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The judge advocate general's corps of the United States Army.

The Judge Advocate General's Corps of the United States Army is composed of Army officers who are lawyers and who provide legal services to the Army at all levels of command. The Judge Advocate General's Legal Service includes judge advocates, warrant officers, paralegal noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted personnel, and civilian employees. The Judge Advocate General is a lieutenant general. All military officers are appointed by the US President subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, but the Judge Advocate General is one of the few positions in the Army explicitly provided for by law in Title 10 of the United States Code and which requires a distinct appointment.

The Judge Advocate General

General George Washington founded the US Army JAG Corps on July 29, 1775, with the appointment of William Tudor as the Judge Advocate General. The Army Judge Advocate General's Corps is the oldest of the judge advocate communities in the US armed forces, as well as the oldest "law firm" in the United States. The Judge Advocate General serves a term of 4 years. LTG Dana K. Chipman, appointed in October 2009, is the 38th Judge Advocate General of the Army.


Judge advocates serve in the position of Staff Judge Advocate on the special and personal staff of general officers in command who are general court-martial convening authorities (the authority to convene a general court-martial). Staff Judge Advocates advise commanders on the full range of legal matters encountered in government legal practice and provide advice on courts-martial as required by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Subordinate judge advocates prosecute courts-martial, and others, assigned to the independent US Army Trial Defense Service and US Army Trial Judiciary, serve as defense counsel and judges. The almost 2,000 full-time judge advocates and civilian attorneys who serve The Judge Advocate General's Corps comprise the largest group of attorneys who serve the US Army. Several hundred other attorneys practice under the Chief Counsel of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Command Counsel of the United States Army Materiel Command.

Judge advocates are deployed throughout the United States and around the world, including Japan, South Korea, Germany, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Qatar. They provide legal assistance to soldiers, adjudicate claims against the Army, advise commands on targeting decisions and other aspects of operational law, and assist the command in administering military justice by preparing nonjudicial punishment actions, administrative separation actions, and trying criminal cases at court-martial.

In addition to the active component judge advocates, there are approximately 5,000 attorneys who serve in the US Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. Several hundred Reserve and National Guard attorneys have left their civilian practices to serve in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.


The Judge Advocate General's School began in World War II at the University of Michigan to train new judge advocates as the Judge Advocate General's Department rapidly expanded. It was disestablished for a short time after the war. It was then reestablished at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, but, after a short stay, was relocated to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1951. The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School adjoins, but is distinct from, the University of Virginia School of Law. The Commandant of the Judge Advocate General's School is authorized by Congress to award a Master of Laws degree. The school is the only federal institution to have American Bar Association accreditation as an America's law schools. Judge Advocates from all 5 armed forces of the United States and international students attend the annual Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course in which the Master's degree is awarded. The Legal Center and School also trains the Army's new judge advocates, provides continuing legal education for judge advocates and lawyers from throughout the United States government, and trains the Army's paralegal noncommissioned officers and court reporters. The School trains those officers appointed military judges, irrespective of service.


The branch insignia consists of a gold pen crossed above a gold sword, superimposed over a laurel wreath. The pen signifies the recording of testimony, the sword represents the military character of the JAG Corps, and the wreath indicates honor. The insignia was created in May 1890 in silver and changed to gold in 1899.
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Publication:U.S. Army Medical Department Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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