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Judge Advocate Continuation Pay

Judge Advocate Continuation Pay (JACP) is an incentive given to JAG officers to retain them in exchange for serving and remaining in the JAG Corps. After the officer has completed their first active duty service obligation (ADSO), the military will pay officers in the JAGC up to $60,000 in exchange for another four-years. The military offers two other programs as incentives to entice and keep legal specialists in the military. These are the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) and the Critical Skills Retention Bonus (CSRB). All three of these payments are taxable.

In order to receive Judge Advocate Continuation Pay, a service member must be serving currently as a qualified Judge Advocate in addition to fulfilling his/her ADSO. The officer must apply for JACP and each section of the military has different procedures for JACP. JACP is managed under the Continuation Pay Management System (CPMS). The officer’s supervisor must approve each Judge Advocate Continuation Pay. The application then proceeds through the officer’s entire supervisory chain and each officer must also approve the application. If disapprovals are made, those must be dealt with according to the strict rules and regulations in the code before the application can advance to final approval.

After approval, an installment plan is instituted along with the agreement. It is possible to prorate the agreement to accommodate different time periods. If the JAG officer does not complete the total amount of time specified in the agreement, he or she may have to repay some or all of the Judge Advocate Continuation Pay already paid. The installments are usually paid along with a further agreement to continue in service. For example, in the Navy the installments are paid in phases: Phase 1 is three years in length and pays $30,000; Phase 2 and 3 are both two years long and they pay $15,000 each.

JACP along with SLRP and CSRB make up substantial incentives for JAG Corps Officers to remain in service. Choosing to remain in service is never easy when a service member is faced with potentially larger salaries in civilian life. However, the JAG Corps offers a better lifestyle than that of civilian lawyers and these jobs are substantially more fulfilling than most civilian positions in the legal profession.

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