How do I Become an Army JAG?

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  • Written By: Constance Simmons
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2017
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An Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) is an attorney for the JAG Corps, the oldest legal group in the United States. Becoming an army JAG requires extensive training, which is both academic and military in nature. A candidate must first meet the Army’s minimum entry requirements. If those are met, he or she must then apply to the JAG program, and complete a basic training program created especially for the JAG Corps.

Like all applicants to the U.S. Army, prospective JAGs have to be in good physical condition. Other personal qualities that are typically required of JAGs are good morals and character. To become an army JAG, an individual must also pass security clearance checks and be a U.S. citizen.

Since a JAG is also an attorney, there are several additional requirements to become an Army JAG, compared to entering this branch of the military in other professions. Firstly, JAG candidates must have graduated from an American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law school. Second, individuals have to gain admission to the bar of the highest state or federal court. Lastly, he or she must be able to serve at least 20 years of active, commissioned service before the age of 62.

If an individual meets all of these prerequisites, he or she must then complete an application. In addition to this, prospective JAGs must also turn in official transcripts, a resume, an interest statement, and a writing sample. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted during this process, but are generally not required.

The final step of the application process to become an army JAG is the interview. Each candidate must obtain an interview with a Field Screening Officer (FSO) within one year of applying. This interview process is usually fairly easy because FSOs visit ABA-approved law schools each year.

Once accepted into the Army JAG Corps, a 12-day military orientation. This course is offered in Fort Lee, Virginia. The orientation commonly consists of buying uniforms, giving personal and financial records, and receiving instructions on the basics of military life.

The second phase of training for prospective JAGs usually consists of academic coursework. These classes give members of the JAG Corps information on the framework and mission of the organization. There is also a review of the law practice of the United States Army.

Once the academic work is completed, future JAGs complete ten weeks of basic training. The first portion of this consists of a four-week Direct Commissioned Officer Course (DCO). Next is six weeks of the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC), which provides JAGs with soldiering and leadership skills. After these two courses are finished, the journey to become an army JAG is complete.

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