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News Posted on June 3, 2019

In span of a week, Gary Solis '71 wins award, appears in New York Times, elsewhere

The Judge Advocates Association has honored Gary Solis ’71, a legal scholar and former judge advocate and military judge, with its 2019 Distinguished Life Service Award.

Established in 1943 by a core group of committed Army judge advocates, the JAA includes current, retired, and former active and reserve component judge advocates from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. According to the group’s website, the Distinguished Life Service Award honors “individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime of dedicated service to the principles of military and veterans’ law and justice and devotion to the mission and objectives of the Association and its members.” It is the highest award the group bestows.

Solis, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the law of armed conflict, received the award May 21 during a ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va. Three days earlier, the New York Times had quoted Solis in a story about President Trump’s reported plans to pardon some military members accused or convicted of war crimes.

“These are all extremely complicated cases that have gone through a careful system of consideration. A freewheeling pardon undermines that whole system,” Solis told the Times. Solis since has been quoted on the same topic in the Washington Post, Washingtonian magazine and other outlets.

Solis served for 26 years in the U.S. Marines, including two tours of duty in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. After earning his law degree at King Hall, he returned to the Marine Corps to serve as a judge advocate and military judge.

After retiring from the military, Solis earned an LL.M. degree from George Washington University Law School and a doctorate in the law of war from the London School of Economics. He began his teaching career at the London School of Economics before moving on to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he headed the law of war program for six years. He frequently has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and at George Washington University Law School, and has taught courses at numerous other leading law schools, including UC Davis School of Law. He is the author of The Law of Armed Conflict (Cambridge University Press).

In 2018, Solis received the King Hall Distinguished Alumnus Award.