The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, has a new leader at the helm with the arrival of Lt. Col. Charles Halverson.
Halverson has served in the Army for 18 years and specializes in contract law. In his new position as SJA, he also serves as a legal advisor to Maj. Gen. Todd Royar, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.
Halverson transferred to Team Redstone from the 409th Contracting Support Brigade in Kaiserslautern, Germany, with his family – which includes another Army lawyer: Lt. Col. Candace White Halverson.
Early in his career, Halverson was on a different career path that didn’t involve military service. He and his wife were living in Washington, D.C., when they made the decision to leave their jobs and attend law school full time. She had a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin and, once he was admitted, they picked up stakes and moved to the dairy state.
The pair were in their second of year of law school in 2001 when a catastrophic event changed their plans for the future.
“9/11 happened and we had a swell of patriotism,” said Halverson. “She was an Army brat and this is what she knew growing up. She had an idea she wanted to serve even before 9/11 but she wasn’t sure how.”
Halverson said the events of that day sealed the deal for them and they both joined the Army after graduating from law school. Halverson stayed on active duty, but his wife made the switch to the U.S. Army Reserve after their second child was born. She is the deputy commander of the 13th Legal Operations Detachment in Maryland.
Although he didn’t initially plan to make the Army a career, Halverson has enjoyed being part of the tight-knit group of attorneys that comprise the Judge Advocate General Corps.
“The JAG Corps is a really small regiment in the Army and you meet a lot of other attorneys and your paths cross all the time,” said Halverson. “It’s so supportive. You move around, but everywhere you go, you already have a ready-made community.”
His goals for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate include increasing awareness of its preventive law mission and expanding the scope of services provided to include more consumer issues. Halverson said plans are in motion to bring onboard another attorney in the next few months to assist in that endeavor.
“At the moment, we’re sort of limited. We do a lot of estate planning for people, powers of attorney – and we have a big tax center mission here when tax season kicks off,” said Halverson. “The Army's legal assistance mission is bigger than that and I think we can be bigger than that.”
Another project he would like to tackle is working with Army Community Service to once again provide legal briefs, which are currently being provided by attorneys in the local community. It’s one of many improvements he hopes to bring to the position.