Rear Admiral Batson assumed the duties of the Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel in June of 2023. He has the privilege to lead a dedicated group of legal professionals who are responsible for the delivery of all legal services in support of the Coast Guard’s missions, its units, and its people. His previous assignment was as Chief of Staff for the Fifth Coast Guard District, where he was responsible for all Coast Guard missions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from central New Jersey through North Carolina, covering 156,000 square miles of ocean, bays, and rivers, the major Mid- Atlantic ports, and our Nation’s Capital.
As a Judge Advocate, Rear Admiral Batson previously served as the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Legal Service Command, providing nationwide full-spectrum legal support for the Coast Guard’s Mission Support enterprise, and military justice and court-martial support for the entire U.S. Coast Guard. He also served as the Executive Assistant to the Judge Advocate General and as Chief of the Office of Legal Policy and Program Development; as a member of the Military Justice Review Group, established by the DoD General Counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of the military justice system; as Staff Judge Advocate at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown; the Contract and Fiscal Law Branch and Operations Law Branch at Coast Guard Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic; and as a Trial Counsel at the U.S. Navy Trial Service Office at Naval Station Norfolk. In 2008, he was appointed to the Trial Judiciary and served as a Military Judge, presiding at Courts-Martial throughout the Coast Guard until 2012.
Rear Admiral Batson has also served in a variety of assignments outside the legal program, including as Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the Commandant of the Coast Guard; Executive Officer of Maritime Intelligence Fusion Center Atlantic; Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Tampa, Florida, where he served as Senior Investigating Officer and Chief of Waterways Management; the Marine Investigations and Analysis Division at Coast Guard Headquarters; and the Coast Guard Cutter WOODRUSH, home ported in Sitka, Alaska. Rear Admiral Batson is 1987 graduate of Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Music Industry Studies. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1989 and attended QM “A” school immediately following Basic Training. He was commissioned in 1993 following graduation from Officer Candidate School.
Rear Admiral Batson is a 1998 graduate of Troy University with Master of Public Administration degree; a 2014-2015 Seminar XXI Fellow in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies; and a 2016 graduate of the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at National Defense University, where he earned the Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy. He received his law degree (cum laude) in 2002 from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.