On September 10th, a Secretarial directive established the Procurement Legal Division within the Office of the Under Secretary of the Navy.
On August 15th, the Secretary of the Navy transferred all patent matters to the Procurement Legal Division to expedite questions of infringement, preparation of defenses for claims, stimulation of inventive enterprise, and preparation of appropriate contract clauses.
On August 3rd, the Procurement Legal Division was renamed “the Office of the General Counsel,” the name it holds today, and H. Struve Hensel was appointed the first General Counsel.
1st General Counsel of the Navy H. Struve Hensel (quote from April 21, 1951)
This is the year that the Secretary of the Navy directed that the Office of the General Counsel shall be responsible throughout the DON for providing legal services in the field of business and commercial law and created the position of Counsel for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Office of Counsel for the Commandant, as part of DON OGC.
The Summer Law Clerk Program was born. General Counsel Trowbridge vom Baur initiated this program making the DON one of the first agencies to use law school students, while setting the stage for later recruitment. This year also marked an increase in contracting for shipbuilding with other countries.
General Counsel Trowbridge vom Baur
The Office of the General Counsel began another innovation by going to law schools to recruit summer law clerks and attorneys.
The General Counsel became a politically appointed position.
As part of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, the General Counsel’s role in the DON was established in 10 U.S.C. § 5019.
Approximately 540 attorneys in the Office of the General Counsel were assigned to the Central Office, the Legal Services Support Group, Assistant Secretaries, Systems Commands, Headquarters Offices of other commands, and 113 field offices, including field offices in Guam, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
By Executive Order 12879, the General Counsel was designated equal in rank to the Assistant Secretaries of the Navy
DON OGC has evolved into an organization of over 740 attorneys and 200 professional staff located in over 140 different offices worldwide.