LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
Applications for the Funded Legal Education Program or FLEP, and Excess Leave Program, or ELP, will be accepted Jan. 1 - March 1, 2011. The programs are designed to allow active-duty officers to apply for and attend law school.
FLEP is a paid legal studies program for active-duty Air Force commissioned officers and is considered an assignment action in which participants receive full pay, allowances and tuition. Applicants must have between two and six years active-duty service (enlisted or commissioned) and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the day they begin law school.
The FLEP program is subject to tuition limitations and positions may be limited due to overall funding availability. The Air Force Institute of Technology tuition limit for fiscal year 2010 was approximately $16,000 per year. This amount may change year to year.
The ELP is an unpaid legal studies program for Air Force officers where 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 10 years active duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the first day of law school.
"Our Air Force missions are constantly changing, and commanders deserve to have access to legal advisors with a broad background of military experiences," said Maj. T. Shane Heavener, Chief of the Accessions Branch, Professional Development Directorate, Office of The Judge Advocate General. "The FLEP and ELP will ensure that we can continue to maintain a corps of officers whose military experience complements their legal training providing commanders with the highest caliber of legal support."
According to Col. Dan Rogers, 502nd Air Base Wing Staff Judge Advocate, Air Force JAGs do more than just provide legal assistance. In addition to prosecuting and defending clients brought before courts-martial, JAG officers routinely participate in nearly every facet of the Air Force mission including developing and acquiring weapons systems, ensuring availability of airspace and ranges where those systems are tested and operated, consulting with commanders about how those systems are employed in armed conflict, and assisting commanders in the day-to-day running of military installations around the world.
"Every facet of every Air Force mission is bound by elements of the law," Colonel Rogers said.
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.
To be considered for FLEP or ELP, applicants must complete all application forms, applied (acceptance is not required at the time of application for FLEP or ELP) to at least one ABA accredited law school, received their Law School Admissions Test results, and completed a Staff Judge Advocate interview by Feb. 15, 2011. Officers must also provide a letter of conditional release from their current career field. Selection for both programs is competitive.
Applications go before a selection board in early March 2011, and selections are made based on a review of the application package using a whole person concept.
Visit www.airforce.com/jag for application materials. For more information on the programs, read Air Force Instruction 51-101, Judge Advocate Accession Program, Chapters 2 and 3 or contact Capt. Jane Koudelka, 502nd ABW legal office at 808-0019 or Capt. Laura DeSio, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate Office, at 1-800-JAG-USAF.