A comprehensive and effective program for the professional development of career civilian attorneys in the Department of the Army is critical to ensuring the Department receives quality legal services. Training plays a fundamental and critical role in professional development. Our leadership excellence, management effectiveness, and technical expertise for today and the future depend on our commitment to professional development and training. This master training plan for Army civilian attorneys is intended as a comprehensive but flexible expression of a commitment to employee professional development to provide excellence in client service. The plan includes both functional and leader training linked to competencies. It incorporates Army civilian leader development through the Army Civilian Education System.


The goals of the master training plan are:

  • To develop and maintain legal, management, and leader competence.
  • To enhance individual performance.
  • To ensure professionalism.
  • To foster career development.
  • To recruit and retain high performing employees.
  • To ensure excellence in client service.
  • To build the bench for the future.
  • All attorneys will continue their legal education in order to meet their ethical obligation to maintain the competence and integrity of the legal profession and to provide excellence in client service.
  • All attorneys are responsible for remaining a member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This includes satisfying any applicable continuing legal education requirements of the licensing authority.
  • All attorneys must satisfy any requirements for professional responsibility training imposed by the applicable qualifying authority.
  • All attorneys will actively participate in their own career development.
  • Civilian attorneys enter the Army at various grade levels with different capabilities, experience, training and aspirations. There is no one-size-fits-all training plan for all civilian attorneys.
  • Training and professional development is a requirement for all attorneys. Some civilian attorneys will elect to serve the Army at one particular installation, depot, or division legal office for an entire career. These attorneys are valuable resources and the career field will not impose mandatory mobility. An attorney who is not mobile, however, may not have the same training and career development opportunities as another high performing employee who is willing to move to different locations for progressively challenging professional opportunities.
  • Training comes in many forms including self development, on the job training, formal classroom training, distributed learning, and developmental assignments.
  • Training decisions will be made by supervisors considering the best interests of the Army and the individual attorney with the objective of ensuring excellence in client service.
  • All training decisions will be consistent with equal employment opportunity and merit principles.
  • Although there is no formal mobility requirement in the legal career field at this time, such requirements may be implemented in the future for consideration for select positions. Functional and geographical mobility is a factor in evaluating potential post-training utilization of long-term training nominees.
  1. Employee.
    • Maintain legal competency.
    • Satisfy continuing legal education requirements of his or her licensing authority and Army qualifying authority.
    • Seek appropriate training opportunities to assist in career development and increase excellence in client service.
    • Assist his or her supervisor in the preparation of a 3yIDP that adequately addresses the employee's training needs.

  2. Employee's Supervisor.
    • Develop an 3yIDP for each subordinate civilian attorney. Consider applicable competencies in Annex B and input from the employee.
    • At least annually meet with each subordinate civilian attorney to discuss career development.
    • Provide training opportunities for all civilian attorneys under their supervision.
    • Subject to availability of funds, provide each subordinate civilian attorney the opportunity to attend at least one substantive legal training course per year.
    • Ensure civilian attorneys are trained and competent to professionally provide quality client service in current position.
    • Ensure civilian attorneys who are supervisors and managers attend mandatory Army leader training.
    • Support career development. Make every effort to provide leadership and management training and development opportunities for high potential civilian attorneys.
    • Train, mentor, coach and counsel.
    • Provide on-the-job training and cross training opportunities.

  3. Leaders at all Levels.
    • Ensure that supervisors of civilian attorneys satisfy their responsibilities under this plan.
    • Support career development of civilian attorneys.
    • Develop and support organizational culture that encourages self development, cross training, continuing legal education, and leader development.
    • Make every effort to provide leadership and management training and development opportunities for high potential civilian attorneys.
    • Train, mentor, coach and counsel.

  1. Self-Development. Self-development activities increase employees' knowledge and improve competence in an area of interest. A self-development activity is an individual, voluntary effort undertaken on the individual's own initiative. Self-development generally indicates that an employee has a strong desire to achieve career goals. Employees are encouraged to expand their knowledge through professional reading, participation in professional associations, professional writing and teaching.
  2. On-The-Job Training. On-the-job training is a primary component of attorney training and development. It may be structured or unstructured. Ordinarily, an employee will work with or under the supervision of an experienced attorney to learn a new skill or area of legal practice.
  3. Cross-Training. Cross-training is training outside the attorney's specific area of practice. Supervisors should encourage cross training of attorneys within a legal office. Cross-training exposes attorneys to other areas of practice, expands attorneys' skills and experience, assists the office in responding to surges in workload, and improves client service.
  4. Developmental Assignments. Developmental assignments build knowledge, skills, and abilities by providing employees experiences not normally encountered within the legal office to which they are assigned. Such assignments can provide exposure to different echelons of command and to the legal issues unique to those commands. Developmental assignments can also provide invaluable cross-command experiences; specifically, between qualifying authorities. Such experiences broaden the perspectives and knowledge bases of the employee, while allowing the Army's legal services to benefit from shared best practices. Other benefits include:

    • Broadening the knowledge base of those competing for greater responsibility positions.
    • Improved coordination and knowledge sharing between qualifying authorities.
    • Immediate source of talent to address mission surges.
    • Exposure to new offices/commands increases social capital and improves knowledge sharing networks.

