Alumnus and Military Judge Advocate Trained Troops Protecting the U.S. Capitol on Use of Force Rules

Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Schepers for the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

We’ve all seen the videos of the chaos at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. In its aftermath, National Guard troops were called in from multiple states to restore and maintain order. One of those was University of Baltimore School of Law alumnus Army Capt. Julius M. Blattner, J.D. ’12.

Blattner is a brigade judge advocate with the 58th Troop Command in Adelphi, MD. Part of his role in this deployment at the Capitol has been training troops on the rules for the use of force, or RUF. While Guard members regularly receive training in the Maryland RUF, the rules of engagement often change from deployment to deployment, according to the Guard.  

While deployed in Washington, D.C., Maryland troops operated under the RUF set by the District of Columbia’s National Guard. Blattner is one of the military lawyers who were sent to Washington to train the Maryland service members on the new RUF.

“I first learned of the National Guard activation to Washington, D.C. from Governor Hogan’s tweet the afternoon of the (Jan. 6) attack on the Capitol,” Blattner says. “I immediately began to work with other judge advocates … to determine under what authorities the Guard was being activated to D.C.

“We also had to work on a Memorandum of Understanding … outlining the responsibilities and expectations of command and control, and support being provided during the mission. One of our biggest responsibilities as lawyers is to determine what laws apply and how they apply in these domestic operations,” he says.

“When soldiers first arrive in D.C., they are screened to make sure they are lawfully authorized to carry a weapon and are briefed on D.C.’s rules for the use of force by a D.C.-barred attorney. … The general principles of the RUFs are for service members to use the minimum force necessary to accomplish the mission and in self-defense or defense of others. I conduct scenario-based training with soldiers to help them apply the rules in situations they are most likely to face during their mission.

“I also advise commanders on how to incorporate the RUFs into their rehearsals and drills in responding to various situations.”

Blattner joined the Maryland National Guard in 2002 as a mechanic. After graduating from Baltimore Law and passing the Maryland bar exam, Blattner was admitted to the JAG Corps in 2013. Since then, he has been involved as a legal adviser in deployments following the Freddie Gray-related civil unrest in 2015, and more recently during civil unrest in response to the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

As a civilian, Blattner maintains a family law and mediation practice in Towson. 

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