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Assistant General Counsel (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

The Department of the Navy (DON), since at least the 1970s, has been actively engaged in finding alternatives for resolving disputes. In 1986, the first DON policy regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was issued, concluding that “every reasonable step must be taken to resolve disputes prior to litigation.” The policy was supplemented in 1987 by a Memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Shipbuilding and Logistics), directing contracting officers to examine all disputes for the possibility of utilizing ADR procedures. The current DON ADR Policy as articulated in SECNAVINST 5800.13A was signed on December 22, 2005 and requires the use of ADR to the maximum extent practicable.

SECNAVINST 5800.13A establishes the DON ADR Program Office within the Office the General Counsel with the following mission:

• Coordinate ADR policy and initiatives;

• Assist activities in securing or creating cost effective ADR techniques or local programs;

• Promote the use of ADR, and provide training in negotiation and ADR methods;

• Serve as legal counsel for in-house neutrals used in ADR matters; and,

• For matters that do not use in-house neutrals, the program assists DON attorneys and others representatives concerning issues in controversy that are amenable to using ADR.

The ADR Program Office also serves as the point of contact for questions regarding the use of ADR. The Assistant General Counsel (ADR) serves as the “Dispute Resolution Specialist” for the DON, as required by the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996. Members of the ADR Program Office represent the DON’s interests on a variety of DoD and Interagency working groups that promote the use of ADR within the Federal Government.

Visit the DON's ADR Website to learn more about ADR and how it can help your clients resolve issues in controversy.

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