As the Navy transforms to meet 21st century obligations, its attorneys must sustain their ability to provide competent legal services. What core competencies should be required? What areas of legal expertise are needed to fully serve operational commanders, facilities commands, and the medical departments? Should specialized legal services be provided by civilian or uniformed attorneys? The significance of these issues became clear in my last days on active duty when I sought the expertise of a legal specialist, only to learn that he had taken another position on short notice without a relief.
Navy JAGs may need subject-matter expertise in International/Oceans Law, Environmental Law, Health Law, Tax Law, and Military Justice/Trial Advocacy, some recognized with professional (or P-code) designations. Other practice areas requiring legal proficiency and expertise include Admiralty and Maritime Law, National Security Law, Personnel Law, and Legislative Affairs with no formal specialization programs.