Direct Appointment Program

The Direct Appointment (DA) Program enables licensed attorneys to be appointed directly into the Navy JAG Corps. This is a small program designed to supplement the Navy JAG Corps with experienced and capable trial-level litigators and lawyers licensed to practice law before a Federal Court or the highest court of a State, Territory, Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.

Direct Appointment Application

The Spring application cycle is now closed. The Fall application cycle will open in August.

Apply online via the "Application" link below. Use the "Discover More Information" sidebar resources to find FAQs, Guide to the Navy JAG Corps, and schedule your interview. Interested in speaking to a recruiter? Visit www.navy.com.

Who Is Eligible

To be eligible for appointment in the Navy JAG Corps DA Program, you must:

  • be a United States citizen of good moral character;
  • be younger than 42 years of age at the time of commissioning;
    • If an applicant is over 42 years of age, a waiver may be authorized. See Application Process for details.
  • be a graduate of a law school fully accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA);
  • be admitted to practice before a Federal Court, the highest court of a State, Territory, or Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia; and
  • meet the physical and medical requirements for commission in the Navy. If you have any questions about the medical qualifications or physical fitness standards, please contact a Navy recruiter.
    • The physical requirements include meeting Navy and DoD fitness standards, which are explained in the Physical Readiness Test Guide 5
    • Additionally, Navy officers are required to participate in at least one Physical Readiness Test each year. The test consists of completing as many curl-ups as possible in two minutes, pushups in two minutes, and a cardio test (typically a 1.5 mile run, but other options include a 500y/450m swim or 12-minute stationary bike). Additional information regarding the Physical Fitness Test can be found here.

NOTE: If you are an active duty naval officer currently attending law school and interested in applying via the Direct Appointment Program, please contact the Special Assistant for Accessions at navyjagaccessions@us.navy.mil.

How It Works

Becoming a judge advocate is a two-phase process. The first phase is to apply for a Professional Recommendation to become a judge advocate. If you are Professionally Recommended you then apply for a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Once accepted into the program, DA participants begin their Navy training.

New judge advocates first attend the five-week Navy Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. After ODS, new judge advocates then report to their permanent duty stations for approximately two months. They will then proceed to the ten-week Basic Lawyer Course at Naval Justice School (NJS), also in Newport, RI. Upon graduation from NJS, new judge advocates return to their permanent duty station and are committed to four years of active duty. For more information, visit the Path of a Navy JAG Corps Officer.

Application Process

Direct Appointment applicants can apply multiple times—there is no limit on how often you can apply. Application materials are not kept after selection decisions are final, so if you want to be reconsidered, you must reapply. Submitting an application doesn't mean you joined the Navy. Applicants are under no obligation whatsoever until they are offered and accept a commission with the Navy at the end of both phases.

Phase One: Apply for a Professional Recommendation

Prior to the application deadline, you must complete four steps:

  1. Complete the online application by the deadline provided above.
  2. SCHEDULE AN INTERVIEW. Schedule and complete a structured interview by the deadlines listed above. You may schedule and complete your interview before you have submitted your application. Information for scheduling a Navy JAG Corps interview is located in the application guide linked above. Your interview must be completed before the application deadline. Applicants are responsible for contacting the appropriate office to schedule their interview. Your application will not be considered without a completed interview. Applicants may only complete one interview every three years.
  3. Ensure your letters of recommendation and all additional documents have been submitted in the online application by the deadline. Letters of recommendation and all other documents MUST BE SUBMITTED WITHIN THE ONLINE APPLICATION and will not be accepted if received by email or mail.

    Letters should be addressed to the "President of the JAG Corps Accessions Board". The following address should ONLY be used for letterhead:

    Office of the Judge Advocate General
    Accessions Program Manager
    Military Personnel (Code 61) 1322 Patterson Ave., Suite 3000
  4. PRIDEMOD Account. All applicants must have physical copies of their birth certificate and social security card no later than six weeks AFTER the application deadline. Once selection board results are released, selected applicants must take their birth certificate and social security card to a Navy recruiting office to create a PRIDEMOD account. This account will be used throughout your commissioning process. You must complete this step even if you are on Active Duty, a Reservist, or a veteran.

    If you are over 42 years of age, and unable to complete 20 years of commissioned service by your 62nd birthday, a waiver may be authorized. You must submit a letter requesting an age waiver with your application package (upload via the online application website as an addendum).
    Age Waiver Template

Once applications are received, the accessions office completes a full review of all applications for completeness and ensures each applicant is eligible. The completed packages of all eligible applicants are then reviewed by a board of senior active duty judge advocates. The board typically takes place 4-6 weeks after the application deadline. The final selection of professionally recommended students must be reviewed and approved by the Judge Advocate General. Applicants that are professionally recommended will be notified individually, usually within 10 weeks after the application deadline. All applicants can check their application status on the application website.

Note: If you are not selected, you may reapply by each deadline as long as you remain eligible. You must submit a new application. The structured interview does not expire, however, you are not allowed to have a new structured interview within a three-year period. After three years have passed, you may (but are not required to) request a new structured interview.

Selection Board Process

Once applications are received, the accessions office completes a full review of all applications for completeness and ensures each applicant is eligible. The completed packages of all eligible applicants are then reviewed by a board of senior active duty judge advocates. The board typically takes place 4 weeks after the application deadline. The final selection of professionally recommended students must be reviewed and approved by the Judge Advocate General. Applicants who are professionally recommended will be notified individually, usually within 6-8 weeks after the application deadline. All applicants can check their status on the application website.

