Former TTU Law dean to serve on Dept. of Defense Committee

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Updated: 8/04/2012 7:24 am

A much decorated Texas Tech faculty member received yet another opportunity to serve his country.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appointed Walt Huffman, Texas Tech's law school dean emeritus, to the newly-formed Defense Legal Policy Board.

The 12-member board was formed to address significant legal issues during the multiple U.S. armed forces missions since 2001.

No ongoing cases will be affected by any determination the board might make, one case in particular, according to Jeh Johnson, the Department of Defense's top lawyer, is the 1995 case where eight U.S. Marines where charged in connection to an incident in Haditha, Iraq, in which 24 Iraqis died. All eight Marines where charged. Six saw their charges dropped, one was acquitted, and only in January did the final defendant make a plea agreement that will keep him out of the brig.

Another case which will not be affected but fits the mold of the new committee's task is that of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is charged with the premeditated murder of 16 Afghan villagers in March.

In the letter appointing Huffman co-chair of the military justice subcommittee Panetta states, “For offenses that take place in a country in which we operate alongside the civilian population, it is critical that our system of military justice be efficient, fair, dependable and credible.”

In a statement, Huffman said, “It is a great honor to be appointed to this important national defense policy board, and it is a privilege to serve with such a distinguished group of lawyers and national security experts.”

Huffman, who served as law school dean from 2002 to 2009, is also a retired Army major general and Judge Advocate General for the Army.

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