Message from the Commandant

  • Published
  • By Colonel James H. Kennedy III

The Judge Advocate General's School seal
Across the spectrum, JAGs and paralegals are leading the way, empowering commanders through operational freedom and on point, on time legal support.

We are excited to present the 75th Anniversary Edition of The JAG Reporter! Being a part of this historic celebration, I reflect back to 1999 when I was at my first duty assignment at Kelly Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, during the JAG Corps' 50th Anniversary Celebration. This was truly an exciting introduction to our Corps, and the Kelly legal team enthusiastically rang in a new millennium while celebrating the golden anniversary. Now, reflecting back on my twenty-seven years in the Corps, it has been an unbelievable privilege to serve through the notable history captured here in this Reporter. From September 11, 2001 and the Global War on Terror to the establishment of the Victims’ Counsel program and the pandemic response, members of our JAG Corps have been directly enabling important missions at home and around the globe. This 75th Anniversary Edition of The JAG Reporter showcases many of these contributions as well as our heritage and traditions. It is our hope that this publication will inspire the newest generation of legal professionals much like my team and I at Kelly AFB were inspired twenty-five years ago.


The focus behind the 75th Anniversary Edition inevitably takes a thorough look at our past twenty-five years as a Corps and ensures we preserve our rich heritage. However, this 75th Anniversary Edition also looks twenty-five years into the future to imagine and possibly even shape what our Corps will be like at one hundred years. The world is ever-changing. There are ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip with unknown impacts to our national security, a rapidly growing pacing threat in China, and an ever-present threat from North Korea. We are also on the precipice of fully implementing the major changes to military justice and established the Office of Special Trial Counsel, which successfully reached full operational capability on December 27, 2023. Additionally, we continue to combat never ending civil law challenges in a highly dynamic and litigious environment. Across the spectrum, JAGs and paralegals are leading the way, empowering commanders through operational freedom and on point, on time legal support.


Throughout all these changes, your JAG Corps has moved forward to develop leaders and ensure our Total Force Team stays on the cutting edge. Innovation has been a key component of our Corps, starting at the turn of the century with JAG Corps 21 to the current initiative to empower members throughout the Corps to drive innovation using the Guardians and Airmen Innovation Network (GAIN) system. Additionally, The Judge Advocate General’s School expanded and refined its courses significantly—adding thirty new course offerings in just the last ten years—and even enlarged the school’s physical footprint, assuring state-of-the-art facilities and curriculum well into the future.


The collective heritage presented in this 75th Anniversary Edition of The JAG Reporter has been proudly written through the experiences of the Total Force in their service to our Corps and Nation. While not every story could be collected into this publication, we have provided what we believe to be a diverse sampling of JAG Corps perspectives on the evolution of our Corps. We encourage you to share this great collection far and wide to showcase our accomplishments. Moreover, we implore all JAG Corps members—from officer and enlisted personnel, Guard and Reserve members, and our civilian teammates—to reflect on these articles and share their personal experiences and stories.


Finally, thank you to all the authors, contributors, and editors across the JAG Corps who were instrumental in creating this exceptional compilation. Without your diligent efforts, we would not have captured critical moments in our Corps’ illustrious history. The JAG Corps has contributed significantly to the shaping and enabling of key moments in the Department of the Air Force’s history over the last seventy⁠-⁠five years. We should all proudly share our enduring story with everyone. May our honorable heritage be the firm foundation and impetus to take us forward into an even brighter and more storied future!

Colonel James H. Kennedy III

Colonel James H. Kennedy III, USAF
Commandant, The Judge Advocate General's School