So we learn from this announcement, released this afternoon by the Department of Defense:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has designated Honorable Paul L. Oostburg Sanz to serve as the convening authority for military commissions.
Mr. Oostburg Sanz is currently the general counsel of the Department of the Navy and will serve as convening authority on an interim basis until Secretary Hagel designates a replacement for retired Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald. Vice Adm. MacDonald’s three-year term concludes today.
Prior to his appointment as general counsel of the Navy, Mr. Oostburg Sanz served as the general counsel of the Committee on Armed Services in the United States House of Representatives. As the senior legal advisor to the chairman of the committee and its 61 other members, he provided legal counsel on an expansive range of national defense issues, including the final drafting and passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. In this role, Mr. Oostburg Sanz was also instrumental in the drafting and the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2009.
Mr. Oostburg Sanz will continue to serve as the Department of the Navy’s chief legal officer while serving as convening authority.
The Military Commissions Act authorizes the secretary of defense to designate an officer or official of the United States to convene military commissions. The secretary’s designee — known as the convening authority — is responsible for overseeing many aspects of the military commission process, including the referral of sworn charges to a military commission, the appointment of members of the military commissions, and the review of military commissions’ verdicts and sentences.