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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.

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 time of commissioning;
    • If 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 here.
    • 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 navyaccessions@navy.mil.

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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.

DA participants first attend the five-week Navy Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. The next step in the training pipeline is the ten-week Basic Lawyer Course at Naval Justice School (NJS), also in Newport, RI. Upon graduation from NJS, new judge advocates report to their first duty station and are committed to four years of active duty. For more information, visit the Path of a Navy JAG Corps Officer.

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Application Deadlines

The Spring 2019 Application period is now closed. The Spring 2020 application period will open in December 2019. If you have questions about the application process, please visit FAQ/Contact.

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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

Tips for a Successful Application
Direct Appointment Program Application Checklist

Prior to the application deadline you must complete four steps:

    1. Complete the online Navy JAG Corps Online Application by the deadline provided above. If you have difficulties accessing the online application click here.

    2. Complete a structured interview by the deadline provided above. You may schedule and complete your interview before you have submitted your application. Information for scheduling a Navy JAG Corps interview is available here. Your interview must be completed before the application deadline, and you are responsible for contacting the appropriate office to schedule your interview. Your application will not be considered without a completed interview.

    3. Ensure your letters of recommendation and all additional documents have been submitted by the deadline provided above. Letters of recommendation can be uploaded and submitted with your online application or they may be emailed separately to navyaccessions@navy.mil. Mailed transcripts and recommendation letters will not be considered. All letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline. Letters should be addressed to the "President of the JAGC Accessions Board". The following address should ONLY be used for letterhead:
    Office of the Judge Advocate General
    Special Assistant for Accessions
    Military Personnel (Code 61)
    1322 Patterson Ave., Suite 3000
    Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5066
    4. You must submit either a letter verifying your local Navy recruiting district has created a PRIDEMOD II account, or a letter stating the local Navy recruiting district was unable to create a PRIDEMOD II account due to not currently possessing a birth certificate and/or social security card. Completed letters must be uploaded as an Addendum in the online application. You MUST use the templates posted below. You must complete this step even if you are Active Duty, a Reservist, or a veteran. You can complete the PRIDEMOD II process at either an officer or enlisted Navy recruiting office. If the local recruiting office won't create an account per the instructions, please have your local recruiting office contact the Navy Recruiting Command Program Manager at 901-874-7666. If you have previously applied and were able to submit the PRIDEMOD II account creation form, you do not need to resubmit the form or take any further action as long as the verification form is still available in the “Upload Documents” tab of the online application. If you previously submitted the “Missing SSN or Birth Certificate” form, you MUST resubmit the form if you are still unable to get a PRIDEMOD II account created.

    Template for PRIDEMOD II account
    Template if missing SSN or birth certificate

    5. 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 applicant 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.

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.

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Quick Career Links

Direct Appointment Statistics 2018-2019::

  • 107 applications received
  • 8 attorneys selected
  • Avg. LSAT: 156 (range: 146-162)
  • Avg. GPA: 3.29 (range: 2.9-3.72)
  • Avg. years of legal experience: 4 yrs (range: 1-12 yrs)

LT Jennifer Johnson


Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Class of 2010
Hometown: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Prior Practice Area: Tax Law

"I joined the JAG Corps following the repeal of DADT; a lifelong goal was finally able to become a reality. Prior to joining, my job was interesting, fast-paced, and a great career path, but I felt like something was missing. I come to work every day now getting to serve alongside my closest friends. The tasks are constantly changing, the location is always new, the mission can be challenging, but what remains constant is the quality of colleagues that care about service to our country and one another and who motivate excellence."