By Sgt Tamika Exom (ARSOUTH)March 8, 2012
Chipman presented Charles "Chuck" P. Koutras, chief of legal assistance, U.S. Army South, with the 2010 American Bar Association's Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) award during the State of the Corps forum with the Soldiers, "For your excellence in legal assistance," said Chipman.
The LAMP award, as an individual award is in recognition of a major legal assistance innovation or rendering exceptional service or support to the military legal assistance effort.
Koutras, a former Navy Judge Advocate, was recruited by Tom Johnston, supervisory attorney for Army South in 2007 to assist with the implementation of the new Army South Legal Assistance Program. The program provides on-site legal assistance services to DOD personnel forward deployed within Army South's area of responsibility.
U.S. Army South, a direct reporting unit to U.S. Southern Command, conducts Theater Security Cooperation in order to enhance hemispheric security and stability and on order conducts contingency operations as directed by U.S. Southern Command.
"The [JAG] program that we run in Central and South America and the Caribbean is not duplicated anywhere else in the world," said Koutras. "It's a unique program, run by one person and requires that person to constantly be on top of all of the needs of the military members throughout the area of responsibility."
Koutras received the LAMP Award for providing significant innovation, superior effort, and exceptional service in the on-site delivery of the full-spectrum legal assistance services to U.S. Armed Forces in 32 countries throughout Central America, South America, and the Caribbean Basin, an area converging 1/16th of the Earth's surface that in the past had no legal assistance services. Koutras was selected for the award in 2011 for recognized efforts in 2010.
The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate provides operational and international law advice to the personnel of U.S. Army South. The legal advice pertains to all of the core legal competencies and includes aid to civil authorities, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, legal status of deployed personnel in other nations, rules of engagement, and applicability of host nation law.