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News | May 16, 2017

Navy Reserve Law Program Holds East Coast Training Symposium

By Lt. Cmdr. Janelle Kuroda, Navy Reserve Civil Litigation

 Navy Reserve JAG officers met to discuss the latest developments related to the Navy JAG Corps May 6-7 at the 2017 Military Law Training Symposium for the East Coast in Alexandria, Va.

Rear Adm. John G. Hannink, Deputy Judge Advocate General, and Rear Adm. Carol M. Lynch, Deputy Judge Advocate (Reserve Affairs and Operations), addressed more than 125 judge advocates assigned to Reserve units on the East Coast. The annual symposium focused on Navy JAG Corps  priorities and direction in support of the U.S. Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations’, Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority, changes in the military justice system, updates in command services, and developing issues in operational law. Lynch highlighted the importance of strengthening the warfighter every day and noted the importance of being an effective Reserve force.

“We need to learn fast and not be afraid to fail fast. In order to compete, we need to think outside of the box to defeat our enemies and step out of the status quo to try new ideas,” she said. “If the ideas don’t work, we’ll adjust, but we won’t be risk averse.” Lynch noted the importance of the Reserve component and challenged judge advocates, as the professional legal advisors to “tell commanders what they need to hear.” Hannink extended his gratitude to the Navy Reserve JAG Corps. “Thank you for your decision to continue to serve. Your support to help augment the active duty has been critical.”

Hannink outlined changes in the first tour judge advocate program, advances in technology and innovation that strengthen Reserve support to active duty commands, as well as the latest developments in cyber law, ethics training, and community management.

During the symposium, Lynch announced the winners of the 2017 Rear Admiral Hugh H. Howell, Jr. Award of excellence, recognizing both individual and unit accomplishments, named in honor of the first Navy judge advocate reservist to attain flag rank and the first Director, Navy Reserve Law Program. Lynch presented awards to Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan McKay of Navy Reserve Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Naval District Washington (junior officer), and Cmdr. Sabatino Leo, of Navy Reserve Sixth Fleet Legal (senior officer), for their outstanding efforts during the past year.

“As our unit’s operations officer, I assist in augmenting our active duty command during a number of international exercises,” said Leo. “I take pride in providing advice on international law and rules of engagement in exercises such as multinational maritime Exercise Phoenix Express, which is designed to improve regional cooperation and operational capabilities to achieve safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.”

Lynch also recognized the winners of the best active duty supported command, Chief of Naval Personnel and Navy Personnel Command, as well as the best Reserve command, Navy Reserve Fifth Fleet Legal, led by Capt. Dillon Ross. “Our unit is unique in that we stood it up in about 90 days and immediately began providing legal support to the active duty command, eight time zones away,” said Ross. “By leveraging knowledge management, we’re able to provide legal support to Navy Central Command in real time through remote projects. We also provide a regular rotation of personnel in theater including short notice personnel augmentees.”

Capt. Luis Leme, Commanding Officer of Navy Reserve Naval Justice School, said the training event served as a mechanism for judge advocates to learn about major legal developments.

“The symposium provided a great opportunity to learn about the Military Justice Act of 2017, hear from an expert at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and discuss territorial disputes in the South China Seas with an active duty international law practitioner,” said Leme. “I applaud the members of my unit and Navy Reserve RLSO Naval District Washington for their efforts in organizing this important symposium.”
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