Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



With the advent of Project Capstone in 1980, the United States Army adopted a master European war plan which committed virtually every Army National Guard and Army Reserve unit to a large-scale field army for use in the European Theater of Operations. The plan was designed to combat a hypothetical offensive by tank-heavy Warsaw Pact forces through the centuries-old Fulda Gap invasion route in the central region of the Federal Republic of Germany, or through the relatively vulnerable North German Plain.

Actions by Warsaw Pact troops in Poland and Afghanistan increase the likelihood that United States contingency war planning will continue in the years ahead. The introduction of military personnel who will be in the European Theater of Operations for only a few weeks poses several legal problems which will be the subject of this Note. The human factor inherent in any discussion of the law relating to military personnel creates excellent opportunities for case studies. After a brief examination of the law of extradition, the law of the status of forces, and the effect of these bodies of law on the unique federal-state status of members of the Army National Guard, the provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement (NATO SOFA), will be applied to the hypothetical case of a captain of a hometown Guard unit who has committed a crime in a NATO signatory nation but who returns to the United States prior to the discovery of the crime. This hypothetical case undoubtedly will be reflected in real world case studies as increasing numbers of Guardsmen deploy for two week tours in Europe.