Code in Perspective: Military Personnel (Code 61)

From “cradle to grave,” the primary focus of the Military Personnel Division (Code 61) is the recruitment, retention, manpower resources and career progression of Navy judge advocates. They are also […]

From “cradle to grave,” the primary focus of the Military Personnel Division (Code 61) is the recruitment, retention, manpower resources and career progression of Navy judge advocates. They are also responsible for implementing the JAG Corps diversity initiatives.

Code 61’s primary function is to provide technical advice on membership development, requirements and composition of statutory and administrative boards, which includes statutory promotion, command screen, and accessions selection. They also analyze end strength and accession, develop promotion plans and zones, process command structure reorganizations and manage the manpower resources, working in concert with Navy Personnel Command.

One of the most impactful functions of Code 61 is overseeing the recruiting program and budget for the Office of the Judge Advocate General and the Naval Legal Service Command, which spans more than 200 ABA-accredited law schools and national diverse legal and law student groups. Additionally, it coordinates 175 recruiting events annually and oversees the summer internship and externship programs, which boasts an annual placement of up to 70 law students at legal offices worldwide to experience the life and practice of the Navy judge advocate.

There are many paths to becoming a Navy judge advocate, and Code 61 manages these accessions program, overseeing the commissioning of new officers through the Student Program, Direct Appointments, Law Education Program and the In-service Procurement Program. Competition is keen with JAG Corps receiving more than 500 student applications for between 50-70 annual accessions. Code 61 coordinates the annual boards for all applicants.

A key element for a well-rounded JAG Corps is diversity. In 2017, Code 61 launched the National and Student Diversity Organizations Liaison Program, tasking exceptional officers as partners to national and student diversity organizations. Their goal is to increase valuable communication and outreach with community leaders and encourage and mentor potential applicants. As managing authority for the diversity program, Code 61 aggressively seeks out qualified applicants from all ABA-accredited law schools and attends regional and national diversity legal job fairs, conferences, moot courts, and conventions.

While the recruiting process is vital to maintaining a healthy JAG community, retention is equally important. Code 61 organized and led a JAG Corps working group focused on maintaining a strong and resilient force by exploring the range of reasons officers cite when they elect to leave the service. Code 61 serves as the JAG Corps clearinghouse for various policies and programs which focus on retention, including continuation pay, the Career Intermission Program, post-graduate education, mentoring programs, student loan survey, maternity and paternity policies, telework policies and professional development opportunities.

From recruiting diverse and well-rounded individuals to overseeing issues and situations that can affect retention, Code 61 is committed to maintaining a healthy JAG community by efficiently managing its manpower resources, developing a fair and career-focused command structure and billet organization, design challenging career progression pathways, and promote diversity and retention.