The Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) is renewing its focus on Fleet engagement. To support this effort, the RLSO has designed and rolled-out the Fleet Legal Engagement Program (FLEP) to create positive opportunities for Sailors to engage with the Navy’s legal team. The mission of FLEP is to help commands re-focus on the importance of good order and discipline by providing the following three key engagement tools: unit level training; Plan of the Day/Week notes; and a quarterly newsletter, The Millrind.
The need for all Sailors to understand the basic tenants of military justice was outlined by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis in an August 2018 memo when he made his expectations regarding discipline in our Armed Forces clear:
“We have no God-given right to victory. Discipline is a competitive-edge we must seek and maintain each day if we are to keep America safe from its enemies. As General Washington learned first-hand, discipline will make us stronger and more lethal. Therefore, let nothing prevent us from becoming the most disciplined force this world has ever known.”
On May 7, 2019, RLSO’s Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Holifield, Rota’s RLSO detachment Officer-in-Charge Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Harbin, and command services paralegal Legalman 3rd Class Jessica Brown met with Naval Station Rota Commanding Officer Capt. Michael MacNicholl to discuss FLEP and present the RLSO’s Charter. The Charter, signed by every member of its team, articulates RLSO’s promise to the Rota community to be Dedicated to
Service, Committed to Excellence.
For the majority of the Rota community, exposure to attorneys of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) often comes in the form of personal legal assistance, such as support with wills, powers of attorney, and landlord disputes. This practice, however, encompasses only one-third of what RLSO has to offer. The Rota team of JAG attorneys, Legalman, and civilians are dedicated to helping our community maintain good order and discipline by serving as prosecutors at courts-martial or providing legal advice related to investigations and administrative forms of punishment.
Discipline, however, is more than just punishment, it’s also about maintaining the public trust. Tools that enable leaders to preserve this trust include hefty references such as the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the Judge Advocate General’s Manual (JAGMAN), and the Joint Ethics Regulations (JER). Although some may already have familiarity with these tools, FLEP was created to help Sailors and leaders become more comfortable with their use – and thus more effective in maintaining a disciplined force.