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Penn Law students participate in national security law simulation

March 08, 2018

The Penn Law National Security Club, under the direction of Prof. Mark Nevitt (Faculty Advisor, Sharswood Fellow) and Jenny Reich (3L, President of the National Security Club), recently participated in the 2018 National Security Crisis Law simulation at Georgetown University Law Center from February 26 to March 3. The team traveled to Washington, D.C. and the Georgetown Law campus for the in-person portion of the simulation, which was held March 1 to March 3.

The annual simulation includes participants from law schools around the country as well as international law students and scholars from Australia, United Kingdom, and Canada. The simulation adopts a unique pedagogical approach to round out the students’ law school experience and to help them enter the field of national security law. The crisis simulation includes storyline “injects” that the team needs to analyze throughout the week and culminates with an intense in-person three-day simulation on the campus of Georgetown Law.

The five-member Penn Law team was assigned one of the key roles in the simulation as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Team members included Katherine Joseph, Vivek Kembaiyan L’20, Myles Lynch L’20, Justin Prelogar L’20, and Katharina Schwarz L’20.

 As part of the simulation, the Penn Law team routinely briefed the “President,” played by Professor Mary DeRosa. DeRosa previously served as the Legal Advisor to the National Security Council in the Obama Administration. Schwarz, playing the role of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), prepared a daily Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) and personally briefed DeRosa on key intelligence matters throughout the simulation while attending mock National Security Council (NSC) meetings. The Penn Law team also received valuable media training in crisis communications and participated in on-camera interviews with a simulated media team.

The Penn Law team was assigned a formal mentor, James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and retired Air Force lieutenant general. Clapper provided valuable mentorship and instruction both before the simulation and while the simulation took place. One of the highlights of the simulation was engaging with Clapper and learning from his experience and hearing his personal perspective on the DNI’s role within national security governance, the importance of the DNI legal advisor, and the balancing act required when weighing national security and privacy interests.