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The Judge Advocate Division United States Marine Corps' serves both to advise the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Headquarters, Marine Corps on legal matters, and to oversee the Marine Corps legal community. The head of the Division is the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC). Military attorneys (or judge advocates) in the Marine Corps work under the supervision of the SJA to the CMC to advise Marine commanders regarding legal issues including the laws of war, and to prosecute and defend courts-martial. Marine Corps lawyers are line officers, unlike their counterparts in the United States Navy and Army, which means they can fill any officer billet in the Fleet Marine Force.


The Judge Advocate Division of Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps includes the following branches:

  • JAI - Information, Plans and Programs
  • JAL - Legal Assistance
  • JAM - Military Law
  • JAO - International and Operational Law
  • JAR - Research and Civil Law
  • JAS - Judge Advocate Support
  • CDC - Chief Defense Counsel of the Marine Corps

Staff Judge Advocates to the Commandant

The list of SJAs to the CMC includes:

  • Colonel Charles B. Sevier; 1966–1968
  • Colonel Marion G. Truesdale; 1968–1969
  • Brigadier General Duane L. Faw; 1969–1971
  • Brigadier General Clyde R. Mann; 1971–1973
  • Brigadier General John R. De Barr; 1973–1976
  • Brigadier General Robert J. Chadwick; 1976–1978
  • Brigadier General James P. King; 1978–1980
  • Brigadier General William H. J. Tiernan; 1980–1983
  • Brigadier General Walter J. Donovan; 1983–1985
  • Brigadier General David M. Brahms; 1985–1988
  • Brigadier General Michael E. Rich; 1988–1990
  • Brigadier General Gerald L. Miller; 1990–1993
  • Brigadier General Michael C. Wholley; 1993–1996
  • Brigadier General Theodore G. Hess; 1996–1999
  • Brigadier General Joseph Composto; 1999–2001
  • Brigadier General Kevin M. Sandkuhler; 2001–2006
  • Brigadier General James C. Walker; 2006–2009
  • Major General Vaughn Ary;[1] 2009–2014
  • Major General John R. Ewers;[2] 2014–2018
  • Major General Daniel J. Lecce; 2018–2021[3]
  • Major General David J. Bligh; 2021–present

Marine Corps judge advocates

Marine Corps judge advocates, or JAs, are licensed attorneys who are also officers in the Marine Corps. Each JA is a line officer in the Marine Corps, and goes through the same initial training as any other Marine officer. Upon graduation from TBS, the Marine attends Naval Justice School where they are instructed in the fundamental principles of military justice, civil and administrative law, and procedure, with practical application of those principles to the problems inevitably arising within every command, in order to assist in the attainment of a high standard of legal practice and administration of the naval justice and naval disciplinary systems, as well as the naval civil and administrative law system. Upon graduation from the school, the Marine is designated as a Judge Advocate (MOS 4402) and will begin their tour in the Fleet Marine Force as an attorney.

As line officers, Marine JAs can and occasionally serve in non-legal assignments, including the command of combat units.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

External links

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