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News | June 23, 2017

First Navy Sailor Earns Law Degree Through JAG Corps In-Service Procurement Program

By Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Kadlec, Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington

On May 20, Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Christopher Salmon, from Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington (RLSO NDW), graduated from George Mason University’s law school, earning his Juris Doctor cum laude.

This is a landmark achievement, as Salmon is one of the first Sailors to earn his law degree through the JAG Corps’ relatively new and highly competitive In-Service Procurement Program (IPP). And he graduated with honors, no less!

Prior to IPP, Salmon served several tours in the Navy and Marine Corps aviation communities, including with Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron TWO FOUR (MALS-24). He has deployed to El Salvador, Iraq, Sicily, Qatar and Japan. Salmon moved around a lot growing up, but he considers California and Hawaii his homes. Salmon is a remarkable, motivated Sailor who applied to IPP to pursue his dream of earning a law degree, becoming a judge advocate, and serving the fleet in a new capacity. With more than 10 years of experience as an enlisted Sailor, he has a unique perspective that he hopes to utilize when serving his clients.

“JAG Corps IPP is an amazing program,” he states enthusiastically. “It provides a fantastic opportunity for motivated Sailors to go to law school and become a Navy judge advocate without having to separate from the Navy.” “Prior enlisted judge advocates are valuable assets to any wardroom, we have a wealth of deck-plate experience that uniquely positions us to better serve our clients,” he adds. “Procurement of judge advocates from the fleet of not just junior officers, but enlisted Sailors, brings diverse and unique leadership experiences into the JAG Corps.”

Salmon’s prior service as a Sailor prepared him well for law school.

“The Navy taught me to work hard, stay dedicated to the mission, and manage my time effectively,” he says. 

He also recalls many fond memories and challenges during law school. Perhaps his fondest memory is of the great classmates and professors he met along the way, including other JAG Corps IPP and Navy Law Education Program classmates. During law school,  Salmon was assigned to RLSO NDW. Throughout law school, he was an integrated member of the command, participating in command fitness, general military training, social functions and summer internships at RLSO NDW and other Navy legal offices. There currently are four other JAG Corps IPP students at various stages in law school, three of whom are assigned to RLSO NDW to attend school at George Mason.

Salmon currently is studying for the Hawai’i bar exam, after which he’ll be placed into the pipeline for commissioning, Officer Development School, Naval Justice School and his first assignment as a judge advocate. He hopes to practice international and criminal law, and also looks forward to being a staff judge advocate (SJA).

“I think I will really like being a SJA because you never know what will come across your desk,” he states. Salmon has also served as a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate, and is also excited about the possibility of working as a Navy Victims’ Legal Counsel someday. “I think my prior experience will uniquely position me to empathize with understand, and advocate for victims of sexual assault,” he said. “I love that, as a judge advocate, I will have the opportunity to practice many different areas of law," he concluded.

The JAG Corps IPP was established in 2013, and provides outstanding, career-motivated enlisted personnel of all ratings, who meet the eligibility criteria, the opportunity to earn a law degree and commission in the Navy JAG Corps.

For more details on the Navy JAG Corps IPP, eligibility criteria, and application procedures, please visit the Navy JAG Corps’ website at or contact a local JAG Corps professional development officer (PDO), judge advocate, senior enlisted leader, or the JAG Corps Accessions Program (PERS 4416). Also, please consult Navy Program Authorization 111A and the annual NAVADMIN announcing the convening of the next IPP Selection Board.

Bravo Zulu to Salmon for his tremendous success in law school! He is a true testament to the JAG Corps and IPP, and we look forward to welcoming him as a new judge advocate. We agree with him -- his diverse background and experiences will add immeasurable value to our community and the services we provide. He has set the gold standard for JAG Corps IPP students to come, and we could not be more proud.
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