Who has the best Air Force Job?

  • Published
  • By Capt. Sam Kidd
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Judge Advocate
I'm sure it is debatable who has the best job in the Air Force, but I think I have a pretty good argument for my last job as a law student. Fortunately, I was not your typical law student, who has to worry about landing a job after graduation and scraping by on student loans.

This is because I attended law school as an active-duty Air Force captain, with law school tuition paid in full by the U.S. Air Force. This program is one of many available to Airmen interested in attending law school and joining the Judge Advocates General Corps.

Applications for the Funded Legal Education Program and Excess Leave Program are currently being accepted through March 1, 2011. Officers who are interested are encouraged to compete. Though it may sound like the deadline is a long way off, there are steps that applicants are required to take if they are serious about applying.

FLEP and ELP provides the Judge Advocate General Corps with the opportunity to add judge advocates with diverse backgrounds of military experience. The experience I gained in my former career field, contracting, has enabled me to be a more effective JAG and an asset to my first legal office. The prior military experience of judge advocates completing the FLEP and ELP provides commanders with legal advisors who have an operational perspective to compliment their legal training.

The FLEP, a paid legal studies program for active-duty Air Force commissioned officers, 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 as of the day they begin law school.

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 ten years active-duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of their first day of law school.

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, territory of the United States, or a federal court, candidates are eligible for designation as judge advocates.

Applications meet a selection board in early March 2011, and selections are made based on a review of the application package using a "whole person" concept. AFI 51-101, Judge Advocate Accession Program, Chapters 2 and 3, discuss the FLEP and ELP.

For more information and application materials, visit http://www.airforce.com/jag, contact myself at the base legal office (759-3598), or contact Capt. Laura DeSio, HQ USAF/JAX laura.desio@pentagon.af.mil or 1-800-JAG-USAF.