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United States Coast Guard

Direct Commission Lawyer Program



The Direct Commission Lawyer Program hires between 6 and 12 new attorneys each year. The recruiting cycle runs with the fiscal year (Oct 1 - Sep 30), with one to three selection boards between October and February for training starting July or August. Deadlines are approximately six weeks prior to established deadlines. The Coast Guard Recruiting website contains further details regarding application deadlines. After the last deadline for the fiscal year, completed applications will only be considered for the following fiscal year.


For more information and application forms, go to 

 (Click on Officer Careers- Programs- More Info- Direct Commission Programs)

The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service and one of the nation’s five Armed Services. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests - in the nation’s ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.

The need...

Because of its expansive role in the country's national defense and maritime interests, the Coast Guard has a continuing need for military attorneys. To help meet this need, the Coast Guard offers qualified law school graduates the opportunity to serve as military judge advocates. The Coast Guard's legal program reflects the service's missions. Judge Advocates frequently are involved in such diverse areas as Military Justice, Trial Advocacy, Tort Law, Administrative Law, Maritime and International Law, Environmental Law, Labor Law, Procurement Law, and Law Enforcement, among other areas.

How it works...

Selectees are required to serve on active duty as Coast Guard officers and receive four-year contracts. Currently, selected are commissioned as Lieutenants in the Coast Guard Reserve and receive three years of constructive active service credit (for promotion purposes only). They attend a five week Direct Commission Officer Course at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, followed by a two-week Operations Orientation Program on board various Coast Guard Cutters, and a ten-week Basic Lawyer Course at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island. From there, the newly commissioned judge advocates report to their initial duty stations.

Salary & Benefits...

Since the Coast Guard is one of the country's five armed forces, the pay and allowances are the same as for the other military services. Your exact pay would depend on whether you have dependents and where you are stationed. (See Pay Table below).  Benefits include free medical and dental care, 30 days paid annual vacation (not counting ten federal holidays), low cost $400,000 term life insurance, tuition assistance for off-duty education, post-graduate education opportunities, and the ability to contribute to tax-free retirement accounts under the federal Thrift Savings Plan.  Other benefits include: use of commissaries (grocery stores) and exchanges (retail department stores), space available travel on government aircraft, use of military recreational facilities around the world, and excellent retirement and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits.

To view military pay chart

Latest Pay Rates and Benefits


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Last Modified 1/12/2016