Colonel Bruce A. Pagel (retired) served 28 years as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army - active and reserve - retiring from active service in 2014. He also worked as a federal prosecutor in Virginia and Washington, DC. He has previously taught national security policy at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and works as a consultant on criminal justice and national security matters.
Most recently, Colonel Pagel was assigned to ASU's Army ROTC instructional staff. Prior to that, he served as Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), based in Tampa, Florida. The SJA is the command's senior legal adviser and supervises the CENTCOM legal office. CENTCOM is the combatant command responsible for all military operations in the Middle East. At CENTCOM, Colonel Pagel provided oversight for all military lawyers in the region and advised General James Mattis on all legal matters concerning the CENTCOM area of operations.
Prior to Central Command, Colonel Pagel served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as Deputy ISAF LEGAD, and acting ISAF LEGAD, advising General David Petraeus and the ISAF staff (and later General John Allen) on a variety of issues including law of war detention, special operations, international contracting, criminal justice, rule of law, as well as conducting a series of command directed investigations involving general officer misconduct and war crime allegations. He was ISAF's representative to the U.S. Embassy's rule of law enterprise and liaised with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul regarding battlefield misconduct, collateral damage and civilian casualties.
Before joining General Petraeus' staff, Colonel Pagel served in Kabul as the senior legal adviser to the General Counsel at the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD). There, he helped modernize, train and reform MoD's legal office, and assisted in shaping a more robust role for the MoD General Counsel in MoD operations.
Among his other relevant assignments, Colonel Pagel served as the Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Office of Military Commissions (OMC-P). The OMC-P is responsible for investigating and prosecuting law of war detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for alleged war crimes. He supervised the investigation, charging and prosecution of multiple war crimes cases during his tenure at the Pentagon and Guantanamo Bay.
As an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), Colonel Pagel was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. In that capacity, he was involved in a variety of rule of law programs and advised the Afghan National Security Council staff on selected issues. His DoJ work focused on establishing and advising the Afghan Special Narcotics Court, vetting Afghan judges and prosecutors and supporting the Afghan National Narcotics Police. He also helped draft Afghan anti-drug policies and statues, advised Afghan authorities regarding drug and other investigations, assisted the FBI and DEA, and trained Afghan prosecutors and judges. Prior to this assignment, Colonel Pagel had been sent to Kabul to conduct DoJ's first rule of law assessment in Afghanistan.
Colonel Pagel also served two tours in Iraq. First, as an AUSA, he was assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority and led a team of lawyers, both Coalition and Iraqi, responsible for transitioning U.S law of war detainees held at Abu Graib into Iraqi criminal custody. Second, Colonel Pagel served as the 1st Infantry Division's Rule of Law Officer during its tour in Tikrit.
Colonel Pagel's career as a federal prosecutor focused primarily on narcotics, money laundering and drug-related violent crime cases, with substantial experience in Continuing Criminal Enterprise and conspiracy cases, Title III procedure, multi-agency and multi-district investigations, and criminal forfeiture matters. He contributed chapters to both the DoJ Narcotics Manual and the DoJ Grand Jury Manual and taught federal prosecutors in a variety of fora, including the DoJ Advocacy Institute. He also won numerous awards, including the Attorney General's Special Commendation Award and the Assistant Attorney General's Award for Furthering U.S. Interests Overseas.