Staff Judge Advocate
Definition/Scope: The SJA is the commander’s personal legal adviser on all matters affecting the morale, good order, and discipline of the command. An SJA serves commanders exercising general-court-martial convening authority. The ACOS, G-1/AG exercises coordinating staff responsibility over the SJA, when required. Additionally, the SJA serves under the supervision of the COS to provide legal services to the staff and, through other staff members, responsive legal services throughout the command. A legal support element—including at least a judge advocate—deploys in direct support of each brigade-level task force. The SJA provides complete legal support, including operational law (OPLAW) support and coverage of six core legal disciplines: international law, military justice, administrative law, civil law (including contract, fiscal, and environmental law), claims, and legal assistance. SJA responsibilities include: poviding military justice advice and performing military justice duties prescribed in the Uniform Code of Military Justice ; resolving legal problems regarding administrative boards, investigations, or other military tribunals; providing technical supervision and training of legal personnel in the command and its subordinate units; providing legal advice and assistance concerning contracts, health care, environmental matters, and compensation matters; providing legal counsel to the CPO, EOA, and the command; providing counsel to the family advocacy case review committee; serving as the command ethics counselor; providing international law and OPLAW assistance, including advice and assistance on implementing the DOD law of war program. (This includes helping to draft and review ROE.); assisting with litigation in which the United States has an interest; operating the following command training programs: ( Legal assistance, Claims, Procurement fraud, Federal magistrate court, Victim-witness assistance, Military justice, participating in targeting meetings to advise on legal considerations to minimize unnecessary collateral damage or injury to the civilian population, providing legal advice concerning intelligence activities, helping implement training programs for reserve component legal personnel and units. See AR 27-1 and FM 27-100 for more information on SJA responsibilities and duties. (FM 27-1) Staff judge advocates are lawyers for their commands. Their responsibility is to administer criminal justice and advise court-martial convening authorities. Staff judge advocates provide professional guidance and assist ante in criminal cases at all levels. The two types of court-martial counsel are trial counsel and defense counsel.
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