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April, 23

Department of the Air Force’s Office of Special Trial Counsel fully operational

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On Dec. 28, the Department of the Air Force’s Office of Special Trial Counsel became fully operational, providing expert, independent and ethical representation of the United States in matters primarily involving victim-based offenses.  


Pursuant to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, each service established an OSTC to represent the United States in the investigation and prosecution of 14 categories of offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. These offenses are primarily victim-based offenses, including sex-related crimes, incidents of interpersonal violence, sexual harassment and some violent offenses. 


OSTC will integrate with commanders, law enforcement and installation legal offices to ensure accountability for perpetrators of sexual assault, domestic violence and other violent crimes, and will make determinations about whether a covered offense will be tried by a general or special court-martial.  


From the initial report of a criminal allegation to final disposition, OSTC operations will integrate with local law enforcement and legal professionals across the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. 


“I am committed to the success of this path forward,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “That success depends on the willingness of victims of these crimes and others to report offenses when they do occur. We know this can be an extremely difficult decision. We will do everything we can to ensure victims are supported and justice is done.” 


In December 2022, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Christopher Brown was confirmed by the Senate as the Lead Special Trial Counsel, directly reporting to the Secretary of the Air Force. He is supported by a team of specialized prosecutors and paralegals.  


“Every OSTC litigator is personally selected, specially trained and qualified, and vetted from nomination through certification. This process ensures our counsel are experts in the execution, management and supervision of complex litigation,” said Brown. 


The STC Qualification Course includes practical exercises and an objective final exam, testing each candidate’s knowledge and ability to manage the investigation and prosecution of covered offenses. 


The OSTC headquarters is located on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C., and there are six command-aligned field operations:  


  • District 1: Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Air Force District of Washington 


  • Located on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia


  • District 2: Air Mobility Command and Air Force Materiel Command 


  • Located on Travis Air Force Base, California 


  • District 3: Space Operations Command, Space System Command, Space Training and Readiness Command, Air Force Global Strike Command, and U.S. Air Force Academy 


  • Located on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas 


  • District 4: Air Education and Training Command  


  • Located on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas 


  •  District 5: U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa 


  • Located on Ramstein Air Base, Germany 


  • District 6: Pacific Air Forces 


  • Located on Kadena Air Base, Japan 


“Notwithstanding OSTC’s independent authority, commanders remain a crucial stakeholder in the military justice system with the ultimate responsibility for command climate and good order and discipline within their units,” Brown said. “Commanders of victims and accused are uniquely suited to provide input to OSTC disposition decisions, and we welcome their perspective.” 



Originally published at http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/3641644/department-of-the-air-forces-office-of-special-trial-counsel-fully-operational/

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