JAG Conference held at Hancock Field
By Maj. Jeffrey Brown, 174th FW
/ Published June 17, 2010
Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, SYRACUSE, NY -- Air National Guard Council of the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force held one of it's national meetings at Hancock Field from June 4-5.
Maj. Gen. Andrew F. Turley, the ANG Assistant to the TJAG and Chair of the Council, led a distinguished team of legal professionals as they discussed issues ranging from personnel readiness to legal doctrine.
"This was a great opportunity to hear first-hand about the legal challenges involved in standing up a new mission like the MQ-9 at Hancock Field," said Turley. "It was an immensely productive meeting and an immensely important one because Council members have not had the opportunity to directly relate to this important new mission."
The ANG JAG Council is composed of 13 "assistants" from each of the major commands in the Air Force, as well as five senior enlisted members. Members are selected from across the ANG on a competitive basis for three year terms. The Council's primary mission is to develop and implement policy affecting lawyers in the ANG.
The meeting began with a mission briefing from Col. Kevin Bradley, commander of the 174th Fighter Wing. This briefing was supposed to last 45-minutes, but it turned into an hour and a half discussion with all involved about the Wing's new MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft mission.
The 174th Fighter Wing recently converted from the F-16 Fighting Falcon to the state-of-the-art MQ-9 Reaper. The Reaper is a remotely piloted aircraft that can stay aloft for 15 hours in support of ground forces in Afghanistan, providing coalition forces with round-the-clock intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
A long-term goal of the 174th is to fly MQ-9s out of Hancock Field after extensive coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. In light of this goal, a major issue discussed at the Council meeting was how JAGs can provide legal advice when RPAs are used domestically. The Council also received a briefing about the 152nd Air Operations Group which is located on Hancock Field.
After concluding the first day of the meeting, Council members visited nearby Skaneateles and participated in a dinner cruise around the lake. Council members also toured the base's Field Training Detachment, the site where all MQ-9 Reaper maintenance personnel (active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve) obtain specialized training to perform various maintenance functions.
"I can see that this organization is well run, well led, and has very motivated and dedicated people," Turley told members of the Council as he wrapped up the meeting. "Our main mission as JAGs is to support commanders, and we helped foster that mission with this meeting. We got to kick the tires on the MQ-9, hear from the 152nd Air Operations Group and reaffirm how much the Air Guard is engaged. In short, it was a great team building opportunity. "