Consistent with law, existing practice in the military service, emerging and evolving Coast Guard missions, and good business practice, the Eighth District Commander is served by a Staff Judge Advocate who reports directly to the District Commander and provides real-time operational legal advice and legal support to maintenance, logistics, and personnel activities.
The mission of the Staff Judge Advocate and the Judge Advocates on the legal staff is to provide legal counsel to ensure that operations are executed promptly and successfully in accordance with the letter and spirit of the law. The Staff Judge Advocate and operational lawyers must advise operators directly in real-time. Significant legal resources directly support operational commanders and staffs, including direct support to the Maritime Operations Threat Response (MOTR) process, Statements of No Objection (SNO), interventions, searches, investigations, vessel arrests, and ongoing support to a wide variety of maritime safety, security, and environmental protection activities. In addition, the Staff Judge Advocate must be positioned to provide real-time advice to operational decision-makers on the use of force and rules of engagement with they apply, and to evaluate environmental consequences of Coast Guard operations.
Within the Eighth Coast Guard District, the Staff Judge Advocate has assigned Judge Advocates and support staff personnel specific areas of responsibility. By providing each operational command and district staff element with a primary attorney, the Staff Judge Advocate provides a resource that will become familiar with the issues and unique concerns of the varied operational areas within the vast geographic area of our district.
The Staff Judge Advocate is also responsible for administration of the Legal Assistance program. The Coast Guard traditionally has recognized the importance of providing legal support for our personnel in connection with their personal civil legal affairs. Providing such legal support enhances readiness for our personnel, helping to relieve the stress and uncertainty associated with their duties and thus improving both morale and efficiency. Prompt assistance with other personal legal difficulties has a beneficial effect, so the Commandant’s policy is to provide legal assistance to eligible personnel to the fullest extent possible under the law. Within the Eighth Coast Guard District, the Staff Judge Advocate dedicates one full-time attorney, support staff, and a cadre of reserve attorneys to meet the needs of the district's personnel as provided for by the Legal Assistance program.