32 CFR § 536.9 - Responsibilities and operations of area claims offices.

§ 536.9 Responsibilities and operations of area claims offices.

(a) Heads of ACOs. Heads of ACOs, including COE offices (see § 536.3(e)(3)) shall:

(1) Ensure that claims and potential claims incidents in their area of responsibility are promptly investigated in accordance with this part.

(2) Ensure that each organization or activity (for example, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) or Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS) unit, ROTC detachment, recruiting company or station, or DOD agency) within the area appoints a claims officer to investigate claims incidents not requiring investigation by a JA (see § 536.23) and ensure that this officer is adequately trained.

(3) Supervise the investigation, processing, and settlement of claims against, and in favor of, the United States under the statutes and regulations listed in § 536.2 and pursuant to other appropriate statutes, regulations, and authorizations.

(4) Act as a claims settlement authority on claims that fall within the appropriate monetary jurisdictions set forth in this part and forward claims exceeding such jurisdictions to the Commander USARCS, or to the chief of a command claims service, as appropriate, for action.

(5) Designate CPOs and request that the Commander USARCS, or the chief of a command claims service, as appropriate, grant claims approval authority to a CPO for claims that fall within the jurisdiction of that office.

(6) Supervise the operations of CPOs within their area.

(7) Implement claims policies and guidance furnished by the Commander USARCS.

(8) Ensure that there are adequate numbers of qualified and adequately trained CJAs or claims attorneys, RCJAs or attorneys, recovery claims clerks, claims examiners, claims adjudicators and claims clerks in all claims offices within their areas to act promptly on claims.

(9) Budget for and fund claims investigations and activities, such as: per diem and transportation of claims personnel, claimants and witnesses; independent medical examinations; appraisals and independent expert opinions; long distance telephone calls; recording and photographic equipment; use of express mail or couriers; and other necessary expenses.

(10) Within the United States and its territories, commonwealths and possessions, procure and disseminate, within their areas of jurisdiction, appropriate legal publications on state or territorial law and precedent relating to tort claims.

(11) Notify the Commander USARCS, of all claims and potentially compensable events (PCEs) as required by § 536.22(c); notify the chief of a command claims service of all claims and PCEs.

(12) Develop and maintain written plans for a disaster or civil disturbance. These plans may be internal SJA office plans or an annex to an installation or an agency disaster response plan.

(13) Implement the Army's Article 139 claims program. (See subpart I of this part).

(14) Notify USARCS of possible deployments and ensure adequate FCCs are appointed by USARCS and are trained.

(b) Operations of area claims offices.

(1) The ACO is the principal office for the investigation and adjudication or settlement of claims, and shall be staffed with qualified legal personnel under the supervision of the SJA, command JA, or COE district or command legal counsel.

(2) In addition to the utilization of unit claims officers required by § 536.10(a), if indicated, the full-time responsibility for investigating and processing claims arising within or related to the activities of a unit or organization located within a section of the designated area may be delegated to another command, unit, or activity by establishing a CPO at the command, unit, or activity (see § 536.10(b)(4)). Normally, all CPOs will operate under the supervision of the ACO in whose area the CPO is located. Where a proposed CPO is not under the command of the ACO parent organization, this designation may be achieved by a support agreement or memorandum of understanding between the affected commands.

(3) Normally, claims that cannot be settled by a COE ACO will be forwarded directly to the Commander USARCS, with notice of referral to the Chief Counsel, COE. However, as part of his or her responsibility for litigating suits that involve civil works and military construction activities, the Chief Counsel, COE, may require that a COE ACO forward claims through COE channels, provided that such requirement does not preclude the Commander USARCS from taking final action within the time limitations set forth in subparts D and H of this part.