Here (subscription required) is a link to a National Law Journal article about the Navy’s revamp of its lawyer corps. Here is an excerpt on the separate defense command progress:
Navy defense and prosecution lawyers have been operating “without a lot of support and assistance” available to them, Houck said. That was not a problem in the 1980s, when court-martial was a big practice and the lawyers’ main line of work. “By organizing the way we are now — by setting up a defense counsel assistance program and trial counsel assistance program, and also putting Region and Naval Legal Service Offices in slightly different chains of command in which they each report to another senior Navy captain with experience in their business — we will give more assistance and oversight,” he said. Houck acknowledged that the Marine Corps is “a little further along” in that it has a separate defense command, which only does criminal defense and is entirely independent of the prosecution function. The Army also created a separate command solely for defense counsel in 1980. Houck said, “We’ll be there in about two years.”
The unflappable JO’C is quoted in the story saying, “I do think for trial counsel and defense counsel in the field, the training and mentorship are very much hit or miss. Having a defense counsel assistance program is a very positive development.” I think we can all agree on that.