HawgDriver wrote:You're Active Duty with 18+ yrs of service and the Navy lets you apply to a JAG program?! How many of those have you been an officer? I ask because the Air Force's limit is 10 years of total active federal commissioned service. I'm curious to know if it's the same for the Navy, perhaps due to federal statute, or if the Navy is just way more lenient with letting people pursue their JAG ambitions.
I'm enlisted, so I don't have any commissioned time.
From my understanding, the Air Force is the only branch that caps the prior service time for incoming officers. They (and the Marine Corps) also have lower maximum age limits for new officers.
One could look at the Navy's requirements as "way more lenient" or as making way more sense. If I had a 15 year MSgt in the AF that came in enlisted with no degree, managed his time wisely enough to earn not only a bachelors degree but also a J.D., all while maintaining operational readiness, I would think that he would be an excellent candidate for JAG. He already knows the service, policies and regulations...he's more than likely a proven leader, and has probably been training young officers for a while. Why stop a guy like that from becoming a JAG because he’s been in over 10 years?
Statutorily, the big limitation is the ability to retire before your 62nd birthday. I could do 40 years in the Navy/Marine Corps and still be under that bar.
You're preaching to the choir, brother. Although I think the way the Air Force does it means you have to have less than 10 years of total commissioned
service time; so enlisted time wouldn't count against you, but the age thing could obviously still be a factor depending on the situation.
However, they also require you to be an O-3 with less than three years time-in-grade by the first day of law school. If I'm released from my career field (BIG if...don't get me started), I'm going to have to convince JAG to give me a waiver when I apply because I'll be 3 months (months!) over the limit. Does the Navy have a similar limitation?
On one hand, I understand it, because what are you going to do with a Major fresh out of law school who, after 3 yrs of law school, only has about 5-7 yrs left until he can retire? I could understand the argument of it not being worth it to the AF in the long run. But even then, someone applying under those circumstances will be required to apply to the program (Excess Leave Program) in which the Air Force pays zero law school tuition and zero salary except for 2 months in the summer! So it's not like they'd be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket for someone to go to law school and then only serve for 4 yrs. The financial risk is almost zero and, in return, you get a highly motivated (why else would they give up almost 100% of their pay for 3 years?!) and highly experienced officer.
On the other hand, I don't see why they would handcuff themselves and why they couldn't approach it like the medical corps does. I have a personal friend who was a pilot, went to med school as a Major, but after he graduated he came out as a Capt and had to serve a certain amount of time as a Capt until he got promoted again. If someone is that dedicated
to being a JAG and also brings a great deal of professional AF experience to the table, how does that not make the JAG Corps stronger? Why would you not even consider someone who has been a Capt for more than 3 years or even four years?
Obviously, I'm biased. And I'd love to hear someone else's opinion and get into a respectable debate about the merits of allowing older officers to apply to the JAG Corps. It's just extremely frustrating to me that after 6 years of service in a very demanding career field that the Air Force may not even consider the possibility of allowing me to continue to serve as a lawyer, which is what I'm passionate about doing.
:::steps off soap box:::