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JAG Corps: Law school programs now accepting applicants

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps is accepting applications for the Funded Legal Education Program and Excess Leave Program Jan. 1 - March 1.

Interested officers are encouraged to compete. The number of FLEP and ELP applicants selected in any academic year is based on the needs of the Air Force.

The FLEP is a paid legal studies program for active-duty Air Force commissioned officers. The FLEP is an assignment action. Participants receive full pay, allowances and tuition. FLEP applicants must have between two and six years active-duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below the day they begin law school.

The FLEP is subject to tuition limitations. Positions may be limited due to overall funding availability. The Air Force Institute of Technology establishes the tuition limit. The 2012 academic year was set at approximately $16,000 per year, but this amount may change year to year. Due to budgetary constraints FLEP seats were not offered in 2012. However, availability was acquired for 2013, so all interested and eligible officers are encouraged to apply.

The ELP is an unpaid legal-studies program for Air Force officers. ELP participants do not receive pay and allowances but remain on active duty for retirement eligibility and benefits purposes. ELP applicants must have between two and 10 years active-duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below the first day of law school.

"Our Air Force missions are constantly changing, and commanders deserve to have access to legal advisors with a broad background of military experiences," said Maj. Tamona Bright, chief of the Accessions Branch, Professional Development Directorate, Office of the Judge Advocate General. "The FLEP and ELP will ensure that we can continue to maintain a corps of officers whose military experience complements their legal training providing commanders with the highest caliber of legal support."

According to Bright, Air Force JAGs do more than just provide legal assistance. In addition to prosecuting and defending clients brought before courts martial, JAG officers routinely participate in nearly every facet of the Air Force mission. JAG officers are involved in action such as developing and acquiring weapons systems, ensuring availability of airspace and ranges where those systems are tested and operated, consulting with commanders about how those systems are employed in armed conflict, and assisting commanders in the day-to-day running of military installations around the world.

Both the FLEP and ELP programs require attendance at an American Bar Association accredited law school. Upon graduation and admission to practice law in the highest court of any state, commonwealth or U.S. territory, candidates are eligible for designation as judge advocates.

To be considered for FLEP or ELP, applicants must complete all application forms, apply to at least one ABA accredited law school though acceptance is not required at the time of application, receive their Law School Admissions Test results and interview with a staff judge advocate by Feb. 15. Officers must provide a letter of conditional release from their current career field. Selection for both programs is competitive.

Applications meet a selection board in early March, and selections are made based on a review of the application package using the "whole person" concept. Program guidelines are located in Air Force Instruction 51-101, Judge Advocate Accession Program.

For more information and application materials, visit www.airforce.com/jag or call Capt. Eric McCutchen, 460th Space Wing Legal Office, at DSN 847-6444.
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