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174 Rubenstein Hall
Durham, NC 27708
Box 90243
Durham, NC 27708-0243


(919) 613-9252



Thomas W. Taylor
Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Areas of Expertise


J.D., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (1969)
B.A., Guilford College (1966)


Thomas W. Taylor is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. He retired in June 2006 as the senior career civilian attorney in the Department of the Army, where he served as the senior leader of the Army legal community during extended transition periods between successive political appointees. He has provided legal and policy advice to seven Secretaries and seven Chiefs of Staff during his past twenty seven years in the Pentagon on a wide variety of operational, personnel, and other issues, including military support to civil authorities following the attacks on September 11, 2001, and during domestic disaster relief operations. His primary areas of interest include national and homeland security; civil-military relations; leadership; and constitutional and intelligence law.

He began his career as an Army officer trying criminal cases in Alaska and Germany, before serving as an Associate Professor in the Law Department of the United States Military Academy at West Point. As a Reserve Colonel during annual training, he acted as the Academic Dean at the Army’s law school, which provides training and continuing legal education for military and Government lawyers, and confers the LL.M. degree. He has lectured at law schools and professional conferences on national security law topics throughout his career and published notes and articles in law reviews.

He received his BA from Guilford College and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Fellow and a member of the Order of the Coif and North Carolina Law Review. Upon his retirement, he received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Department of Defense Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, and the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. He has received four Presidential Rank Awards from the last three Presidents, as well as numerous military decorations, including the Legion of Merit.

Representative Publications

Leadership in High Profile Cases Military Law Review (07/2010)
Plain English for Army Lawyers Military Law Review (01/1987)
Enforceability of Marital Contracts N.C. Law Review (01/1969)
Meeting of the Minds and UCC Sec. 2.204 N.C. Law Review (01/1969)

Selected Grants