By Capt. Tony MassariSeptember 4, 2010
COB ADDER, Iraq - Many Soldiers hear about the 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division's legal section and the first thing that comes to mind is the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but this team of Soldiers does much more for the 'Iron' Brigade than advise commanders on non-judicial punishment cases.
The brigade legal section, run by Maj. Rob Insani, the brigade judge advocate and native of Dallas, handles many tasks to ensure his unit's Soldiers are prepared to handle many legal situations during a deployment.
One of the legal team's responsibilities is dealing with powers of attorney, which allow Soldiers to appoint someone to legally act on their behalf while deployed.
"A power of attorney is important because it allows spouses to enroll themselves or their children in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, register vehicles, sign housing contracts, and file taxes," said Sgt. Robert Grandham, a Dallas native serving as the paralegal noncommissioned officer in charge for the 3rd AAB, which is currently attached to the 1st Infantry Division as a part of United States Division-South.
The legal team's responsibility does not stop with legal advice and paperwork. They provide critical training to Soldiers concerning the deployment, such as presentations on the security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq that governs Soldiers' actions while deployed.
"Training on the security agreement is important," Insani said. "The brigade commander has placed a priority of complying with the letter and spirit of the agreement in all operations. This demonstrates to our Iraqi counterparts that we are committed to the rule of law."
The legal section puts out weekly vignettes of different Security Agreement scenarios Soldiers may face in Iraq. The vignettes include questions and answers on appropriate actions in each circumstance. These vignettes and classes help Soldiers understand the proper actions to take in unfamiliar situations.
In addition to helping Soldiers, Insani and his team work with local lawyers, judges and Iraqi Police in southern Iraq to help improve their judiciary system. The legal team gives classes on human rights, evidence collection, federalism, and techniques for issuing and obtaining warrants.
Denver native Maj. Dan McAullife is a U.S. Army Reservist and civilian lawyer, who serves as the deputy brigade judge advocate and works closely with the Iraqi Government on improving its judicial system.
McAulliffe said the legal section, in conjunction with the Dhi Qar Provincial Reconstruction Team, recently had a seminar where judges helped police investigators learn how to successfully collect evidence and procedurally use that evidence in criminal prosecutions.
Despite what many people may believe, the legal team does much more than disciplinary paperwork. From helping ensure Soldiers' legal needs are met to training brigade and Iraqi officials, Insani and his team provide critical services to Task Force Iron.