The Uniform Code of Military Justice is the foundation of military law in the United States. It was established by Congress in accordance with the authority given by the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 8, which provides that "The Congress shall have Power . . . To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces."
JAG Officer Training Requirements
Direct Commissioned Officer Course: A six-week course focusing on initial officer education and training requirements.
JAG Basic Officer Leadership Course: An 11-week Military and Operational Law Course
Origins of the Judge Advocate Generals Corps
In 1775, only a few days after assuming duties as commander-in-chief of the new army, GEN George Washington insisted that the Continental Congress appoint a lawyer to help with the many courts-martial being conducted. Congress acceded, and a "judge advocate," William Tudor, joined Washington's staff. This appointment of Tudor heralded the birth of a corps of lawyers and legal specialists that is today known as The Judge Advocate General's Corps. By 1776, this Army lawyer, known as the "Judge Advocate General," was personally conducting trials before courts-martial and other military tribunals. He acted not only as prosecutor, but also as legal adviser to the court and as "friend" of the accused.
While GEN Washington wanted a judge advocate to oversee the administration of military justice, his concerns also reflected the larger debate about justice and legal authority that was fueling the American Revolution. The new Nation envisioned by the Founding Fathers was a bold social and political experiment: the 'Rule of Law' would replace the 'Divine Right of Kings.' This Rule of Law was grounded in respect: government would respect individual rights and freedoms, and in return, individuals would respect the government's obligation to regulate and enforce standards of behavior. It is the Rule of Law, in both civilian life and in the military, that ensures Order, Justice, and Equality.
In any event, since the Revolution, the American Army has had its own lawyers - who assist commanders in enforcing Army standards and reinforcing Army values. Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage thrive when soldiers know that they will be treated equally, and that rules and regulations apply to all, regardless of rank or assignment. And judge advocates have always played a critical role in ensuring that these standards and values are obeyed.