Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Judge advocate promotions and oversight by political appointees cont'

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous posted an Army Times online article as a comment to Saturday's entry about an important Boston Globe article.

Here's a link to the Army Times piece.

The article by Rick Maze, headlined Pentagon backs off politicizing JAG promotions, begins: "An attempt within the Pentagon to politicize promotions for military judge advocates general appears to have been blocked after protests from military lawyers and threats from key lawmakers."


Anonymous said...

Now, I'm more concerned than ever. Is DoD GC's office truly staffed by lawyers who, at 12, would have declared without irony that the best book ever written was "The Fountainhead" or, at 16,"The City and Man"?

As I have wondered previously, perhaps there may be good reasons why DoD GC should seek to "coordinate" the promotion (and training, and detailing, and development, and...) of service JAGs. Why, for example, should one service JAG be permitted to resource an appellate defense division in a manner that it results in its being disproportionately represented in claims of excessive post-trial delay?

Perhaps there are economies that can be achieved by the pooling of military legal resources, even if they do not in the process become "purple"?

Perhaps the opposition of the service JAGS to certain DoD proposals simply reveals their biases to protect their own "rice bowls"?

These questions, however, appear to have given altogether too much credit to DoD's proposal or the motives of those who crafted it.


Mike "No Man" Navarre said...


I could not agree less. If you truly believe this effort was about rice bowls you ignore the politics of the last 6 years. If the issue is resourcing, promotion "coordination" is a rather odd way to improve resource availability. And I refuse to believe that DoD General Counsel's Office even knows there are more claims of post trial delay in the Navy-Marine Corps system than in the other 3 systems. But, I do wonder like you about the make up of this proposal considering that the headline of the Times article could have been, "25 year old breaks up new JAGC promotion proposal.". Note the last sentence of the article, here it is in context:

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., chairman of the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee, said, he hopes the Pentagon realizes it cannot add a new wrinkle to getting promoted without congressional oversight.“Whatever change they may propose is subject to approval by the Senate Armed Services Committee,” he said.The Armed Services Committee not only has the power to rewrite promotion law but also is responsible for approving the promotions of every military officer in the grades of O-4 and above. If displeased, it could bring all promotions to a screeching halt.A Nelson aide said a few phone calls appeared to do the trick. “I believe we have already stopped it,” said the aide, who asked not to be identified

Anonymous said...

I have to admit it, sometimes things really are as bad or stupid as they appear.

But, if the only motive for the proposal was to punish (or threaten to punish) wayward JAGs, why go through all this legal effort, which was bound to attract scrutiny?

By applying just the right amount of pressure at the various chokepoints in the promotion review/approval
process, they could have accomplished the same ends by political means, and without leaving fingerprints.


Guert Gansevoort said...

I think that you hit the nail on the head SD. The powers that be already have the ability to hold up individual promotions under the current legal regime and to do so discretely. As one blogger in another string noted, they have occasionally done so. This scheme was not hatched to drastically expand the power of the DoD general counsel. It was intended to serve as a shot across the bow of wayward JAG's. It was meant to leave fingerprints.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you completely, only when I follow the path of Nemo's "evil genius" argument, as far as I can get is Wile E. Coyote.

Let's hope our opponents keep ordering their petards from the ACME Corporation.