OSTC

U.S. Army Office of Special Trial Counsel

Who We Are

The Office of Special Trial Counsel is comprised of specially trained military lawyers, legal professionals and support staff responsible for the expert and independent prosecution of murder, sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, kidnapping and other serious criminal offenses. The OSTC reports directly to the Secretary of the Army and our prosecutorial decisions are independent from the military chains of command of the accused and the victim. OSTC works closely with criminal investigators to thoroughly evaluate evidence and carefully consider all of the facts before making prosecutorial decisions.

A vital part of OSTC are the civilian Special Victim Liaisons assigned within OSTC’s 28 field offices. They are responsible for establishing and maintaining open and consistent lines of communication with victims in cases being handled by the OSTC. SVLs also help victims navigate the military justice process and maintain networks of local resources to ensure victims' needs are met.

The OSTC team takes pride in supporting the Army community and is dedicated to pursuing justice with the utmost fairness and integrity.

Female military lawyer talks to jury
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Military lawyer arguing case in the courtroom.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 231021-A-EF519-1205 - The legal department of the 7th Army Training Command (7ATC), the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, and members of the Nuremberg Judiciary participate in the Long Night of Science at Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg, Germany on Oct. 21, 2023. The biennial cultural event, hosted by a range of scientific institutions including Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, offers diverse programs across the area, highlighting science, culture, and learning. The mock trials, which brought together U.S. Army personnel and host-nation citizens, are the result of a longstanding exchange program between the 7ATC legal office, the Nuremberg Judiciary, and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg. (Photo Credit: Spc. Thomas Dixon) VIEW ORIGINAL

Mission

Our mission is to seek justice by independently and equitably evaluating criminal allegations and effectively prosecuting cases warranted by the evidence in the best interests of the Army community, while maintaining honest, clear communication with victims, the Army, and the public in order to promote trust in the military justice system.

Vision

Our vision is to be a military prosecution unit worthy of America’s trust; committed to wise, informed judgement; skilled case management; and superior advocacy by professional, ethical and engaged legal teams that continuously improve and actively pursue justice in accordance with Constitutional due process.

Leadership

  • Col. Robert A. Rodrigues
    Acting Lead Special Trial Counsel
    Col. Robert A. Rodrigues
  • Col. Catherine L. Brantley
    Deputy Lead Special Trial Counsel — East
    Col. Catherine L. Brantley
  • Col. Robert (Rob) C. Stelle
    Deputy Lead Special Trial Counsel — West
    Col. Robert (Rob) C. Stelle
  • Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hector X. Colon
    Senior Legal Administrator, Operations Officer
    Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hector X. Colon
  • Master Sgt. Kelly Slaughterbeck
    OSTC Chief Paralegal NCO
    Master Sgt. Kelly Slaughterbeck

Locations

The OSTC is headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., and operates 28 field offices across the Army that cover eight circuits.

Installations with a field office are annotated with an *asterisks below.

    • Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
    • Fort Meade, Md.
    • Fort Detrick, Md.
    • Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
    • Fort Belvoir, Va.
    • Fort Eustis, Va.
    • Fort Gregg-Adams, Va.*
    • Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.
    • Fort McNair, D.C.*
    • Fort Drum, N.Y.*
    • U.S. Military Academy, N.Y.*
    • Eglin AFB, Fla.
    • Fort Eisenhower, Ga.*
    • Fort Stewart, Ga.*
    • Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
    • Shaw AFB, S.C.
    • Fort Jackson, S.C.*
    • Fort Liberty, N.C.*
    • Fort Campbell, Ky.*
    • Fort Knox, Ky.*
    • Fort Johnson, La.*
    • Fort Moore, Ga.*
    • Fort Novosel, Ala.
    • Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
    • Fort Carson, Colo.*
    • Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.*
    • Fort Leavenworth, Kan.*
    • Fort Riley, Kan.*
    • Fort Sill, Okla.*
    • Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
    • Fort Bliss, Texas*
    • Fort Cavasos, Texas*
    • Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston, Texas*
    • Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
    • Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.
    • White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
    • Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska*
    • Fort Wainwright, Alaska
    • Fort Irwin, Calif.*
    • Presidio of Monterey, Calif.
    • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.*
    • Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
    • Camp Zama, Japan*
    • Camp Humphreys, Korea*
    • Kaiserslautern, Germany*
    • Grafenwoehr, Germany*
    • Vicenza, Italy*

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Congress directed establishment of the Army’s Office of Special Trial Counsel in the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act to create an independent prosecution and referral authority within the Army for 13 UCMJ offenses known as “covered offenses.” The OSTC authority took effect Dec. 28, 2023. Formal complaints of sexual harassment in violation of Art. 134, UCMJ which are substantiated in accordance with Army Regulation will become covered offenses beginning Jan. 1, 2025. The FY22 NDAA military justice reform measures transferred key authorities from commanders to independent judge advocates on all cases involving covered offenses. The special trial counsel has exclusive authority to 1) determine if a reported offense is a covered offense, 2) make a binding determination to refer charges and specifications to trial by general or special court-martial, 3) enter into plea agreements on behalf of the government, and 4) withdraw or dismiss any charges or specifications. Additionally, a certified special trial counsel must serve as government counsel on any case where charges were referred by a special trial counsel.

