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News | Feb. 16, 2016

2015 Superior Performance Awards

By Vice Adm. James W. Crawford III and Rear Adm. John G. Hannink

It is our great pleasure to recognize 11 outstanding judge advocates for their professional excellence. Please congratulate the following recipients of the 2015 Office of the Judge Advocate General (OJAG) and Naval Legal Service Command (NLSC) Superior Performance Awards:

OJAG Military Justice Officer of the Year - Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Lorenz. As deputy division director in OJAG's National Security Litigation Division (Code 30), Lorenz delivered outstanding support to more than two dozen complex investigations and courts-martial involving espionage, counter-intelligence, and the mishandling of classified information. He coordinated with law enforcement and the intelligence community to complete the prosecutorial review of high-profile espionage investigations.

OJAG Action Officer of the Year - Lt. Cmdr. Caleb Christen. As an action officer in OJAG's Legal Assistance Division (Code 16), Christen exercised exceptional leadership abilities to plan, execute, and coordinate three significant evolutions including: the first annual Department of the Navy Disability Evaluation System (DES) Counsel Training Program Symposium, the Judge Advocate General Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony, and the Joint Service Legal Assistance for Victims of Sexual Assault and Other Crimes Training Symposium, attended by more than 200 joint service personnel.

OJAG Innovator of the Year - Lt. Hannah Eaves. As an action officer in the Personnel Law Branch of OJAG, Administrative Law Division (Code 13),  Eaves was the innovator behind several improvements that supported JAG Corps Strategic Plan initiatives, including collaborating with stakeholders to streamline the routing of certain statutory promotion boards, resulting in faster processing times through the DoD and to the Senate. She created "wiki" style checklists to capture process improvements and implement them quickly. Accomplishing these and other innovations in a complex area of law, regulation, and policy, Eaves challenged assumptions and brought fresh eyes to hardened processes.

NLSC Junior Officer of the Year - Lt. Shawn Brennan. As Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Japan Command Services department head, Brennan distinguished himself with a diverse portfolio of work on a wide range of high-visibility cases including a major foreign criminal jurisdiction case involving a U.S. service member in the Philippines and the death of a local national. He advised over 80 commands throughout the Forward Deployed Naval Forces, trained numerous shore and operational units, oversaw post-trial processing for area courts-martial, and facilitated underway opportunities for First Tour Judge Advocates (FT JA).

NLSC Recruiter of the Year - Lt. Sarah Aguero. As RLSO Southeast recruiting officer, Aguero expertly led the recruiting mission across NLSC's largest area of responsibility (AOR), coordinating over 160 structured interviews in 17 locations and ensuring Navy JAG Corps presence at 52 law schools in 12 states and Puerto Rico. She initiated a program to train Navy Recruiting District in the Southeast on the JAG Corps' recruiting and application processes.  Aguero also drafted standardized introductory guidance for all Southeast AOR interviewers to use when explaining the structured interview process to applicants.

NLSC Trial Counsel of the Year - Marine Corps Capt. James Morgan. As assistant officer in charge of RLSO Southeast Detachment Pensacola, Morgan personally processed 46 military justice cases, including 21 completed courts-martial, 13 in which he served as lead trial counsel. The model for preemptive case preparation, Morgan creatively used GPS tracking Jogs and web search history to solidify the government's case in a court-martial involving infant abuse, directly resulting in a plea deal offer that met the interests of justice.

NLSC Defense Counsel of the Year - Lt. Alexandra Nica. As Defense Counsel at Defense Service Office (DSO) West, Nica was detailed to 50 cases and tried 20 courts-martial, 6 of which were contested cases. Her skillful advocacy resulted in two complete acquittals, two acquittals on major charges, and nine favorable alternative dispositions or dismissals. Of seven Article 32 investigative hearings, her stellar advocacy resulted in three Article 120 cases being dismissed for lack of evidence.

NLSC Legal Assistance Attorney of the Year - Lt. Charles Roman. As the sole legal assistance attorney at RLSO Southeast, Branch Office Gulfport, Roman provides support to seven regularly deploying units and a growing retiree population. He drafted 313 estate planning documents, provided 1,652 services to 728 clients and customers, and revitalized outreach to the Armed Forces Retirement Home to provide services to more than 540 veterans.

NLSC Command Services Attorney of the Year - Lt. Kevin Loughman. As a command services attorney in RLSO Japan, Branch Office Singapore, Loughman has become the key to the success of the Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction (FCJ) portfolio for the AOR, masterfully employing his skills to secure waivers of Singapore's jurisdiction in 11 of 11 FCJ cases. Loughman advanced an initiative with the largest landlord in Singapore to reduce deposits required for members by 50% and allow for short-term leases, providing flexibility and reducing costs to forward deployed service members.

NLSC Innovator of the Year - Lt. Cmdr. Derek Butler. As deputy director, Defense Counsel Assistance Program, Butler created a state-of-the-art tracking system for courts-martial, administrative separations and Board of Inquiry cases handled by DSO personnel. Butler transformed how case information is tracked and measured throughout DSOs by consolidating four distinct tracking methods into one uniform system. He drafted business rules and a guidebook to ensure a flawless user interface.  Butler's innovation had an immediate and lasting impact on mission readiness, allowing individual counsel, front line supervisors, and command leadership to monitor counsel workloads and access real time, reliable case information.

Victims' Legal Counsel of the Year - Lt. Kathryn Beard. As Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC) in Norfolk, Virginia, Beard assisted more than 70 victims of sexual offenses, making more than 40 appearances in proceedings on behalf of her clients. She filed 11 motions, and the Army Court of Criminal Appeals granted certification for her motion in limine regarding a client's mental health records. She has served as the VLC Program representative at the Judicial Proceedings Panel, instructed at two Army Special Victims' Counsel Courses and briefed numerous Sailors, commands, and other sexual assault program personnel on the VLC Program mission.

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