Military Commissions Personnel Announcement

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has designated the Honorable Paul L. Oostburg Sanz to serve as the convening authority for military commissions.

Oostburg Sanz is currently the general counsel of the Department of the Navy and will serve as convening authority on an interim basis until Secretary Carter designates a replacement for retired Maj. Gen. Vaughn A. Ary. Ary’s voluntary resignation is effective March 21.

“I want to thank Vaughn Ary for his leadership, service and dedication,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. “As a recognized expert on military law, with great depth and distinguished years of experience, he made critical contributions to our nation and served admirably.”

Oostburg Sanz will continue to serve as the Department of the Navy’s chief legal officer while serving as convening authority. He previously served as interim convening authority and the interim director of the Office of Military Commissions from March 20, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014.

Prior to his appointment as general counsel of the Navy, Oostburg Sanz served as the general counsel of the Committee on Armed Services in the United States House of Representatives. As the senior legal advisor to the chairman of the committee and its 61 other members, he provided legal counsel on an expansive range of national defense issues, including the final drafting and passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. In this role, Oostburg Sanz was also instrumental in the drafting and the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2009.

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 the charging of persons alleged to be alien unprivileged enemy belligerents as defined in the Military Commissions Act, appoints military commissions members, and reviews military commissions’ verdicts and sentences.

Oostburg Sanz’s biography is available at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=575.

Release No: NR-088-15
March 18, 2015

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