William K. Lietzau was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Policy on February 16, 2010. The Department’s Rule of Law and Humanitarian Policy office has since consolidated under his leadership as well. In this capacity, he is responsible for developing and coordinating global policy guidance regarding Rule of Law initiatives and the detention of captured enemy forces.
Mr. Lietzau is a retired Marine Corps officer who served primarily as a judge advocate. His most recent assignment was at the White House as Deputy Legal Adviser to the National Security Council where he addressed a variety of legal issues dealing with subjects such as international criminal law, counter-narcotics, interdictions, piracy, counterterrorism, weapons of mass destruction, non-proliferation, missile defense, foreign assistance, and treaty implementation. Mr. Lietzau was initially trained as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. His first assignment was with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment in Kaneohe, Hawaii where he served as a Rifle Platoon Commander, Executive Officer, and Company Commander. As a judge advocate in the Marine Corps, he was stationed in Japan, Germany, and numerous locations within the United States. His criminal law experience includes service as a Prosecutor, Defense Counsel, Military Judge, and Deputy Chief Judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary. He also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and headed the Navy and Marine Corps’ Appellate Government practice. As a legal adviser, he served as Staff Judge Advocate to United States European Command, Chief of the Law of War Branch for the Department of the Navy’s International Law Division, Deputy Legal Adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Special Adviser to the General Counsel in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As a Lieutenant Colonel, he commanded 1st Recruit Training Battalion in San Diego, and as a Colonel, he commanded the Marine Corps installation at Henderson Hall. Mr. Lietzau also has served on several United States delegations in multilateral treaty negotiations including those adopting the Terrorist Bombing Convention, the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines, the Second Protocol to the Hague Cultural Property Convention and the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. He led the United States negotiating team responsible for defining war crimes for the International Criminal Court. He has also taught international law as an adjunct professor in Georgetown University Law Center’s Master of Laws program and published several articles on international, criminal and constitutional law subjects.
Mr. Lietzau earned his B.S. in Political Science from the United States Naval Academy and his J.D. from Yale University. He also holds an LL.M. from the Judge Advocate General’s School, U.S. Army and an M.S. in National Security Law from the National War College. He is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Connecticut.