Tuesday, July 25, 2006

JAG, JLEP, and Reservists 
A number of JAG officers have written in defending the honor of the Judge Advocate General corps, asserting that the requirement that in excluding reserve component officers from consideration from the JLEP program, which pays for officers to attend law school, is statutory, and the JAG corps is only doing what the law requires.

I disagree.

Here is the section of Title 10 cited by these military lawyers:

ยง 2004. Detail of commissioned officers as students at law schools

(a) The Secretary of each military department may, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, detail commissioned officers of the armed forces as students at accredited law schools, located in the United States, for a period of training leading to the degree of bachelor of laws or juris doctor. No more than twenty-five officers from each military department may commence such training in any single fiscal year.

(b) To be eligible for detail under subsection (a), an officer must be a citizen of the United States and must-

(1) have served on active duty for a period of not less than two years nor more than six years and be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the time the training is to begin; and

(2) sign an agreement that unless sooner separated he will-

(A) complete the educational course of legal training;

(B) accept transfer or detail as a judge advocate or law specialist within the department concerned when his legal training is completed; and

(C) agree to serve on active duty following completion or other termination of training for a period of two years for each year or part thereof of his legal training under subsection (a).

(c) Officers detailed for legal training under subsection (a) shall be selected on a competitive basis by the Secretary of the military department concerned, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense. Any service obligation incurred by an officer under an agreement entered into under subsection (b) shall be in addition to any service obligation incurred by any such officer under any other provision of law or agreement.

(d) Expenses incident to the detail of officers under this section shall be paid from any funds appropriated for the military department concerned.

(e) An officer who, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, is dropped from the program of legal training authorized by subsection (a) for deficiency in conduct or studies, or for other reasons, may be required to perform active duty in an appropriate military capacity in accordance with the active duty obligation imposed by regulations issued by the Secretary of Defense, except that in no case shall any such member be required to serve on active duty for any period in excess of one year for each year or part thereof he participated in the program.

(f) No agreement detailing any officer of the armed forces to an accredited law school may be entered into during any period that the President is authorized by law to induct persons into the armed forces involuntarily. Nothing in this subsection shall affect any agreement entered into during any period when the President is not authorized by law to so induct persons into the armed forces.

I don't see anything whatsoever in this law that requires the services to exclude reserve component officers. The text of the law requires only that they be A.) commissioned officers, B.) at the rank of O-3 or below, and C.) that they have served at least two years and not more than six years on active duty.

There is nothing in the law requiring that they be CURRENTLY on active duty at the time of selection. And even if it did, it would be a matter as simple as cutting the order placing them on active duty.

Is there something in the Congressional record that tips Congress's hand as to the congressional intent? I doubt it. It would be an uphill argument in any case, given the plain meaning of the text of the law itself.

Where is the language that excludes reserve component officers from consideration?

Splash, out


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