So today’s the day.  Anyone attend the meeting of the Independent Panel to Review the Judge Advocate Requirements of the Department of the Navy.  I am otherwise occupied so I could not, though I am contemplating a written submission. 

Thanks to Anon, again, here is a link to the Panel’s “homepage.”  Ifit asks you for search criteria, enter 73653 in the Committee Number field.   To see the documents the committee is reviewing, click on Meeting and then the link for documents. 

From my review of the Marine Corps’ presentation (slides 48-51 in particular), and Navy JAG, it would appear that the Marine Corps is making a big push for equality in this process.  In particular they are looking for parity of consideration of Marine Corps JAs for all AJAG slots and for consideration of Marine Corps JAs as the DoN JAG (as they phrase it). 

Considering this push, the now unavailable 1995/6 memo on the ability of Marine Corps JAs to be considered for Navy JAG was quite topical.   If anyone associated with the panel is reading, four documents that are no longer available on appeared, on a quick scan, to be very interesting and relevant to this push by the Marine Corps.  I would personally appreciate if they could again be made available to the public.  The documents are (numbers correspond to the Aug. 30, 2010 index):

10. Commandant of the Marine Corps Memorandum for the Secretary of the Navy dtd 25 Apr 1994, Marine Nominees for Appointments to be the Judge Advocate General and the Deputy Judge Advocate General

11. Navy Judge Advocate General Memorandum for the General Counsel of the Navy dtd 22 May 1995, Marine Nominees for Appointment to be the Judge Advocate General and Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy

12. Navy Judge Advocate General Memorandum for the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Navy dtd 4 Mar 1996, Proposed Legislation to Modify Statutes to Select the Judge Advocate General of the Navy and the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps

13. General Counsel of the Navy Memorandum for Secretary of the Navy, Under Secretary of the Navy dtd 9 May 1996, Marine Corps Nominees for Appointment as the Judge Advocate General and Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy


11 Responses to “Independent Panel On Navy JA Requirements Meeting”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes when you try to do a turf-grab you end up losing some of your own turf…..see the Yom Kippur War, etc. I would love to see the Marine Corps actually start filling/pick up some billets heretofore “reserved” for the Navy. I bet Maksym, et al, never considered this.

  2. Not a total turf grab says:

    The way I read this, I think the MC is not making a run at any more AJAG billets (although why can’t a Marine being the chief judge of the Department of the Navy), but asking primarily for JAG-like authority for the SJA to CMC (which the JAG seemed to agree with), statutory vice regulatory change (which the JAG disagrees with in an almost petulant slide), and for consideration for a Marine to serve as the JAG. I think they used the latter point to very effectively demonstrate how the JAG’s focus on the JAGC has caused the JAG to miss the ball on his true role as the JAG for the Department of the Navy. Interestingly, they did not suggest that the Navy create a head of the JAGC – say the DJAG with a new title – who is not the JAG. Random thoughts — why does the Navy have so many SESs? The MC power point slides were impressive compared to the Navy slides and I thought the appellate brief-like paper was very effective and frankly kind of motivating as they describe why their lawyers are gunfighters (almost made me want to lose a few pounds and join the Corps) and wondered if the Navy gave them anything similar. The MC did a nice job of answering the panel’s question — yes we do need more lawyers, but we have a plan to address that and then changing the entire focus of the panel to demand more authority for the SJA to CMC and point the finger at the the Navy JAG Corps. Final thought – this whole food fight shows why Walter Jones’ fight to rename the DoN to the DoN-MC may actually make sense.

  3. John O'Connor says:

    I was surprised to learn from these slides that Marine TCs now have, on average, 15 SpCMs a year and 3 GCMs a year. When I was at Legal Team Delta (1995-98), I would say a TC averaged 65-75 courts-martial a year, and more than that if the JA was assigned the School of Infantry’s caseload.

    I assume our numbers were high because we had only combat arms units and the School of Infantry, which probably tended to take a harder line on forum selection, and also I imagine a lot of the simple cases (UA, drug pops) are probably getting dealt with short of a SpCM these days.

  4. Breven Parsons says:

    Mr. O:

    Good point. For clarity’s sake – the 15 SPCM/3 GCM per year covered only a per counsel completed to litigation per year for all Marine JA’s – thus for a small location like Albany and a large location like LSST-E or D or LSSS LJ, the stats are skewed high or low respectively. But, the case loads are generally down from your time. 95-98 USMC wide averages were 250 GCMs and 15-1600 SPCMs per year and last year were at 140 GCM and 675 SPCMs (from Code Committee reports). This year may be a bit higher as SJA to CMC briefed. You’re guess on SPCMs migrating to lower forums is spot on. Case loads may start to climb back up with a troop draw down.

  5. John Baker says:

    I concur with Brevan that the court martial cases are down and that overall caseloads aren’t what they were back when Mr. O and I were young judge advocates, but the court cases we do have are often more complex. Further, what the Code Committee reports don’t capture is that the ad sep board case load is up with most every board taking a substantial amount of work from a defense counsel as the such important stakes as the loss of the post-911 G.I. Bill, automatic access the veternan’s benefits, and the stigma of an other than honorable discharge hanging in the balance for our clients many of whom have been adversely effected by their service in OIF/OEF, which often generate a robust E&M case involving mental health evidence.

  6. BWB says:

    Attended the hearing today. The panel seemed to have 2 primary concerns: preventing another Foster, and the right number of JAs each service needs.

    The SJA to CMC made a convincing pitch to either 1) grant him the statutory authority to conduct the green service mission, or 2) allow Marines to compete for JAG/DJAG as the law provides. The members were receptive for the most part, save Admiral McPherson who reminded the panel that it wasn’t created to address such an issue.

    The JAG explained to the panel, in response to one of their questions, that the position of DJAG is selected from a Navy-only panel and that the JAG billet is selected from a field of one.

  7. Anon says:

    At the risk of being flamed, ever consider the reason the top DON lawyer is always Navy because they want a lawyer in the billet and not a rifleman. If every Marine is a rifleman then why have a lawyer who may have spent a fair amount of time in non-lawyer B billets. Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of great USMC lawyers and plenty that could be a JAG. LEPs run the Navy Jagc but once lawyers they never do non lawyer jobs.

  8. Anon says:

    So when a Marine becomes JAG or DJAG they will be responsible for the running of RLSOs and NLSOs and SJA assignments. Does that mean when the Navy is JAG they will have responsibility over assignments of Marine JAs and the like? I have no problem with a Marine being JAG but there are other requirements to the job. And will we get rid of the redundant parts of the SJA’s staff that already exist within OJAG?

  9. John O'Connor says:

    I think the USMC proposal is to realign job duties so that the task of running the RLSOs and NLSOs and Navy SJA assignments falls on a deputy JAG and the JAG (be it Marine or Navy) just handles the stuff that cuts across both services. I don’t think anyone contemplates the JAG keeping Navy-specific duties if Marines are, as a practical matter, in the running for the job.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why not have a DoN JAG Corps and organize Navy and Marine Corps legal activities under one Officer and separate out SJAs to the Commandant and CNO for service-specific functions? The conversations I hear are all about who gets what job instead of how best to accomplish the departmental legal mission.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Next meetings of the panel are scheduled for 6 and 13 October.