Ocean View, Tom Leary JD/MSEL'95

​​​​​​​​​VLS alum Tom Leary JD/MSEL'95, Deputy Legal Counsel to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman at the Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia, dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.​​​​​

As a commander in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Tom Leary is involved with the role the Department of Defense and military services have in the country’s strategic rebalance in the Pacific region. He reviews and assesses the legal authorities for U.S. military ships and aircraft to operate worldwide, including in the often legally challenging areas of the East and South China seas. “In the Secretary of Defense’s words, our forces intend to fly, sail and operate ‘wherever international law allows,’’’ Leary says. “My work supports the determinations of where that is, helping the U.S. military underwrite the international legal principles of freedom of navigation and overflight.”​​

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Learn more about Vermont Law School's JD program and the Water and Justice Program. Discover how you can get involved with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School and advocate for water rights.


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