DEPLOYED MARINE AIR-GROUND TASK FORCE (MAGTF) JUDGE ADVOCATE HANDBOOK (APR-2013)
DEPLOYED MARINE AIR-GROUND TASK FORCE (MAGTF) JUDGE ADVOCATE
HANDBOOK (APR-2013)., Guided by this fundamental premise of operational law as a legal umbrella, this handbook divides operational law into discrete chapters discussing the legal disciplines and functions that comprise it.3
The first substantive chapter, chapter two in order, discusses crisis action planning during MAGTF operations, specifically, the Marine Corps Planning Process (MCPP). The MAGTF JA plays a pivotal role in the MCPP, yet most JAs have had little or no MCPP training. This chapter endeavors to fill the training gap by providing a detailed description of how the process works, defining the terminology used in it, and emphasizing the critical need for JA integration into MAGTF staff planning efforts. This chapter is consistent with MCPP (MCWP 5-1) released by MARADMIN 487/10.
Chapter three addresses recurring ROE and LOW issues that arise in MAGTF operations. Rather than duplicate material covered in other publications, such as the Operational Law Handbook,4 this chapter strives to analyze ROE and LOW issues in greater detail and with more of a focus on Marine issues and problems than found in these other works.
Chapter four is dedicated to military justice. Discussed here are topics such as the difficulties of conducting courts-martial in a deployed setting, foreign criminal jurisdiction, and nonjudicial punishment aboard a naval vessel. This chapter is not intended to be a military justice primer, but rather to augment the baseline military justice knowledge most JAs possess with a discussion of recurring criminal law issues unique to shipboard life and deployment to foreign countries.
Chapter five focuses on recurring administrative law concerns in MAGTF operations. In addition to discussions of government ethics and informal unit funds, the chapter attempts to outline the interrelationships between the various administrative investigations likely to arise in a deployed environment, most notably aircraft and ground safety mishaps.
Broadly speaking, chapter six deals with civil law. More specifically, the chapter highlights three areas of civil law that have proven difficult for MAGTF JAs to grasp: fiscal law, deployment contracting, and overseas environmental law. Somewhat of a departure from the other chapters, this chapter does not strive to take a baseline knowledge of civil law and develop finer points applicable to MAGTF operations. Put frankly, after action reports and anecdotal evidence suggest that Marine JAs have a less-than-adequate understanding of fiscal law, deployment contracting, and overseas environmental law. To help alleviate this deficiency, the chapter wades through the complexities of civil law in these three areas, capturing the essence of what a MAGTF JA should be prepared to address.
Chapter seven addresses foreign claims. The primary purpose of this chapter is to tie together claims statutes, international agreements, and claims regulations into a comprehensible whole. For example, most JAs are familiar with statutes such as the Foreign Claims Act, but few understand how the Act interrelates with status of forces agreements or the concept of single-service claims responsibility or the actual mechanics of paying a claim. This chapter attempts to provide a logical framework for the JA to follow in determining how to adjudicate and pay foreign claims.
Chapter eight’s focus is legal assistance. The purpose is not to present an outline of substantive law, an undertaking that could fill an entire book, but rather to identify recurring legal assistance issues and practical concerns in MAGTF operations to better prepare the JA to provide sound counsel for Marines of the MAGTF who are in need of legal assistance.
The final chapter sets forth guidance on conducting legal research and providing legal support in a deployed environment. This chapter discusses equipment, resources, and materials to bring on a deployment, and also provides a current listing of unclassified and classified web sites useful for the MAGTF JA.
The remainder of the handbook consists of appendices. Feedback from readers of other Center for Law and Military Operations (CLAMO) publications indicates that oftentimes the materials found in the appendices prove even more useful than the substantive chapters themselves.
In the end, it should be emphasized that this handbook is not a legal “cookbook” for MAGTF JAs, nor a comprehensive collection of legal lessons learned, nor a substitute for primary sources of law. The handbook’s focus is on recurring legal issues faced by deployed MAGTF JAs and constitutes an ambitious attempt to offer legal insight, analysis, and, when possible, guidance.