Note: If you are not selected, you may reapply by each deadline as long as you remain eligible. You must submit a new application. The structured interview does not expire, however you are not allowed to have a new structured interview within a three year period. After three years have passed, you may (but are not required to) request a new structured interview.

Whole Person Concept

Phase Two: Apply for a Commission in the U.S. Navy

If your application is selected, you will be considered Professionally Recommended for commissioning and begin Phase Two. In Phase Two, the final selection of applicants is conducted by Navy Recruiting Command. During this phase, the following things will occur:

1. A Navy recruiter will work with you to complete the commissioning requirements, including a medical examination and security investigation. Upon successful completion of these requirements, you will be offered a commission.
2. If you accept your commission, you will then take the oath of office for a commission and sign a Service Agreement.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Special Assistant for Accessions at navyjagaccessions@us.navy.mil.

Compensation and Benefits

Income

The Navy JAG Corps offers active duty judge advocates a competitive starting salary. The total compensation includes basic pay and certain non-taxable allowances, such as those for housing and subsistence. Housing allowances vary according to the cost of living in the area to which you are assigned. Pay increases come with promotion and longevity. For more information regarding basic pay and allowances, visit Military Pay.

Example Compensation Calculation
Duty
Station
Benefit Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 8 Year 10
San Diego, CA Rank LTJG LT LT LT LT LT LCDR LCDR
Basic Pay (taxable) $50,288 $58,197 $65,973 $71,200 $77,637 $81,363 $92,714 $99,048
Housing
Allowance (non-taxable)
$42,228 $44,712 $44,712 $44,712 $44,712 $44,712 $47,448 $47,448
Substinence
Allowance (non-taxable)
$3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363
Continuation
Pay (taxable)
$30,000 $40,000
Total Pay & Allowances $95,879 $106,272 $114,048 $149,275 $125,712 $129,438 $183,525 $149,859
Total Taxable Income $50,288 $58,197 $65,973 101,200 $77,367 $81,363 132,714 $99,048
Norfolk, VA Rank LTJG LT LT LT LT LT LCDR LCDR
Basic Pay (taxable) $50,288 $58,197 $65,973 $71,200 $77,637 $81,363 $92,714 $99,048
Housing Allowance (non-taxable) $23,940 $25,452 $25,452 $25,452 $25,452 $25,452 $26,244 $26,244
Substinence
Allowance (non-taxable)
$3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363 $3,363
Continuation
Pay (taxable)
$30,000 $40,000
Total Pay & Allowances $77,591 $87,012 $94,788 $130,015 $106,452 $110,178 $162,321 $128,655
Total Taxable Income $50,288 $58,197 $65,973 101,200 $77,367 $81,363 132,714 $99,048

Health and Life Insurance

Retention Bonuses

Navy JAG Corps officers are eligible for a total of $110,000 in retention bonuses, paid over three installments are different career milestones (at approximately the 4-year mark, 7-year mark, and 10-year mark). Military Justice Career Litigation Track (MJCLT) attorneys are eligible for an additional $10,000 bonus at each payment phase. JAG Corps officers can use retention bonuses for anything, including paying off any student debt.

Education Financial Assistance

  • School debt repayment: Military service in the Navy JAG Corps qualifies for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and an income-driven repayment plan.
  • Funded Graduate Education: Navy judge advocates have the opportunity for fully funded graduate education leading to award of a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree. Navy judge advocates have attended graduate programs at civilian law schools such as Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia, George Washington University, University of Pennsylvania, Berkeley, University of San Diego, Lewis and Clark, University of Virginia, and many others. Areas of study include military law, international law, environmental law, and trial advocacy. Post-graduate opportunities also exist at the Army Judge Advocate General’s School, Naval War College, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Defense University, and the Army War College.
  • GI Bill & Transferability: Transferability option under the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows service members to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children

Retirement

  • This system, called the Blended Retirement System, or BRS, blends the traditional legacy retirement pension, also known as a defined benefit, with government payments made into your individual Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, account, also known as a defined contribution.

Time Off

  • 30 days paid vacation each year.
  • 11 paid federal holidays per year.
  • Sick leave for personal medical needs or care of family members and adoption.

Life and Work Balance

  • 18 weeks of paid parental leave for service members who give birth; 12 weeks of parental leave for service members that adopt children or whose spouse has given birth.
  • Subsidized child care, an exceptional family member program, and youth programs.
  • Department of Defense schools in some geographic locations.
  • Recreational discounts and services through Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs.
  • Family support services include Family Advocacy, Parenting, Personal Financial Management, Relocation Assistance, Spouse Employment Assistance, Spouse Tuition Aid, and Transition Assistance Programs.

Travel

  • Foreign duty and travel opportunities through temporary or permanent assignments.
  • Discounted travel.

Moving Assistance

The Department of Defense will contract with a commercial mover for the movement of your household goods to your first permanent duty station. Both you and your family are reimbursed for travel expenses from home directly to your first duty station. Subsequent moves to other duty stations, including your final move returning you to your home of record upon release from active duty, will be at the Government’s expense.

Of note, only the officer is entitled to travel expenses to Newport, RI for Officer Development School (ODS) and Naval Justice School (NJS) training, and household goods are not moved to Newport, RI. This is because of the short amount of time the officer will remain in this location before moving permanently to their first duty station.

Additional Privileges

  • Access to military exchanges (worldwide chain of tax-free “department stores”), which sell brand-name items at discounts.
  • Access to military commissaries (tax-free grocery stores) that save military families approximately 25% on their food bills.
  • Use of officers clubs around the world.
  • VA Guaranteed Home Loan Program.