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News | Jan. 23, 2017

JAG and CMC Visit the Military Commissions Defense Organization

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Vice Adm. James W. Crawford III and Command Master Chief Jondell Ritchie visited the Military Commissions Defense Organization (MCDO) in Arlington, Va. on Jan. 18.

They met with MCDO leadership and the DON members of the MCDO legal staff, as well as other personnel from the joint force military organization, civilian government employees, and civilian contractors. While at MCDO, Crawford also presented the Meritorious Service Medal to Cmdr. Darren S. Wall for his professional achievements. MCDO provides ethical, zealous and independent client-based defense services under the Military Commission Act in order to defend the Rule of Law and maintain public confidence in the nation’s commitment to equal justice under the law.

MCDO personnel are charged with developing a strong defense for people accused of participating in the 9/11 conspiracy, the USS Cole bombing or other similarly controversial and high-profile events. At the beginning of the visit, Crawford met with the Chief Defense Counsel for Military Commissions, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. John G. Baker. Afterwards, Crawford said that he was most impressed with the degree of cooperation among the different services and among the military and civilian staff.

He attributed the seamless, productive work environment to Baker’s leadership and the tireless dedication of the almost 200 legal staff serving with him. MCDO employees include judge advocates, government service civilian attorneys, civilian counsel providing pro bono representation, learned counsel, and paralegals. It also includes intelligence analysts, security information officers, investigators, interpreters, mitigation specialists, expert consultants, and administrative staff. Each member of the team plays a vital role in the execution of MCDO’s critically important mission.

Currently, the Navy JAG community is represented at MCDO by nine active officers, five Reserve officers, eight Active enlisted, and one Reserve enlisted. At the all-hands meetings led by Crawford and Baker, JAG reiterated his deep appreciation for the officers and legalmen working at MCDO. He stated that their achievements are a testament to the ideals and beliefs that should guide all Navy JAG community members. 
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