Secrecy News

Legal Support to Military Operations

The conduct of warfare today raises challenging new legal issues that require prompt and operationally sound responses, according to a new publication (pdf) from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Modern military operations take place in an increasingly complex geo-political environment. The classic scenario of defending against cross-border aggression represents only one of the challenges facing current [joint forces]. Stability operations, foreign humanitarian assistance operations, and civil-military operations present increased requirements for direct legal support,” the new document states.

“Military lawyers were true combat multipliers in Iraq,” said General David H. Petraeus, who is now U.S. commander in Iraq. “I tried to get all the lawyers we could get our hands on — and then sought more.”

The missions and functions of military lawyers and organizations are described in “Legal Support to Military Operations,” Joint Publication JP 1-04, March 1, 2007.

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