ACC JAG Leadership Symposium creates fair and clear path forward

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte
  • HQ Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Staff judge advocates and paralegal superintendents from across Air Combat Command gathered at General Bill Creech Conference Center for ACC’s Judge Advocate and Paralegal Leadership Symposium Sept. 12-14, 2023.

The symposium offered a collaborative forum for legal office leadership across the Numbered Air Forces and wings to share critical legal updates, promote dialogue and offer a strategic overview of changes on the horizon. 

“The subject matter of this symposium was designed to develop operations-capable legal personnel who are ready to execute home station and expeditionary missions,” said Col. Tyson Kindness, ACC Staff Judge Advocate.  “Through this symposium, we collaborated and aligned both our priorities and lines of effort with ACC mission needs in order to deliver timely, proactive and accurate legal services to enable mission success.”  

To meet this end, The Judge Advocate General of the Air Force and Space Force (TJAG), Lt. Gen. Chuck Plummer, presided over an open forum to address a multitude of topics that will shape the future of legal operations, including how legal force posture should be aligned to meet commander’s needs and intent, how innovation can help propel the law, and how to attract and retain the most talented legal workforce in the JAG Corps. 

Another featured speaker at the symposium was Brig. Gen. Christopher Brown, the lead special trial counsel for the Department of the Air Force. In this role, Brown leads the newly minted Office of Special Trial Counsel (OSTC), which was created by the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act to provide expert, specialized and independent prosecution capabilities in the investigation and trial-level litigation of the most serious offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including murder, rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. 

Brown educated ACC legal leaders on how to best integrate resources and efforts between installation legal offices, the OSTC, and special agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  This allows investigations to be processed swiftly, thoroughly and fairly.  The OSTC will officially begin to exercise authority over criminal prosecutions for covered offenses in the DAF after 27 December 2023.

Lessons learned during the symposium included leveraging total force legal services as the Air Force transitions to the Air Force Force Generation model and undergoes significant changes in its operational structure.  

The motto of “One Team, One Fight” is championed within the JAG Corps, to leverage the unique legal backgrounds and skillsets possessed by its total force attorneys and paralegals, as true force multipliers.

Briefers included, JAG Reserve and Air National Guard leaders, including Maj. Gen. Mitchel Neurock, the Mobilization Assistant to TJAG, and Maj Gen Charles Walker, ANG Assistant to TJAG.  

The JAG symposium was an invaluable opportunity to flatten communications to enable support ACC mission priorities and mitigate future legal challenges.