Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates today appointed retired Navy Vice Adm. Bruce E. MacDonald to the position of convening authority for military commissions. During his 23 year judge advocate general career, MacDonald served on the staffs of U.N. Command, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Naval Forces, Korea. He also was the Seventh Fleet judge advocate in Japan, commander of Naval Legal Service Command and special counsel to the Chief of Naval Operations.
MacDonald expects to take office immediately. A noted expert on military law, the depth and breadth of his experiences for more than two decades was taken into consideration for this appointment.
The position of convening authority was created by Congress in the Military Commissions Act. The convening authority is responsible for overseeing many aspects of the military commission process and the administration of the Office of Military Commissions. Among other things, the convening authority reviews and approves charges against persons determined to be unprivileged belligerents as defined in the Military Commissions Act, appoints military commissions members, and reviews military commissions’ verdicts and sentences.