Skip to main content

About James Houck

Dean Houck focuses his research and teaching on international law and national security law, with a particular emphasis on the law of the sea and law of armed conflict. He joined Penn State after retiring as the 41st Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy in 2012. As Judge Advocate General, Admiral Houck was the principal military legal counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations and led the 2,300 attorneys, enlisted legal staff, and civilian employees of the worldwide Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He also served as the Department of Defense Representative for Ocean Policy Affairs and oversaw the Department of the Navy's military justice system.

Among his assignments as a Navy lawyer, Dean Houck served as deputy legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as principal legal counsel to the Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain. Admiral Houck served in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs and has also been a Navy prosecutor and defense attorney. 

Dean Houck is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served as a member of the Secretary of Defense's Independent Review Panel on Sexual Assault in the Military, the Hoover Institute's Arctic Security Initiative, and the Easter Seals Command Council, which supports military service members, veterans, their families, and families of the fallen. 


Present Interim Dean and Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Penn State Law

Law of the Sea (3)

United Nations (2)