May 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard named Rear Adm. Melissa Bert as its first female judge advocate and chief counsel, its top legal position.
She previously was director of governmental and public affairs for the Coast Guard, responsible for dialogues with Congress, the media and other inter-governmental entities.
In previous tours, she served as the deputy director of operations for the U.S. Northern Command, where she was responsible for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities for North America, and as the Coast Guard Seventh District's chief of staff, responsible for oversight of Coast Guard operations in the southeastern United States and Caribbean.
Bert was also chief of the Coast Guard's Maritime and International Law Office, supporting U.S. engagement with the International Maritime Organization and providing legal advice on a variety of policies.
In her new position, announced on Friday, Bert will preside over all legal services in support of the Coast Guard's missions.
She is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and George Washington University Law School and has taught as an adjunct professor at George Washington University and University of Miami Law School.
Bert becomes the Coast Guard's 20th chief counsel and seventh uniformed judge advocate general.