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The position of the General Counsel of the Department of Defense was established by the Reorganization Plan No. 6 of 1953 and by Defense Directive 5145.1, August 24, 1953. The position was derived from one of the original three Special Assistants to the Secretary (1947) and the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legal and Legislative Affairs) (1949).

Congress accepted Reorganization Plan No. 6, and it became effective on June 30, 1953. Reorganization Plan No. 6 established the General Counsel of the Department of Defense as substantially equivalent in rank to the Assistant Secretaries of Defense. The authority of the General Counsel as the Department's Chief Legal Officer is codified in 10 U.S.C. §140.

DoD Law of War Manual - June 2015, Updated May 2016

The Department of Defense Law of War Manual is an on-line publication available at this website, where it can be reviewed online or downloaded. This reduces costs, enables immediate and wide access, and ensures that future revisions are likewise immediately and widely available to users. Users are welcome to print out the manual for themselves. At this time, however, there is no print edition.



Attorney Term Positions

The DoD Office of General Counsel is soliciting resumes for multiple attorney term positions. These individuals will be part of an interagency team representing the government in over 200 habeas corpus petitions filed in D.C. District Court by individuals detained by DoD at Guantanamo Bay. These positions start immediately and are for a term of no longer than 3 years. The positions are GS13, 14, or 15 commensurate with experience and other factors. The ideal candidate will have a background in civil or criminal litigation, experience with intelligence matters and an active security clearance. These positions will be in the Washington, D.C. area, with the potential for some travel to Guantanamo. Send resumes detailing relevant experience to Kim Guy at:


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