Applications for the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) and Excess Leave Program (ELP) are being accepted from 1 January through 1 March 2014. Interested officers are encouraged to compete. The number of FLEP and ELP applicants selected n any academic year is determined based on the needs of the Air Force.
“Our Air Force missions are constantly changing, and commanders deserve to have access to legal advisors with a broad background of military experiences,” said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Schuchs-Gopaul, 355th Fighter Wing Staff Judge Advocate. “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 Lt. Col. Schuchs-Gopaul, 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.
“We have JAGs at Davis-Monthan AFB that have participated in both the FLEP and ELP programs,” said Lt. Col. Schuchs-Gopaul. “They bring experience from other career field into JAG. It is a win-win for our commanders, the member and the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Schuchs-Gopaul.
The FLEP is a paid legal studies program for active-duty Air Force commissioned officers. The FLEP is an assignment action, and participants receive full pay, allowances, and tuition. FLEP 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 is subject to tuition limitations, and positions may be limited due to overall funding availability. The Air Force Institute of Technology tuition limit for FY14 is expected to be set at approximately $16,000 per year.
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 the first day of law school.
Applications for FY14 FLEP and ELP will be accepted from Jan.1, 2014 through March 1, 2014. Both the FLEP and ELP require attendance at an American Bar Association (ABA) approved 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 have completed all application forms, applied (acceptance is not required at the time of application for FLEP/ELP) to at least one ABA approved law school, received their Law School Admissions Test results, and completed a Staff Judge Advocate interview by March 1, 2014. We strongly suggest that you endeavor to schedule your interview before Feb. 15, 2014. Officers must also provide a letter of conditional release from their current career field. Selection for both programs is competitive.
Applications meet a selection board in early March, and selections are made based on a review of the entire 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 www.airforce.com/jag, contact Major Felix Sutanto at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Captain Megan C. Mallone, HQ USAF/JAX (email@example.com or 1-800-JAG-USAF).