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Colonel Linell Letendre

Permanent Professor/Department Head

Department of Law

Colonel Linell A. Letendre
Contact Information

(719) 333-3680




Colonel Linell Letendre is the Permanent Professor and Head of the Department of Law at the United States Air Force Academy. She leads a team of twenty faculty and staff in the design and teaching of nineteen core and elective law courses, in scholarship across a variety of disciplines, in the legal support to the administration of the Cadet Honor System, and in the development of officers of character for the U.S. Air Force.

Colonel Letendre graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1996 as a Distinguished Graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering. After serving as an acquisition officer, Colonel Letendre became a judge advocate through the Funded Legal Education Program. She graduated from the University of Washington Law School with high honors and was named to the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Barristers. She is barred at the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Washington, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals.

Prior to this assignment, Colonel Letendre served as a Staff Judge Advocate at Scott Air Force and also represented the Air Force in appellate review of all courts-martial as the Deputy Chief Trial and Appellate Counsel. She previously served as the Legal Advisor for the DoD Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) where she advised on legal and policy issues surrounding repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” She also defended the Air Force in a range of federal civil litigation involving military personnel, served as Chief of Strategic Communication for The Judge Advocate General, and defended Airmen as an area defense counsel.


Eisenhower School, National Defense University (Distinguished Graduate) (2015)

Air War College, Seminar (2012)

Air Command and Staff College, Correspondence (2008)

Squadron Officer School (Distinguished Graduate), Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama (2003)

Juris Doctor (High Honors), University of Washington School of Law (2001)

Bachelor of Science, Astronautical Engineering (Distinguished Graduate), U.S. Air Force Academy (1996)

Professional Experience

Chair, Social Sciences Division, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (2018-President)

Permanent Professor and Head, Department of Law, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (2015-2018)

Student, Eisenhower School, National Defense University, Washington D.C. (2014-2015)

Staff Judge Advocate, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (2012-2014)

Deputy Chief, Trial and Appellate Government Counsel Division, Air Force Legal Operations Agency, Joint Base Andrews, Md. (2011-2012)

Air Staff Counsel, Administrative Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Pentagon, Washington D.C. (2011)

Legal Advisor, DoD Comprehensive Review Working Group, Pentagon, Washington D.C. (2010)

Executive Officer, Civil Law and Litigation Directorate, Air Force Legal Operations Agency, Arlington, Va. (2009-2010)

Deputy Chief, Military Personnel Branch, General Litigation Division of Air Force Legal Operations Agency, Va. (2008-2009)

Chief of Strategic Communication Branch, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Pentagon, Washington D.C. (2007-2008)

Assistant Professor of Law, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (2004-2007)

Area Defense Counsel, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (2003-2004)

Chief of Environmental Law and General Law, 375th Airlift Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (2001-2003)

Funded Legal Education Program, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. (1998-2001)

Project Officer, JASSM Program Office, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (1996-1998)

Honors & Awards

National Defense Industrial Association Award for Excellence in Research and Writing (2015)

National Defense University Women, Peace and Security Writing Award (2015)

Outstanding Academy Educator in Law (2007)

Commandant’s Trophy Winner as Top Graduate from Squadron Officer’s School (2003)

Second Place, National Mock Trial Competition (2001)

Co-author, Best Brief, National Moot Court Competition (2000)

Cadet Wing Commander, U.S. Air Force Academy (1996)


Scott Heritsch and Linell A. Letendre, An Engineering Model for Ethical Decision-Making and Regulation in Autonomous Systems, in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Handbook, 2nd ed., Springer Publications (Forthcoming Spring 2018)

Right vs. Right: Personal Belief vs. Professional Obligations, Parameters 48, no. 1 (co-authored with Dr. Martin Cook) (Spring 2018)

Google…It Ain’t Ford: Why the United States Needs a Better Approach to Leveraging the Robotics Industry, 77 A.F. L. Rev. 51 (2017)

Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems: Translating Legal Jargon for Engineers, in Proceedings 2016 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), Rosslyn VA, 795-800, available at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7502579/

Women Warriors: Why the Robotics Revolution Changes the Combat Equation, 6 PRISM 90 (2016)

U.S. DEP’T OF DEFENSE, Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” (Member of writing team) (2010)

Maj Gen Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. & Maj Linell A. Letendre, Military Lawyering and Professional Independence in the War on Terror: A Response to David Luban, 61 Stan. L. Rev. 417 (2008)

Maj (ret.) David E. Fitzkee, USA & Capt Linell A. Letendre, Religion in the Military: Navigating the Channel Between the Religion Clauses, 59 A.F. L. Rev. 1 (2007)

Maj (ret.) David E. Fitzkee, USA, Capt Linell A. Letendre, & Capt John Tillery, Respecting Spiritual Diversity in Public Higher Education: A Military Academy’s Approach, J. Faculty Development (Fall 2005)

Beating Again and Again and Again: Why Washington Needs a New Rule of Evidence Admitting Prior Acts of Domestic Violence, 75 Wash. L. Rev. 973 (2000)