The Coast Guard initiated a new Reserve Direct Commission Lawyer Program, offering licensed attorneys the ability to apply for a commission as an officer in the Coast Guard as a Reserve Judge Advocate (RJAG).  The deadline for application is September 28, 2020.

Rear Admiral Melissa Bert, Chief Counsel and Judge Advocate General, provided the following information:

“Reserve Judge Advocates provide legal support in a variety of areas, including legal assistance, regulations and administrative law, operations, environmental, procurement, civil advocacy, and military justice.  Additionally, they have been instrumental in providing critical legal support in the wake of environmental disasters, such as hurricane and oil spill response.  They are a valued and integral part of the Coast Guard legal teams around the country, providing necessary legal services and counsel to our field commanders, their crews and families.  We also develop their officer leadership skills and provide other educational opportunities.  Being a Reserve Officer is a selfless way to share the expertise and experience from private practice with our lawyers while directly supporting Coast Guard members and missions.

While detailed information can be found at the websites posted below, here is some brief information regarding the application process.  For this accession year, the DCL-SELRES program will select approximately 5 applicants for a commission as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) in the U.S. Coast Guard, with a service obligation of four years.  The deadline to submit an application is SEP 28, 2020.  Panel selections will be held in November 2020.  If selected, applicants will commission next spring and attend a 5-week training in the summer of 2021.  It is affectionately called “Knife and Fork School.”  After that, they will be assigned to a duty station such as Norfolk, VA; Alameda, CA; Miami, FL; Boston, MA; New Orleans, LA; Cleveland, OH; Seattle, WA; and Washington, D.C.  Once assigned, they will continue with their civilian work, and support the Coast Guard either on certain weekends throughout the year or for a couple of weeks in the summers – the timing and options vary both with the duty station and the attorney’s flexibility.”

Detailed information can be found at the DCL-SELRES website:

Information regarding the DCL-SELRES application process can be found here:

Admiral Bert suggested that interested applicants contact LT Glenn Gray, Accessions Manager, Office of Legal Policy & Program Development (CG-LPD).  He can be reached at [email protected] and (202) 372-3822.  LT Gray will be happy to answer any questions regarding the program or the application.  He will also help interested MLA attorneys “navigate” the process.  Admiral Bert also noted that interested attorneys may contact MLA members Captain Mike Barton, Captain Dan Fitzgerald or Commander Lineka Quijano to hear their perspectives and experiences with RJAG.