Will A. Gunn

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Colonel Will A. Gunn is an American lawyer and former officer in the American Armed Forces.[1] He was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the new general counsel for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.[2][3] He attended the United States Air Force Academy, graduating in 1980, and Harvard Law School, graduating in 1986. While at Harvard, he was elected President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.[4] In 1990 Gunn was a White House Fellow and Associate Director of Cabinet Affairs.[1] Mr. Gunn also has a Masters of Laws degree in Environmental Law from the George Washington University School of Law and a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.[5]

In 2003, he was asked to lead the military lawyers defending detainees before the Guantanamo Military Commissions. After getting advice from friends, many of whom advised against taking the job, and his pastor, he accepted the position and was appointed. His team wrote an amicus curae brief for the U.S. supreme court in the 2003-2004 case (Rasul v. Bush) that ultimately established the right of detainees to bring cases in U.S. courts. This brief opposed the administration's position and supported the detainees. Colonel Gunn, the Pentagon general counsel and the White House counsel Alberto Gonzales all authorized for submission to the court. He retired from the military in 2005 after more than 20 years of service. Subsequently, he entered private law practice, led a charitable organization and served as a church minister.[6][7][8]

On October 21, 2004, Gunn was invited to address Duke Law School.[9][10] After his address Gunn was asked whether the Military Commissions could be conducted in a manner that was fair and just. He replied: "“I’d prefer that you all come to your own conclusions as to whether we can have full and fair proceedings.”


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Colonel Will A. Gunn" (PDF). Department of Defense. February 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-04-08. 
  2. [1]
  3. Will A. Gunn-General Counsel-Department of Veteran Affairs
  4. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-More-Key-Administration-Posts-03-31-09/
  5. http://www.va.gov/opa/bios/bio_gunn.asp
  6. Toobin, Jeffrey (9 February 2004). "Annals of Law: Inside the Wire: Can an Air Force Colonel help the detainees at Guantanamo". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  7. Stern, Seth. "Honor Bound: Col. Will Gunn '86 Leads Defense of Enemy Combatants". Harvard Law Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  8. Gunn, Will (2008). "Biography". The Gunn Law Firm. Retrieved 10 March 2009. [dead link]
  9. "Will A. Gunn speaks at Duke Law School". 2004-10-21. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08. 
  10. "Will A. Gunn speaks at Duke Law School (real video)". 2004-10-21. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08.