JOHN HUTSON:

JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF U.S. NAVY


In the U.S. Navy, most legal problems ultimately come to the desk of Rear Admiral John Hutson, '69, recently named the Navy's Judge Advocate General. As JAG, Hutson presides over the JAG Corps (1,600 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marines) and advises the Secretary of the Navy, the Commandant of the Marines, and the senior leaderhips of the Navy in all legal matters related to military justice. "It's a great honor, but it's also a huge responsiblity," says John. "Fortunately the JAG corps is so talented that managing them is not so hard. My job is to smooth some rough spots and stay out of the way." A native of Muskegon, John says he was raised a Spartan--both parents are MSU graduates--and never considered another college. "My wife (Paula) and I were engaged on the steps of Morrill Hall," he notes. He enlisted after earning his law degree at Minnesota, and has stayed ever since, with assignments in Texas, California and Maine, teaching stints at the Naval Justice School (NJS), Newport, RI, and three tours in the Office of Legislative Affairs, Washington DC. In 1994 he became Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Legal Service Office for Europe and Southwest Asia (Naples, Italy) and a year later became Commanding Officer of the NJS. "Everything the Navy does, like society, for better or for worse, has become very legalistic," he notes. "When we do naval exercises and steam across the ocean, we have to be concerned with environmental issues. That's part of our briefcases. Ten years ago they weren't." John was in MSU's Justin Morrill College and remembers taking Walter Adams' legendary Economics 444 class. He recently met President McPherson. "I was very, very impressed," he says. "He's very insightful, direct and forceful. He has a good sense of mission. I'm glad my alma mater is in such good hands."

photo caption: Rear Admiral Hutson (center) is flanked by (l to r) daughter Melissa; Secretary of the Navy, the Hon, John H. Dalton; wife Paula; and daughter Christy.