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News | Sept. 15, 2017

Military-to-Military Engagement

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

Lt. j.g. Joshua C. Fiveson was the action officer for a military-to-military engagement with Mexican Naval Secretariat (SEMAR) judge advocates and served as the primary liaison between SEMAR, U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), and Region Legal Service Office Southwest (RLSO SW), August 21-25.  He escorted the Mexican judge advocates to and from all of their events, helped coordinate their visits to the various commands, and oversaw translation.

"Learning about the Mexican military justice system was by far the most interesting part of the event," said Fiveson. "While the Mexican system differs greatly from our own, we share many of the same goals and challenges. This, for me, highlighted the fact the nature of the mission doesn't necessarily depend on the flag you fly."

In order to foster an exchange of information and strengthen military-diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Mexican Navy JAG Corps, RLSO SW hosted three SEMAR officers as well as an Army lieutenant colonel from NORTHCOM, the command that sponsored the event. The SEMAR officers observed a motions hearing for a contested court-martial and had in-depth discussions with a military judge, agents from the local NCIS office, judge advocates with Naval Special Warfare Command, and department heads from RLSO SW legal assistance, trial, and command services departments. The SEMAR officers also visited with officials from the Miramar Consolidated Brig, Commander, Submarine Squadron 11, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, and became the first-ever Mexican judge advocates to board an U.S. Aircraft Carrier--the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

"The SEMAR judge advocates were absolutely thrilled with the event and described it as the most engaging, well-run engagement with a foreign military that they had ever experienced," said Fiveson. "The SEMAR judge advocates found many things about our system intriguing, but it seemed that they were most impressed by our legal assistance work. They explained that their sailors also face great struggle in their personal lives but that they, as a JAG Corps, are tasked with a far narrower mission. They saw great value in the work our legal assistance departments undertake--both in the sense of impact on the sailors, individually, and impact on the fleet's mission, writ large--and expressed hope that they too might adopt a similar approach in the future."
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