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U.S., Jordanian military legal professionals gain greater understanding through joint symposium

By Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne 29th Infantry Division

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AMMAN, Jordan, May 10, 2017 — U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force legal professionals from the U.S. Central Command area of operations teamed with 10 Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army military judges for a four-day symposium on operational law and military justice April 24-27, 2017, near Amman, Jordan.

A military judge from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army leads a discussion on operational law and military justice during a U.S.-Jordanian military legal symposium April 27, 2017, near Amman, Jordan. The four-day symposium included U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force legal professionals from the U.S. Central Command and military judges from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne)
A military judge from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army leads a discussion on operational law and military justice during a U.S.-Jordanian military legal symposium April 27, 2017, near Amman, Jordan. The four-day symposium included U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force legal professionals from the U.S. Central Command and military judges from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne)
A military judge from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army leads a discussion on operational law and military justice during a U.S.-Jordanian military legal symposium April 27, 2017, near Amman, Jordan. The four-day symposium included U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force legal professionals from the U.S. Central Command and military judges from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne) U.S., Jordanian military legal professionals gain greater understanding through joint symposium
A military judge from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army leads a discussion on operational law and military justice during a U.S.-Jordanian military legal symposium April 27, 2017, near Amman, Jordan. The four-day symposium included U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force legal professionals from the U.S. Central Command and military judges from the Jordan Armed Forces- Arab Army. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne)
The event provided an opportunity for U.S. and JAF professionals to exchange ideas and best practices while developing a deeper understanding of each other's military.

"One of the purposes of the symposium was to provide insight into both the Jordanian and U.S. military justice structures," said Capt. John Parson, a Command Judge Advocate with the 29th Infantry Division.

"Legal symposiums between allied forces are an important tool to ensure the Judge Advocates have a clear understanding of how allies perform on the battlefield and thus can properly advise the commander when working in a fluid environment," said Col. Brent Johnson, Staff Judge Advocate for the 29th Infantry Division and Task Force Spartan.

In addition to overviews of both the U.S. and Jordanian military justice systems, topics of the symposium included Operational and International Law, Law of Armed Conflict, Joint Targeting Process, Rules of Engagement, Rights of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, Military Justice, and Attorney Ethics.

Parson said he gained a greater appreciation for the JAF judges.

"Often times legal concepts do not translate well in the native language but to grasp these concepts in a language, which is not your own, brings great credit to the astute legal minds of the JAF judges," he said. "They were very earnest and frank discussing the concepts of law of armed conflict within the application to the current operational and geopolitical environment."

In addition to five Maryland and Virginia National Guard Judge Advocates from the 29th Infantry Division, U.S. participants included legal personnel from 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing and U.S. Army Central.

"The young Judge Advocates got immense personal growth from the engagement," Johnson said. "The question and answer period with the Jordanians gave the young Judge Advocates an in-depth opportunity to understand the Jordanian perspective on the material and how it is applied."