blhoward2 wrote:After ten years in the Air Force I can tell you that you have little control over any of your assignments. You complete a dream sheet, and if a slot if open on one of those bases for your skill level, then you get selected (although other people may have put it down and then its all about how close to the top of the pile you are). While all bases have a JAG, not all bases take new JAGS (they don't have the manpower or ability to train them. My first base wasn't on my dream sheet at all, neither was my second, my third was my #5 choice for overseas, and my fourth was my #1 choice as a follow-on assignment. Getting used to living in weird places and making the best of it is all part of the job.
I've seen two people, equal in rank and skill level, get bases not on their dream sheet, but the base they got was on the other persons dream sheet. I have friends that work in AFPC and half of them don't even understand how it works. The "system" decides you are moving and you move. Obviously, command and high-ranking slots are handled one-on-one.
Edit: I have friends in the Army, Navy, and Marines that all echo the same thing. However, go Air Force. Our quality of life is much better and we put up with much less crap. (I have spent most of my career serving in joint assignments with all the branches so I'm talking from experience here.) If you don't want the military though, go Coast Guard. (They fall under Homeland Security and are NOT a military branch).
I've got a feeling that your 10 years was not in Air Force JAG.
JAG is not under the Air Force Personnel Center and our officers do not compete against the Line Air Force for promotions. JAX handles all of the JAG assignments. It is very hands on and personal, contrasted with AFPC. I can tick off repeated instances when JAX has changed someone's assignment purely out of personal consideration for that officer. That said, the sentiment you convey is correct: Joining the military means losing the ability to control where you live. Sometimes this is awesome. I live in Las Vegas. Other times, not so much. I almost was going to be living in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I will not have any choice in where I end up for my second assignment.
When my JAG School class met with JAX in DC, the process was described as follows: JAG (usually an O-5) working JAG Officer Assignments has a list of bases that have openings for first assignment (or second, etc) JAGs. Then there is the Dream Sheet you submitted. The JAX goes down both lists trying to match one. Part of this is luck. Bases have openings at different times and depending when your assignment is determined, that opening may still exists or may have already been filled.
The only major bases (hosting a full Wing or more) I am aware of that JAGs cannot pick up as a first assignment are ROK (Osan/Kusan) and Incirlik AB in Turkey. There are obviously some jobs within the JAG Corps that require more experience and seniority to get but just about all the base assignments are fair game.