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NEWS | July 5, 2023

KYARNG Judge Advocates complete Basic Trial Advocacy Course

By 1st Lt. Kaitlin Baudendistel, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office,

Eight Kentucky Army National Guard Judge Advocate Generals (JAG) recently completed the Basic Trial Advocacy Course (BTAC) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia from May 7-15, 2023. The course, hosted by the Trial Counsel Assistance Program (TCAP), marked the National Guard's first training session at TCAP. This move reflects the Judge Advocate General of the United States Army’s commitment to promoting Active Duty, Army Reserve and National Guard integration. The integration efforts were set in motion by Lt. Col. Richard Couch, the newest military judge in the Kentucky National Guard JAG Corps. 
Operated by the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency and the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, the Trial Counsel Assistance Program provides invaluable assistance, resources, and training to Judge Advocates fulfilling their roles as military prosecutors. As Kentucky progresses towards conducting Court Martials, the opportunity to train under TCAP offers the Kentucky JAGs essential experience. 
The Basic Trial Advocacy Course stands as the premier training event for military justice practitioners within the United States Army. The course concentrates on equipping individuals with the necessary skills to excel as military prosecutors, command advisors, and courtroom advocates.  With the aid of fictional case files, TCAP instructors guide students through trial advocacy drills, encompassing opening statements, direct and cross examinations, closing arguments, and sentencing arguments. 
Moreover, the course provides a platform for JAGs and course instructors to engage in discussions, assessments, and evaluations of ongoing cases within their jurisdictions. 
"Personally, this was one of the best professional training courses I have attended. The instructors were highly knowledgeable and offered valuable advice and strategies based on their own experiences," said Capt. Charla Sands, trial counsel for the 75th Troop Command. 
Outside the classroom, participants had the privilege of meeting with Col. Natalie Lewellen, a former KYARNG Staff Judge Advocate, who shared her experiences and provided guidance on career development. 
"I always hold great respect and appreciation for advice and mentorship from individuals who have been in the arena, possess extensive experience, and have witnessed both success and failure. My classmates held different roles and assignments, so comparing our experiences was enlightening," said Sands. 
Capt. Joshua Bryant, judge advocate for the 38th DIVARTY, also attended the course and emphasized its significance. 
"This was an excellent opportunity to observe the entire court martial process and establish interoperability for Title 10 deployments and potential military justice concerns that may arise from them," explained Bryant. "It also provided practical skills development, such as constructing arguments and conducting research on various emerging issues." 
The Kentucky Army National Guard's participation in the Basic Trial Advocacy Course at TCAP not only enhances the proficiency of their Judge Advocates but also strengthens the integration between Active Duty, Army Reserve, and National Guard units, facilitating a unified and efficient military justice system. 

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