• William C. Banks
  • Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor
  • Professor of Law
  • Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
  • Director, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism
  • Education
    • University of Nebraska
      B.A. 1971
    • University of Denver, College of Law
      J.D. 1974
    • University of Denver
      M.S. 1982
William C.  Banks

Founding Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT), Professor William C. Banks is an internationally recognized authority in national security, counterterrorism, international humanitarian, and constitutional law. By co-authoring the textbooks National Security Law (Aspen, 2012) and Counterterrorism Law (Aspen, 2011), he has helped set the parameters for these fields of study, and he is the author and/or editor of numerous other books, including Counterinsurgency Law: New Directions in Asymmetric Warfare (Oxford UP, 2012) and New Battlefields/Old Laws: Critical Debates on Asymmetric Warfare (Columbia UP, 2011)

Dean Banks is most recently the co-author (with Stephen Dycus) of Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2016).

The subjects of his many book chapters and articles range from the military use of unmanned aerial vehicles, to terrorism in South America, to the role of the military in domestic affairs. Recent writing includes “Regulating Cyber Conflict;” “Regulating Drones: Military Law and CIA Practice and the Shifting Challenges of New Technologies;” “Exceptional Courts in Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA);” and “Programmatic Surveillance and FISA: Of Needles in Haystacks.”

In addition to teaching national security law and counterterrorism law at SU, he lectures around the globe on various national security and constitutional law-related topics and on comparative legal systems. His current research interests include cybersecurity/cyberespionage, the military use of drones, domestic and international terrorism, emergency and war powers, and emergency preparedness and response.

In 2015, Banks was named Interim Dean of Syracuse University College of Law, where he has been a member of the faculty for more than 35 years.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska (B.A. 1971) and the University of Denver (J.D. 1974; M.S. 1982), Banks joined the faculty of the SU College of Law in 1978. In 1998, he was appointed a Professor of Public Administration in SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and he was named a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in the same year. He founded INSCT in 2003, and he became the first College of Law Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor at Syracuse University in 2008.

Among his public service appointments, Banks has served as a Special Counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee (for the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Stephen G. Breyer); on the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security; as a member of the InfraGard National Members Alliance Board of Advisors; on the Advisory Council for the Perpetual Peace Project; on the Executive Board of the International Counter-Terrorism Academic Community (ICTAC); and as a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. Banks also is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of National Security Law & Policy.