USALSA commander has special connection with Fort Belvoir
October 31, 2013
The U.S. Army Legal Services Agency's newest commander, Brig. Gen. Charles N. Pede, has a unique connection to Fort Belvoir -- his father also commanded an agency here 30 years ago.
Former Brig. Gen. August R. Pede commanded Computer Systems Command (now the Network Enterprise Center) just blocks from the USALSA building -- inspiring his son to continue the tradition of service.
"This is a special privilege for me to be here at Fort Belvoir in command because my father was in command here in 1984 and '85," Pede said. "This is where he retired at 30 years, but he was in command of Computer Systems Command not three streets down from this building. That connection is just indescribable to me and it just (imbues) my duties here with that much more seriousness and excitement."
Since he took command Sept. 30, Pede has been getting to know the people who work for him in the various USALSA divisions.
"In the three weeks I've been here, I've been able to meet them, talk with them about their practice, how much they love their practice of law -- they love serving their clients -- and the difference they make, whether it's saving the government $60 million or, if you're in litigation, protecting the government's interests, and if you're in the criminal arena, defending Soldiers or resourcing prosecutions," Pede said.
His vision for the organization is to continue to provide first-class service for the U.S. Army and Department of Defense and to help USALSA switch to a peacetime mindset as the Army draws down in Afghanistan.
"As we come out of war, we maintain a focus forward to those who still are engaged in Afghanistan and elsewhere," he said. However, "war has a way of tending to cause judge advocates to focus on a certain part of our practice … and other types of things tend to atrophy. My goal is to ensure that in all of our practice areas, we are perfectly proficient."
Pede said he is thankful for the chance to command such a historic and vital agency in the Army, especially in its impressive new building.
"The experience has been unlike anything else I've done before. It's an incredibly diverse command, in terms of the types of legal practice represented," he said.
"Anybody would be proud to come here and see how their law firm in the United States Army is housed and is practicing law," he added. "It's an extraordinary organization filled with just incredibly dedicated civilian professionals and uniformed professionals whose greatest interest is in serving our clients."
Pede's interest in the people who work for him is something he inherited from his father, as Thomas Prisco, a USALSA employee who worked for both August and Charles Pede, can attest to.
"They seem to have the same type of personality. They let their divisions do their job. They're just people friendly," said Prisco, 64, who started working for the Army under August Pede at Computer Systems Command 30 years ago and now works for USALSA as an accountant.
"(USALSA) is 500 feet from where I started my career," Prisco said. "I just remember it each time I drive by it."
"I might start it under (Brigadier) General Pede and end it under (Brigadier) General Pede," he added, laughing.
USALSA supports the Judge Advocate General and supervises more than 20 different activities.
For more information, visit https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/USALSAFRG.