PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii –
On Aug. 15, 2021, two Navy commands – Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Hawaii and RLSO Northwest – merged. The merger created a unified RLSO headquartered in Bremerton, Wash., with a detachment in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as well as three branch offices in Washington State.
“This merger ensures our judge advocates, enlisted Legalmen, and civilian personnel can more effectively address fleet needs in a large and strategically significant area of responsibility,” said Rear Adm. (sel) David G. Wilson, commander, Naval Legal Services Command (CNLSC). “It enhances our capabilities and the delivery of legal services to the fleet.”
RLSOs are Navy commands that support operational readiness by providing a wide array of legal services to other naval commands, Sailors, and their families. After the merger, there are eight RLSOs – as well as Defense Service Offices and Victims’ Legal Counsel offices – operating around the globe.
The merger was formally requested by CNLSC after assessments identified potential organizational efficiencies. The merger was approved by the Secretary of the Navy in April 2021. In the ensuing months, an operational planning team worked tirelessly to prepare for and execute the consolidation of the two commands.
“The merger will be seamless and transparent. Our team is dedicated to providing timely and effective legal services that enable operations, and support Sailors, their families, and our military community at large. Sailors and families will not experience any interruptions to the availability of personal legal assistance services, and the commands we serve will continue to receive the mission-oriented legal solutions they need,” said Cmdr. Michele V. Rosen, officer-in-charge, RLSO Northwest Detachment Hawaii.
RLSO Northwest Detachment Hawaii is located onboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. It includes a Trial Services Department – which prosecutes courts-martial – and a Command Services Department – which advises naval commands and commanders on numerous subjects, from admiralty to personnel matters. The detachment also includes a Legal Assistance Department, which educates local Sailors and their families on their personal legal rights and responsibilities, and provides expert counsel in several legal practices areas, such as divorce, bankruptcy, or consumer fraud.
The parent command, RLSO Northwest, is located onboard Naval Base Kitsap – Bremerton. In addition to its new detachment in Hawaii, it has three branch offices – in Everett, Whidbey Island, and Bangor, Wash.
“With this merger, two high-performing teams have joined forces, combining their resources and skills,” said Wilson. “This newly unified and strengthened command is more agile, responsive, and focused.”