JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Army Maj. Gen. Stuart W. Risch, U.S. Army deputy Judge Advocate General, visited Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston for an Article 6 inspection Jan. 9.
According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 6 states that the Judge Advocate General or senior members of his staff shall make frequent inspection in the field in supervision of the administration of military justice.
“We are statutorily required to inspect our field on a frequent bases; we look at the full spectrum of the services we provided from legal assistance and environmental law to contracting law and international operational law,” Risch said.
However, the visit wasn’t just to inspect the offices in the JAG Corps -- it also served as a morale booster.
“The purpose for this visit was twofold: to inspect and ensure that all policy and procedures are being followed, and to serve as a morale visit to check-in on our folks and to ensure they have the resources they need to accomplish the mission.” Risch said. “This is the best part of my job because I get to visit with the personnel we have in this career field.”
One of the stops made during the Article 6 visit was to the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) Staff Judge Advocate office.
“The visit was a great opportunity. Whenever you have the opportunity for your office as a staff judge advocate to hear from the JAG Corps leadership it’s always beneficial,” said Col. Lance Hamilton, staff judge advocate for U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) and Army Support Activity. “It serves as a morale booster and it generates excitement amongst your team to go out and continue the JAG Corps mission.”
Although this was Risch’s first Article 6 visit, he said, “My goal for this trip was to speak with as many JAG personnel as possible whether they are civilian or military, and thank them for all that they do while listening to their questions and concerns.”
“As a senior member of JAG corps, I see these Article 6 visits as being extremely beneficial for civilian personnel because they don’t always get to interact with the leadership,” Hamilton said. “I also see it as a significant benefit for the younger judge advocates and paralegals to see their leadership team in person to engage with them in formal and informal settings. It allows everyone to understand that our JAG corps leadership is approachable.”
Throughout the Article 6 visit, one of the top priorities was to communicate strategic priorities of the JAG Corps.
“We do a State of the Corps with the JAG personnel to let them know what’s new in the career field, what the Judge Advocate General’s expectations are, and to inform them of any changes or updates to laws and regulations,” Risch said.
One of the changes to the regulation was in 2016’s Military Justice Act.
“The military justice Act of 2016 was in enacted, which was one of the most comprehensive changes to the UCMJ in about 50 years. That is our seminal document and what governs good order and discipline in the military,” Risch said. “We wanted to talk about any issues or concerns because our paralegals and attorneys have to understand the changes for correct application of the doctrine.”
“The visit reconfirms one of the tenants of the JAG Corp that I always find advantageous; we are one family, which espouses the ‘one team, one fight’ philosophy,” Hamilton said.
During fiscal year 2018, members of the JAG staff leadership are slated to participate in 17 Article 6 visits. And, as for Risch, his next Article 6 visit is to United States Army Pacific area in February. USARPAC has jurisdiction over Hawaii, Alaska, South Korea and Japan.