U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command mobilizes scores of judge advocates to lead fight against COVID-19
By Maj. Adam HillMay 27, 2020
GAITHERSBURG, Md. – The United States Army Reserve Legal Command (USARLC) mobilized over 100 attorneys and paralegals across the United States to provide critical legal support in the fight against COVID-19.“We are directly supporting the American people right now. We have judge advocates, paralegals and legal administrators who have been mobilized across the country,” said Brig. Gen. Marilyn Chiafullo, USARLC commanding general, during a May 8, 2020, virtual address to her troops.USARLC mobilized its Soldiers in the fight against the pandemic with as little as 24-48 hours’ notice. USARLC’s professionals have provided legal support during Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) events for over 3,200 medical personnel during their mobilizations across the country.USARLC Soldiers provide legal assistance to Army Reserve medical professionals including wills, powers of attorney, COVID-19 financial hardship matters, and mobilization legal briefings on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the Posse Comitatus Act and standing rules for the use of force.Those medical Soldiers made up Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTF), expeditionary and deployable medical staff used to reinforce communities impacted by COVID-19 throughout the nation. Those units meet unique medical requirements, including augmenting hospital staffs and supporting nationwide FEMA medical staffs.Prompt legal assistance to mobilize UAMTFs was necessary for medical professionals to focus on their crucial missions.“The UAMTFs are the vanguard of the U.S. Army Reserve’s fight against the coronavirus and COVID-19. In order to help mobilize these forces, Army Reserve judge advocates, paralegals and legal administrators have utilized successful force health protection efforts to innovatively conduct over 30 missions across the country and mobilization sites,” said ChiafulloMobilized U.S. Army Reserve JAG Soldiers also respond to requests for assistance from civil authorities for domestic emergencies, law enforcement support and numerous other domestic activities during the nationwide emergency.“As part of the seamless integration with U.S. Army North, they are providing the key advice and counsel on topics such as mutual aid agreements, authorities on quarantine and isolation, privacy, mortuary affairs and federal ethics rules,” said Chiafullo.COVID-19 is known as a pandemic that thrives in close combat.“This is the fight we’re in, and we’re here to win it,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command.By remaining mission-focused and adaptable, the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command faces these challenges head-on with the intent to win.