Rosa Brooks

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Rosa Brooks
Brooks Rosa OSD.jpg
Born Rosa Ehrenreich
1970 (age 46–47)
New York City
Education A.B. Harvard, M.St. Oxford, J.D. Yale
Occupation Policy Advisor, Journalist, author, law professor
Notable credit(s) Law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center; Counselor to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; weekly columnist for Foreign Policy, Op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times; author of Can Might Make Rights?, among other works; fellow at the New America Foundation.
Spouse(s) Joseph Mouer
Peter Brooks (ex-husband)
Children 2

Rosa Brooks (born 1970) is an American law professor and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at Georgetown University Law Center, a columnist and contributing editor for Foreign Policy and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. From April 2009 to July 2011, she served as Counselor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy, and in May 2010 she also became[1] Special Coordinator for Rule of Law and Humanitarian Policy, running a new Pentagon office dedicated to those issues. Brooks wrote a weekly column for the Los Angeles Times from 2005 to 2009, and is an expert on national security, international law and human rights issues. At the Pentagon her portfolio included both rule of law and human rights issues and global engagement, strategic communication, and she received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for her work.


In 1991 Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, where she studied history and literature.[2] While an undergraduate at Harvard, Brooks served as president of the Phillips Brooks House Association, Harvard's undergraduate public service organization. At Oxford University (Christ Church) she was awarded a Master of Studies degree in social anthropology in 1993[2] and was a Marshall Scholar. In 1996 she completed her studies at Yale Law School, which conferred upon her the title of Juris Doctor.[2][3]

Legal career[edit]

Brooks' work history has included previous government service as a senior adviser to Assistant Secretary Harold Hongju Koh at the U.S. Department of State, five years as an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and a year as Special Counsel to the President at the Open Society Institute, George Soros' philanthropic foundation. She is the former director of Yale Law School's human rights program, and she has taught at both Yale and at Harvard. She has also been a consultant for Human Rights Watch, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard, a board member of Amnesty International USA, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law.

In 2004 she served as a foreign policy advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and she was a supporter of Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. She has been a board member of the Harper's Magazine Foundation, the Open Society Foundation's US Programs, the National Security Network and Amnesty International USA, a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Fragile States, and a member of the steering committee of the White Oak Foreign Policy Leaders Project.[4] She has traveled and worked around the world, including in Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Indonesia, China, Sierra Leone, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, and Russia.


Brooks' scholarly work has focused on national security, terrorism and rule of law issues, international law, human rights, law of war, and failed states. Along with Jane Stromseth and David Wippman, Brooks coauthored Can Might Make Rights? Building the Rule of Law After Military Interventions[5] (2006), a book which helped shape the United States Army's praxis of rule of law. Brooks is also the author of numerous scholarly articles published in law reviews.[6][7][8]

Political commentary[edit]

Rosa Brooks speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum 2013

As a popular and influential columnist in addition to a scholar, her byline has appeared in publications all over the world, ranging from Harper's Magazine to the Washington Post. From 2005 to 2009, she wrote a weekly op-ed column for the Los Angeles Times. Her writings focused on foreign policy, human rights, and national security issues, and occasionally spanned other topics, including economics and culture[9][10] and even a humorous take on parenting.[11] (Brooks has two young children). Brooks retired the column upon her appointment to the United States Department of Defense. After leaving the Defense Department, in 2012 Brooks began to write a weekly column for Foreign Policy.

Brooks currently contributes to Foreign Policy's weekly podcast, The E.R.[12] She has been a frequent guest and panelist on MSNBC and CNN, a commentator on,[13] and a blogger for Slate Magazine's XX Factor. She has also appeared several times on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor.[14] Brooks' most recent book, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, was a 2016 New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was selected by the Military Times as one of the ten best books of the year.

Personal life[edit]

Brooks is the daughter of best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) and author and psychologist John Ehrenreich. Brooks has two children, one with her ex-husband Peter Brooks and another with her current husband Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Mouer,[15] an Army Special Forces officer.


  • How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, Simon and Schuster, 2016, ISBN 9781476777863 [16][17]
  • Rosa Brooks, Jane Stromseth, David Wippman, Can Might Make Rights? Building the Rule of Law After Military Interventions, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 0521678013[18][19]
  • A Garden of Paper Flowers: An American at Oxford, Picador, 1994, ISBN 9780330327947 (under the name Rosa Ehrenreich; later articles are credited to Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks

Other notable publications[edit]

  • "Failed States, or the State as Failure?," 72 U. Chicago L. Rev. 1159 (2005)[20]
  • "War Everywhere: Rights, National Security Law, and the Law of Armed Conflict in the Age of Terror," 153 U. Pennsylvania L. Rev. 675 (2004).[8]
  • "The New Imperialism: Violence, Norms & Rule of Law," 101 Mich. L. Rev. 2275 (2003).[21]
  • "Law in the Heart of Darkness: Atrocity & Duress," 43 Virginia Journal of International Law 861 (2003).[22]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Profile Rosa Brooks — Georgetown Law
  3. ^ Rosa Brooks - About Rosa Brooks
  4. ^ "Prof. Rosa Brooks". The Federalist Society. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Rosa Brooks - We the People's Executive
  7. ^ Rosa Brooks - The Politics of the Geneva Conventions
  8. ^ a b Rosa Brooks - War Everywhere
  9. ^ Heroism and the language of fascism -
  10. ^ We're not all victims -
  11. ^ Resist the princesses - Los Angeles Times
  12. ^ "FP's The Editor's Roundtable (The E.R.)". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Rosa Brooks". Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  14. ^ News Hounds: Liberal Lady Lawyer Runs Rings Around Bill O'Reilly on Subject of GITMO Detainees
  15. ^ Helaine Olen (10 August 2012). "The Smaller, Cheaper, Just-for-Us Wedding". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  16. ^ Senior, Jennifer (2016-08-01). "Review: ‘How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything’". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-05. At its finest, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything” is a dynamic work of reportage, punctuated by savory details like this one. But Ms. Brooks has a larger ambition: She wants to explore exactly what happens to a society when the customary distinctions between war and peace melt away. 
  17. ^ How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, Simon & Schuster
  18. ^ "Can Might Make Rights? - Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 2016-08-05. 
  19. ^ "Can Might Make Rights? - Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 2016-08-05. 
  20. ^ Rosa Brooks - Failed States, or the States as Failures?
  21. ^ Rosa Brooks - The New Imperialism
  22. ^ Rosa Brooks - Law in the Heart of Darkness

External links[edit]