Becoming a Military Judge: Requirements, Education, and Career Path

Becoming a Military Judge: Requirements, Education, and Career Path

A military judge is a legal professional who presides over courts-martial, which are military courts that handle criminal cases involving military personnel. To become a military judge, one must meet specific requirements and go through a rigorous education and career path. In this article, we’ll explore the steps needed to become a military judge.

Requirements to Become a Military Judge

To become a military judge, an individual must first be a commissioned officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, preferably with a legal background. Candidates must have at least ten years of active-duty service in the military, and they must have completed a graduate law degree from an American Bar Association-accredited law school. Additionally, they must have been admitted to the bar of a state or federal court in the United States.

Education and Career Path

After meeting the minimum requirements, the next step is to gain experience in the legal field. Many aspiring military judges start as prosecutors or defense attorneys in courts-martial. They may also work as legal advisors to military commanders or in other legal positions within the military.

To qualify for a military judge position, a candidate must complete a specialized training program at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, the Naval Justice School, or the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School. This program typically lasts 12-15 weeks and covers topics such as military law, courtroom procedures, and judicial ethics.

Once a candidate completes the training program, they may be considered for appointment as a military judge by the President of the United States. The appointment must be confirmed by the Senate, and the individual will serve for a term of four years.

Career Advancement

After serving as a military judge, an individual may be eligible for further career advancement within the military justice system. Some military judges may be appointed to serve as judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces or as a judge on the Court of Military Commission Review. These positions require additional education and experience in the legal field, as well as Senate confirmation.


Becoming a military judge is a challenging and rewarding career path for those who are interested in the law and the military justice system. It requires a minimum of ten years of military service, a graduate law degree, and admission to the bar of a state or federal court in the United States. Additionally, specialized training and experience in the legal field are necessary, and candidates must be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. With dedication and hard work, a military judge can advance their career and serve their country with honor and distinction.