Avvo Rating Top Attorney
Avvo Rating badge
Federal Bar Association
Virginia State Bar
Department of the Army


In a recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress completely revamped who has authority to decide if there will a court-martial and how the process works.

Establishment of the Office of Special Trial Counsel (OSTC) within the services makes it more important to have experienced military defense counsel. However, it is also important to hire highly experienced civilian counsel to lead the team.

We work for you--not the Government

Our uniform is a suit and tie, not the "club" uniform

We can do what a military defense counsel either can't or won't

United States v. Gilmet (2023) is an example of why. In this case, a senior Marine Corps judge advocate gave a presentation to a group of defense counsel. Even if unintentional, his comments gave the appearance that a well performing defense counsel might find that adversely affecting their career. Because of that problem, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces dismissed the case against Gilmet. As civilian military defense counsel, those kind of direct or implied consequences do not concern us, because we work for you, not the military. Our career is built on successfully defending YOU!

In 2024, Secretary of the Army Susan Wormurth relieved from duty the Lead Special Trial Counsel of OSTC because of statements he had made while serving as a Army Regional Defense Counsel. The statements were made to Trial Defense Service lawyers he was supervising. These kinds of actions may have a negative effect on a uniformed defense counsel who is looking to have a career. Many times its not what was said but the perception it creates.

A 2024 GAO Report to the Committee on the Armed Services, House of Representatives, tells you all you need to know to justify hiring an experienced military defense law firm to represent you in a UCMJ action and at court-martial.

"Senior officials from each service also raised concerns about the newly established Office of Special Trial Counsel (OSTC) and the likelihood that it will exacerbate issues of inexperience within certain litigation positions. OSTC experience standards, coupled with the limited number of litigators who meet these requirements, will likely force the services to rely on inexperienced litigators to serve as defense counsel. The focus on OSTC experience standards could lead to a potentially significant imbalance in the experience levels of defense and prosecution assigned to litigate the same case."

What is OSTC and what does it mean for you.

They are a Independent (of command) Victim Centered. Justice focused. And they have many resources available to them. Your primary and only source within the system is your defense counsel. While you might be encouraged to work with mental health providers, chaplains, or even complaining to Congress, there can be problems for your case if you do that without first consulting experienced defense counsel.

OSTC has jurisdiction over 13 different offenses, mostly related to sex offences.


Sexual Assault

Domestic Violence


Other sex offenses such as sexual harassment or nonconsensual distribution of a victims images to others or online to social media.

At Cave & Freeburg, LLP, we have many years of experience and success in defending servicemembers being investigated accused, and prosecuted for these offenses.

Client Reviews
Many years after retiring from the USN, I suddenly found myself in a very unwelcome legal matter with the Navy. It was a total shock and I was very concerned as to the impact this would have on me and my family. Philip was so helpful, truly a calming force, and his legal help was invaluable to me, I am so thankful that I availed myself of his services! Rob
Phil Cave has helped me through NJP and restoration of my security clearance. He even came to visit me in Spain. I never thought I would work again and he certainly through with advise and guidance that we're exactly spot on. He is my hero and thanks to him I gave my life back... Bryan
Mr. Cave saved my military retirement! His promise to me from day one was that he would fight as hard as he could he right the wring that had been done to me. And he did! I am so very thankful and grateful to him. He genuinely cared about me and made my case his priority. He used all his experience and knowledge to put forth a good defense. I am very pleased with him and will recommend him to anyone in need of an attorney. Crystal