Why the Space Force needs its own JAG Corps | Space

Jag Seal Scaled E1707925098427 1024x577.jpg

The seal of the Judge Advocate General Corps is displayed inside the 28th Bomb Wing courtroom at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., July 17, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Nicolas Z. Erwin)

The Space Force celebrated its fourth anniversary in December, and in many ways has become ingrained inside the Pentagon. But America’s youngest military service is still lacking in one key way: it is the only branch of the armed forces without its own judge advocate unit. In this op-ed, Maj. Aaron Brynildson, an Air Force JAG, argues it is time for that to change.

The United States Space Force operates today without its own uniformed lawyers, known as judge advocates, who specialize in the service’s needs. That’s a detriment to America’s newest military service, and one that needs to be fixed.

Currently, the Air Force provides all active-duty JAG bodies that directly support the Space Force units. In joint space environments, JAGs from every service branch can and do provide space legal advice, but the need for specialized space lawyers has long been identified and was originally in the initial legislation to create the Space Force.

Why does a military branch with roughly 8,600 servicemembers need its own lawyers? The same reason that every branch has its own version of the JAG: the criticality of lawyers for order, discipline, and compliance with the complicated domestic and international laws related to each warfighting domain. There’s a reason that one of the first officers hired by Gen. George Washington in 1775 was a lawyer, and that the Air Force stood up its own JAG just a year after its creation in 1947 — because the kinds of situations a military faces comes with specialized legal challenges.

Like other branches, the Space Force has a unique culture and climate, which should inform a lawyer’s advice on good order and discipline. But one could argue that the Space Force faces the most complex and unique series of evolving laws that any branch has ever faced…

read more breakingdefense.com

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