Professor Baker is a former Legal Adviser to the President's National Security Council, and a former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, among many other roles in and out of government.
The Hon. James E. Baker is a professor at the Syracuse University College of Law with a courtesy appointment in the Maxwell School. Also serving as Director of the Institute for Security Policy and Law, Judge Baker teaches classes on national security law, emerging technologies and national security, ethics, leadership, intelligence, and the laws of war.
Starting his career as an Infantry Officer in the US Marine Corps, Judge Baker subsequently joined the staff of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan before serving the US Department of State, Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and National Security Council. Mostly notably, he served on the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for 15 years—the last four as Chief Judge—before stepping down in 2015. The Court hears appeals arising under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and its decisions are subject to review by the US Supreme Court. Judge Baker authored more than 250 opinions for the Court, addressing criminal law and procedure, rules of evidence, jurisdiction, and the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution.
Since 2015, when he was appointed by President Barack Obama, Judge Baker has served as a Member of the Public Interest Declassification Board, established by Congress in 2000 to promote transparency in national security activities.