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The Army Lawyer | Issue 1 2022View PDF

Court is Assembled: Leadership That Empowers People

In his initial message to the Army team as the 40th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General James C. McConville asserted, “People are always my #1 priority: Our Army’s people are our greatest strength and our most important weapon system.”

Book Review: Exercise of Power

Much like the ominous last line of Fitzgerald’s classic, The Great Gatsby, the United States finds itself struggling mightily against a current that stands to push it back into the mistakes and failures of the past. Like Fitzgerald’s boat, citizens press forward against it nonetheless, hoping to move forward. The image is easy to visualize—the struggle, as old as time, to move forward and learn, paying homage to the past while struggling mightily not to relive it.

Lore of the Corps: Not Bergdahl, But Bergdoll

While many readers will have heard of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was court-martialed for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in Afghanistan, few know about the court-martial of a Soldier with a strikingly similar surname—Grover C. Bergdoll. What follows is the story of why this Bergdoll (apparently no kin to Bergdahl) was court-martialed not once, but twice for desertion in World War I—a unique prosecution that lasted twenty years and cost millions of dollars.

Azimuth Check: Would You Rather

“Would you rather” is a game that, in its simplest of forms, stimulates conversation among people unfamiliar with each other. At times, effective leadership requires that one play this game. My hope is that you will have genuine conversations with your teammates where the exchange of ideas, opinions, and reasoning can break down barriers, build trust, and even lead to laughter and surprise.

Practice Notes: Preventing Burnout in a Post-COVID-19 World

The last two years have brought on a never-before-seen era. We transitioned from seeing colleagues daily in the office to occasional meetings on Zoom: a new reality that was likely welcomed by some and hated by others. This shift was dramatic—we all learned new skills to manage our home office (errr dining room) situations. 

Practice Notes: Preparing Judge Advocates for Secondary Trauma

During his time as a captain, Major (MAJ) Sam Smith served as a special victims’ counsel (SVC), trial counsel, and defense counsel. Although MAJ Smith is a voracious reader of crime fiction, an avid fan of Law and Order: SVU, and interned at a county prosecutor’s office in law school, he felt completely unprepared for his experience in the military justice system.

Practice Notes: Holistic Leadership

While the degree may vary, leading subordinates is one of the most important missions of any Service member. That said, effective leaders must balance this effort with ensuring the mission is accomplished, as “[m]ission accomplishment takes priority over everything else . . . .”