  • Special trial counsel exercise authority over serious offenses, called covered offenses, which include murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, domestic violence, stalking, child pornography offenses, and most sexual assault and sexual misconduct offenses. In accordance with the FY23 NDAA, formal complaints of sexual harassment in violation of Art. 134, UCMJ which are substantiated in accordance with Army Regulation will become covered offenses beginning Jan. 1, 2025.

  • For offenses committed on or after Dec. 28, 2023, special trial counsel have exclusive authority to make certain case disposition decisions regarding covered offenses. In accordance with the FY24 NDAA, special trial counsel may exercise authority over certain offenses committed before Dec. 28, 2023, but are not required to do so.

  • The Lead Special Trial Counsel reports directly to the Secretary of the Army. All special trial counsel report to and are supervised by the Lead Special Trial Counsel. They are independent of the military chains of command of the victim and the accused.

  • There is no change in how other offenses are handled by the military justice system. Examples include drug use or distribution, unauthorized absence, desertion, disobedience of a lawful order, and disrespect to a superior commissioned officer.

  • Each special trial counsel has been individually certified to prosecute covered offense cases. To be certified, each prosecutor must meet standards in education, training, experience, and temperament to ensure they are fully qualified to serve in the OSTC. Specifically, military attorneys must have prior training in the handling of covered offense cases, along with significant criminal litigation experience, in order to be certified.

  • If the reported offense alleges a covered offense occurring after Dec. 28, 2023, then it will be referred to special trial counsel who will exercise exclusive disposition authority. Where special trial counsel decide not to refer charges and specifications to trial by general or special court-martial, Commanders may still pursue nonjudicial punishment or take adverse administrative action against the accused. There is no change in how non-covered offenses are handled by the military justice system. These offenses will be referred to Commanders for appropriate disposition, after consultation with their servicing judge advocate.

  • It depends. If there is insufficient evidence of any crime to prosecute, no further action is typically taken. However, in cases returned to the command, the command may choose to subject the alleged offender to non-judicial punishment, administrative discipline, or a discharge action.

  • Yes, prosecutorial decisions made by the special trial counsel are binding and are fully independent from the military chains of command of the victim and the accused.

  • Sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates continue to provide the same services to victims, including ensuring they receive the care they deserve through efforts such as addressing safety needs, explaining reporting options, ensuring they receive the appropriate medical and non-medical care and support, and advocating for the victim throughout the process. While it is important for SARCs and VAs to be aware of the changes to the legal process and how they impact the decision of a victim to file an unrestricted or restricted report, SARCs and VAs support victims regardless of how they choose to report.

  • Sexual harassment will not be considered a “covered offense” until Jan. 1, 2025. Until then, sexual harassment will continue to be handled under the previous system. Commanders, with advice from judge advocates, determine what to do in those cases. Sexual harassment allegations will be covered offenses if the date of the incident is after Jan. 1, 2025, a formal complaint is made, and the complaint is substantiated.

OSTC Posters

Report A Crime

If you have been the subject or survivor of a crime, or require immediate assistance call 911 or your local Military Police station.

Military policeman in uniform.
240205-A-RK885-9257 - U.S. Army Spc. Daniel Wooden, a military police specialist with 59th Military Police Company, 759th Military Police Battalion, poses for a picture on Fort Carson, Colorado, Feb. 5, 2024. “Wooden is a very driven soldier, who sets the standard for military police,” said his noncommissioned officer, Staff Sgt. Adam Harris, a military police officer with 59th MP Co., 759th MP Bn. (Photo Credit: Pvt. Cecilia Ochoa) VIEW ORIGINAL

► Click here if you would like to submit a tip or report a crime to the Army Criminal Investigation Division.

Contact Us

Headquarters, U.S. Army Office of Special Trial Counsel
5850 21st Street
Building 211 (2nd Floor)
Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060-9998


Email: usarmy.pentagon.hqda-otjag.mbx.ostc@army.mil

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Female military attorney in uniform argues case in a military courtroom.
231021-A-EF519-3179 - The legal department of the 7th Army Training Command (7ATC), the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, and members of the Nuremberg Judiciary participate in the Long Night of Science at Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg, Germany on Oct. 21, 2023. The biennial cultural event, hosted by a range of scientific institutions including Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, offers diverse programs across the area, highlighting science, culture, and learning. The mock trials, which brought together U.S. Army personnel and host-nation citizens, are the result of a longstanding exchange program between the 7ATC legal office, the Nuremberg Judiciary, and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg. (Photo Credit: Spc. Thomas Dixon) VIEW ORIGINAL