In addition to his post at the University of Texas School of Law, Chesney is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a senior editor for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. He also holds a courtesy appointment at the LBJ School of Public Policy. In 2009, he served on the Detention Policy Task Force created by President Barack Obama, which was tasked with developing long-term policy in relation to the capture, detention, trial, or other disposition of persons in the context of combat and counterterrorism operations.
Previously, he was a law professor at Wake Forest University School of Law. Before that he practiced law with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. He clerked on both the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Chesney is a magna cum laude graduate of both Harvard Law School and Texas Christian University.
Chesney has taught a range of subjects, including Constitutional Law, National Security Law, Evidence, The Role of the Judiciary in National Security Affairs, Civil Procedure, and U.S. Counterterrorism Policy in Legal and Historical Perspective. Chesney was named Wake Forest University School of Law's Teacher of the Year for 2004 and 2007.
Chesney has written or co-authored many articles relating to the legal aspects of U.S. national security policies and practices:
Robert M. Chesney (2012). "Military-Intelligence Convergence and the Law of the Title 10/Title 50 Debate". Journal of National Security Law and Policy. SSRN1945392.
Robert M. Chesney (2011). "Who May Be Killed? Anwar al-Awlaki as a Case Study in the International Legal Regulation of Lethal Force". Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law. SSRN1754223.
Robert M. Chesney co-authored with Benjamin Wittes and Larkin Reynolds (2011). "The Emerging Law of Detention 2.0: The Guantanamo Habeas Cases as Lawmaking". Brooking Institution. SSRN1839793.
Robert M. Chesney (2011). "Who May Be Held? Military Detention Through the Habeas Lens". Boston College Law Review. SSRN1725533.
Robert M. Chesney (2011). "Iraq and the Military Detention Debate: Firsthand Perspectives from the Other War, 2003-2010". Virginia Journal of International Law. SSRN1690513.
Robert M. Chesney (2011). "A Primer on the Libya/War Powers Resolution Compliance Debate". Brookings Institution.
Robert M. Chesney (2007). "Federal Prosecution of Terrorism-Related Offenses: Conviction and Sentencing Data in Light of the 'Soft Sentence' and 'Data Reliability' Critiques". Lewis and Clark Law Review. SSRN1005478.
Robert M. Chesney (2007). "Beyond Conspiracy? Anticipatory Prosecution and the Challenge of Unaffiliated Terrorism". Southern California Law Review. SSRN932608.
Robert M. Chesney (2007). "State Secrets and the Limits of National Security Litigation". George Washington Law Review. SSRN946676.
Robert M. Chesney (2007). "Disaggregating Deference: The Judicial Power and Executive Treaty Interpretations". Iowa Law Review. SSRN931997.
Robert M. Chesney (2007). "Anticipatory Prosecution in Terrorism-Related Cases". Chapter in The Changing Role of the American Prosecutor.