Army Officer Career Advice

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Hintergedanke

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Army Officer Career Advice

Postby Hintergedanke » Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:43 pm

Long time lurker seeking some general career advice. Senior year of college scored a 163 and finished with a 3.9. Decided to forego law school and went on to earn my M.A with a 3.9 while being an athletic graduate assistant. Both degrees came with no debt due to athletic scholarships. Over the course of earning my M.A I applied to Army OCS and was accepted.

I recently finished roughly a years worth of training and I am heading to my first assignment. I have roughly two and half years left in the Army and will have the fully funded G.I Bill available. I am struggling with what direction to take my career in due to amount of opportunities and have limited resources or peers to reach out to with similar aspirations. I currently work in the tech side of the Army but have very limited tech skills and have truly enjoyed the material. I catch myself going back and forth between working in tech field after the Army using the G.I Bill to go back to school for a formal tech education or attending law school. I realize I have time to make this decision but do not want to be scrambling as a Captain with what direction to take my career.

I enjoyed studying for the LSAT in a sick way and I am fine working my way up to 167ish to grab a t14 spot with the G.I Bill. On the other hand, I could forget law school completely and seek a career in IT hopefully in the information assurance/ security management realm. I am currently working towards my CISSP and hope to have it within the next year.

Other options include applying to the FLEP program, which will send me to law school to be a JAG for the Army or seek a Functional Area within the Army to gain more concrete tech skills. Both of these options come with additional service time. I am currently 23 and would like to be in a stable career track by my late 20s. I DO NOT see myself making it 20 years in the Army but have found the experience so far rewarding.

I would really appreciate hearing from some former service members and other opinions of board members. This site has given me more solid career advice then any other single source.

TL;DR Current Army Officer seeking advice on attending LS after service or moving into the IT world by utilizing the G.I Bill.

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twenty

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Re: Army Officer Career Advice

Postby twenty » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:06 pm

FLEP is a pretty sweet deal. If you might have kids in the future, that should put you pretty close to the 10-year mark where you can transfer GI benefits to them.

Based on my limited experience working with JAGs (although this is the career track I'm gunning for, so also a fair amount of research), the biggest field of law for military is military justice. I can't think of a single military lawyer who has not done at least a year of military justice, most closer to 2-4. A lot of former JAG guys go to US Attorney's offices, lateral as public defenders, or open up their own defense practices specializing in court martials.

AUSA/any federal agency in particular is a pretty sweet deal because you can buy back your military retirement on the federal retirement plan (FERS).

Hintergedanke

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Re: Army Officer Career Advice

Postby Hintergedanke » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:46 pm

I appreciate the input. That brings to light several benefits that I was not aware of. The transferring of GI benefits would be huge. Also the post JAG careers are what I would be aiming for if I went to law school anyway. I am not huge on Big Law especially without debt. The transferring of retirement is also motivating. I have read that some JAGs struggle post military. Do you have any evidence of this?

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Dcc617

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Re: Army Officer Career Advice

Postby Dcc617 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:15 pm

Hintergedanke wrote:I appreciate the input. That brings to light several benefits that I was not aware of. The transferring of GI benefits would be huge. Also the post JAG careers are what I would be aiming for if I went to law school anyway. I am not huge on Big Law especially without debt. The transferring of retirement is also motivating. I have read that some JAGs struggle post military. Do you have any evidence of this?


Former officer going to law school on the GI Bill here.

The GI bill is sick for law school. Between it and YR I get full tuition covered and a big monthly stipend.

I don't know how JAGs do on the outside, but don't go that route unless you're sure you want to stay in the army. I think it's something like a six year obligation after school. That's almost a ten year commitment. Also, anecdotally, most of the JAGs I knew hated the army.

Definitely retake though. I went from a 165 to a 176 while I was in command. Big improvements are definitely possible.

ETA Check out the veterans thread

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twenty

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Re: Army Officer Career Advice

Postby twenty » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:37 pm

Hintergedanke wrote:I have read that some JAGs struggle post military. Do you have any evidence of this?


I've seen this happen to guys that are in for 14+ years and get shoehorned into a niche military-centric legal practice (i.e, operations). For reasons I still cannot understand, in my office, people were climbing over each other to get operations experience, and no one wanted to get within fifty feet of a contract. Do the opposite. Operations experience will be very hard to sell to a civilian employer, whereas federal contracts experience will be valued by pretty much every federal agency in existence.

Hintergedanke

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Re: Army Officer Career Advice

Postby Hintergedanke » Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:50 pm

I read through the entire veterans thread and it was very helpful. I struggle to see why some veterans chose law school in particular as their post service career verses other areas.

Twenty the advice of focusing on marketable skills as a jag definitely makes a lot of sense.



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