Commander Jonathan Odom joined the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in August 2015. As a judge advocate in the U.S. Navy, Commander Odom is a licensed attorney who has provided legal advice on matters of international and operational law to military commanders (both U.S. and multinational), headquarters staffs, and forces for military operations around the world, including at sea, in the air, and on land.
His headquarters assignments have included: Oceans Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Defense (Pentagon); Deputy Legal Advisor, Headquarters, U.S. Pacific Command (Hawaii); Department Head and Attorney-Advisor, Administrative Law Division, Office of the Navy Judge Advocate General (Pentagon); Assistant Special Counsel to the Chief of Naval Operations (Pentagon); Attorney-Advisor, International and Operational Law Division, Office of the Navy Judge Advocate General (Pentagon); Deputy Legal Advisor and Speechwriter to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy, and Operations (Pentagon).
His operational deployments have included: Chief of Operational Law to Commander, Joint Support Force – Japan, deploying to Yokota Air Base, Japan, in direct support of Operation TOMODACHI, for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster; Chief of Operational Law to Commander, Multi National Force – West / II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), deploying to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, as part of the 2007 troop surge, in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; Assistant Legal Advisor to Commander, Kosovo Force, NATO, deploying to Pristina, Kosovo, in direct support of Operation JOINT GUARDIAN; Legal Advisor to Commander, Amphibious Squadron ELEVEN, embarked aboard USS BELLEAUWOOD (LHA-3) and deploying to the Western Pacific in support of Exercise COBRA GOLD (Thailand) and other theater engagement events; and Assistant Legal Advisor to Commander, Carrier Strike Group FIVE, embarked aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) and deploying to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH (Iraq).
He served previously as the International and Operational Law Division Head and Instructor at the U.S. Naval Justice School, Newport, Rhode Island, where he taught judge advocates of all services, as well as Navy officers at the U.S. Naval War College, the U.S. Naval Submarine Officer School, and the U.S. Naval Chaplains School. Throughout his Navy career, he has spoken at international and U.S. academic forums, and has been published on matters related to the law of the sea, the law of airspace, the law of armed conflict, national security strategy, oceans policy, and homeland defense.
He is a Fleet Marine Force Qualified Officer. His personal awards include: the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards). He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with Distinction from Duke University with a major in History, a Juris Doctor degree from Wake Forest University, and a Master of Laws degree with Distinction from Georgetown University (earning the Chetwood Prize for the highest academic average). He received the Judge Advocate Association’s 2015 Career Armed Services Attorney Award for a “record of outstanding professional accomplishments, service to community, service to the legal profession, and development of subordinates.”
Commander Odom’s Publications:
- Odom article on China’s ‘Riskfare’ published by Proceedings
- DKI APCSS Professor Recommends how to Discuss Maritime Freedom Effectively
- Managing South China Sea Disputes Through Ways That Are Both Practical and Rules-Based
- Ensuring Freedom of the Seas for the next U.S. Administration – Cmdr. Jonathan G. Odom
- Commentary: South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation – Cmdr. Jonathan G. Odom
- OpEd: FONOPs to Preserve the Right of Innocent Passage? – Cmdr. Jonathan Odom
- New South China Sea Lighthouses: Legal Futility and Strategic Risk – Cmdr. Jonathan G. Odom
- DKI APCSS professor paper on airspace defense published by international law review