Army’s first Advocacy Center opens on Fort Belvoir

By Margaret SteeleMay 10, 2022

Army opens first legal Advocacy Center on Fort Belvoir
Lt. Gen. Stuart Risch, the Army Judge Advocate General, speaks at the opening of the Army's first Advocacy Center, on Fort Belvoir, Va., May 5, 2022. (Photo Credit: Margaret Steele) VIEW ORIGINAL

“ … Zealous in our desire for true justice; centered in respect toward all others; committed to honor and integrity, as we serve; and humble as we seek guidance.”

That was part of the invocation bestowed on Army legal professionals, by chaplain, Maj. Michael Lindsay, at the opening of the Army’s first Advocacy Center, on Fort Belvoir, Va. May 5.

“The opening culminates a vision that started three years ago,” said Michael Mulligan. “To create an advocacy training center to cultivate and refine the talents of the already-talented litigators of the Army. Mulligan, a former judge on the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, is the center’s first director.

Lt. Gen. Stuart Risch, the judge advocate general, hosted the ribbon-cutting, and thanked the large team who contributed to making the Advocacy Center a reality.

“Educational institutions like this Advocacy Center will provide the facility, resources and subject-matter expert training and expertise, so our regiment and others can best fulfil our missions,” Risch said. “This Advocacy Center will build on our world-class training around the globe and complement, but not replace, existing training. The sky is really the limit as to what we can train, here.

“This will change us from effective practitioners, to expert practitioners in our field,” he added. “This will be the crown jewel of litigation and advocacy training for the DoD.”

Now, Soldiers’ and civilians’ legal training begins in Charlottesville, Va., and other locations, with follow-on advocacy training conducted in a variety of worldwide locations.

The Army Advocacy Center is the only one in the Defense Department and is modeled after the Justice Department’s National Advocacy Center in Columbia, S.C.

Construction began last fall on the $7 million, nearly 9,300 square-feet facility.

The first, in-class session begins four days after the ribbon-cutting, with courses already scheduled through September.