pristina, Kosovo, in direct support of Operation JOINT GUARDIAN; Legal Advisor to Commander, U.S. 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, U.S. Carrier Strike Group FIVE, embarked aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) and deploying to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH (Iraq).

Immediately prior to his current duty assignment at the Marshall Center, Odom served for four years as a Military Professor of Law and Maritime Security at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (Hawaii). Early in his Naval career, he also served as an Instructor of Law and Division Head of the International and Operational Law Division of the U.S. Naval Justice School (Rhode Island), where he taught military attorneys from all five branches of the U.S. armed forces, as well as Naval officers at the U.S. Naval War College, the U.S. Naval Submarine Officers School, and the U.S. Naval Chaplains School.

In his personal capacity, Odom has published law journal articles, book chapters, and opinion-editorials on various aspects of the law of the sea, the law of airspace, the law of armed conflict, national security law, national security strategy, oceans policy, maritime security, homeland defense, and negotiations. He has taught as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hawaii’s School of Law, and guest lectured at more than a dozen universities and colleges in the United States and Asia. He has also presented at more than 50 academic conferences in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Odom holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with Distinction from Duke University, a Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University, and a Master of Law with Distinction from Georgetown University.

Odom is a Fleet Marine Force Qualified Officer. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (three 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, Odom received the Judge Advocate Association’s Career Armed Services Attorney-of-the-Year Award for a “record of outstanding professional accomplishments, service to community, service to the legal profession, and development of subordinates.”