William C. Bradford

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William C. Bradford
Born c. 1964 (age 52–53)
Lansing, Michigan
Nationality American
Alma mater Northwestern University
Harvard University
University of Miami
Occupation Writer, academic

William C. Bradford (born c. 1964) is an American lawyer and scholar of political science. He attained significant media attention in 2015 for a scholarly article which argued that a small cadre of legal academics in U.S. universities was sapping the United States' "will to fight" in the Global War on Terrorism and called for treason charges for and imprisonment of such academics. Bradford was an associate professor of law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, before resigning in 2005 after a dispute over tenure and under suspicions of exaggerating his military service.[1][2][3][4][5][6] He was also briefly an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy before resigning in 2015 following the controversy stemming from the aforementioned article.[4][7]

Education and career[edit]

Bradford earned a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University with major fields in International Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Comparative Politics. His 1995 doctoral dissertation is entitled "United States foreign policy decision-making in Arab-Israeli crises: The association of United States presidential personality constructs with political and military crisis outcomes" (AAT 9537394). Bradford earned an LL.M. from Harvard University in International Law, Human Rights Law, and the Law of Armed Conflict. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law.

Following his resignation from Indiana University in 2005, Bradford was briefly a visiting faculty member at the William & Mary Law School.[8] He was also a lecturer at the United States Coast Guard Academy.[9] He subsequently claimed to be an associate professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in the National Defense University; however, according to an August 29, 2015 article in The Guardian, a representative of the National Defense University said Bradford was a contractor at the Defense Department-run institution, but "never an NDU employee nor an NDU professor".[4]

Bradford has authored several scholarly articles.[10]

Controversial article and resignation from West Point[edit]

In an article in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of the National Security Law Journal,[11] Bradford argued that "lawful targets" for the U.S. military in the fight against Islamic radicalism could include "Islamic holy sites", "law school facilities, scholars' home offices and media outlets where they give interviews."[4][12] In a statement to The Guardian, a spokesman for the United States Military Academy said that the article was written and accepted for publication before Bradford was employed at West Point, and that "The views in the article are solely those of Bradford and do not reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States army, [or] the United States Military Academy."[4] On August 24, 2015, the National Security Law Journal's editor-in-chief called the article's publication "a mistake".[13] The journal has posted a rebuttal by George Mason University (the journal's host institution) law professor Jeremy A. Rabkin.[14] Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the author of one of the papers discussed in Bradford's article told The Guardian: "It's very hard to take this seriously ... except insofar as he may actually be teaching nonsense like this to cadets at West Point."[4][12]

As a result of this article, and the scrutiny it generated concerning his credentials, Bradford resigned from his position as Assistant Professor at the U.S. Military Academy on August 30, 2015 after only a month at the institution.[15][16][17][18]


  1. ^ "Faculty/Staff Profile". Archived from the original on October 17, 2005. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ "School of Law—Indianapolis 2002-2004 Academic Bulletin". Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Faculty Publications". Archived from the original on November 3, 2005. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ackerman, Spencer (August 29, 2015). "West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  5. ^ Epstein, David (December 6, 2005). "Web of Lies". Inside Higher Ed. Archived from the original on December 8, 2005. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ Holladay, Ruth (December 4, 2005). "Truth comes out about professor's background". The Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on April 23, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  7. ^ Ford, Matt (August 31, 2015). "The West Point Professor Who Contemplated a Coup". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  8. ^ "New Faculty & Visiting Faculty". Archived from the original on September 20, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ "UNITED STATES COAST GUARD ACADEMY". Cga.edu. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  10. ^ "SSRN Author Page for Bradford, William C". Papers.ssrn.com. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  11. ^ Bradford, William C. (2015). "Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column" (PDF). National Security Law Journal. 3 (2). Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Huckabee, Charles (August 31, 2015). "Academics Who Criticize War on Terror Are ‘Lawful Targets,’ West Point Professor Says". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on August 31, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  13. ^ Maas, Lynzi (2015-08-24). "A Message to Our Readers: | National Security Law Journal". Nslj.org. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  14. ^ Jermey Rabkin. "A Betrayal of Rational argument" (PDF). Nslj.org. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  15. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (August 31, 2015). "West Point law professor who called for attacks on 'Islamic holy sites' resigns". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  16. ^ Patrice, Joe (August 31, 2015). "Law Journal Apologizes For Article About Executing Law Professors, Professor Resigns". Above the Law. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  17. ^ Buckley, Madeline (September 1, 2015). "Former IU law professor who inflated resume resigns from West Point". The Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015. 
  18. ^ Miller, Michael E. (September 1, 2015). "West Point law professor resigns after advocating attacks on colleagues ‘sympathetic to Islamist aims’". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2015.