    1. Forms. Developmental assignments have no set form and are generally only limited by the creativity of supervisors and employees. For purposes of ACTEDS, short-term developmental assignments are defined as lasting 120 days or less, while long-term training is defined as more than 120 days. For specifics regarding administration and coverage of expenses by ACTEDS, see the ACTEDS Training Catalog, Chapter 3, . Centrally funded professional development must be approved through a competitive process. For more detailed information regarding the requirements for utilizing ACTEDS funds on Competitive Professional Development, see AR 350-1, Army Civilian Training Interim Policy Guidance.

      The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples and supervisors are encouraged to contact their CP 56 Command Representative to discuss possible options.

      i. PROJECT-BASED. Project-based assignments are defined by a discrete task to be accomplished. For example, an employee may be assigned to assist with a complex litigation case, major regulation legal review/drafting, full-time inter-organization workgroups, etc. Project-based developmental assignments would likely develop in-depth knowledge and experience in specific areas of the legal practice. Such assignments will likely entail temporary duty for the duration or for a part of the assignment.

      ii. TIME-LIMITED. Unlike the project-based assignment which is limited by a defined progress toward the project's goal, the time-limited assignment is for a pre-determined period and not necessarily tied to the accomplishment of a specific end-product. For example, employees may be temporarily assigned to a 9 to 12 month teaching assignment at The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School (TJAGLCS) where the individual would perform a variety of teaching and administrative functions. Another example would be a 9 to 12 month assignment at a HQ/MACOM legal office reviewing command-wide policies - instead of being assigned to the review of a specific policy as above, the employee would review a variety of actions during the assignment. A third variation of a time-limited developmental assignment would be to deploy with a contingency operation to provide legal services.

      iii. LOCAL SWAPS. Many installation, USACE, and AMC legal offices are co-located within the same commuting area and provide opportunities for employees to take developmental assignments with differing commands. These local swaps further integrate the Army's legal services and facilitate knowledge sharing. Since the swaps are local, family disruption is limited and office disruption is minimized, and there is no resulting labor shortage/need to backfill. The local swap also improves skills and knowledge sharing by compelling the two participating employees to mentor each other during the temporary assignments.

      iv. LOCAL PROJECTS. Many offices have initiatives that are never undertaken due to overriding mission needs. Sponsoring organizations can solicit volunteers to undertake the special project. Although some travel may be involved, it is expected that a majority of the project would be accomplished at the permanent duty location.

  5. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Courses. See Annex F
  6. Reserve Judge Advocate Officer's Advanced Course. As a distributed learning course available to civilians, it provides a necessary orientation of the legal areas in which an Army attorney practices. This encompasses personnel law, legal basis of command, legal assistance, criminal law, contract and fiscal law, law of war and status of forces agreements. See
  1. Reference. The ACTEDS Training Catalog, Chapter 3,, provides detailed guidance regarding the administration of competitive professional development (administrative processing, authorized expenses, performance management, leave, grades, etc.). The following are two long-term training opportunities. On a case-by-case basis, the Department of the Army Civilian Attorney Professional Development Board may identify additional training opportunities appropriate for competitive professional development. Academic Degree Training must be approved prior to attendance by the ASA (M&RA).
  2. Judge Advocate Officer's Graduate Course. In 1996, TJAG authorized the attendance of civilian attorneys at the Resident Judge Advocate Officer's Graduate Course at TJAGLCS. Accredited by the American Bar Association, the ten month course prepares experienced attorneys for supervisory duties and other positions of increased responsibility. Students who successfully complete the course receive a Master of Laws (LL.M) in Military Law. Attendance will result in a service obligation in accordance with 5 USC § 4108. Eligibility:

    • Army career civilian attorneys in grades GS-12 to GS-14 or equivalent serving under any of the four Army qualifying authorities
    • Army career civilian attorneys who have at least four years of civilian attorney service with the U.S. Army as of 1 September of the academic year the course begins.
    • Attorneys who have not previously attended or completed the resident Judge Advocate Officer's Graduate Course.

  3. Civilian Law School Master of Laws. Whereas the Military Law LL.M provides broad-based advanced legal training as it relates to a military legal office, the civilian LL.M is narrowly tailored to a specific practice area. The program is intended to provide the Army with a cadre of civilian attorneys with advanced legal education in specialized areas of the law to meet the increasingly complex legal challenges facing the Army. The program also offers an opportunity for highly motivated individuals to further their own professional development, increase their promotion potential, and enhance their mentoring capability. Similar to the military law LL.M, attendance will result in a service obligation in accordance with 5 USC § 4108. Eligibility:

    • Army career civilian attorneys in grades GS-12 to GS-15 or equivalent serving under any of the four Army qualifying authorities
    • Army career civilian attorneys who have at least four years of civilian attorney service with the U.S. Army as of 1 September of the academic year the course begins.

    1. Program Description. On an annual or as needed basis, the Army will competitively select a limited number of civilian attorneys to pursue an LL.M degree in a specialized area of the law as determined by the Army. Upon matriculation, attorneys will be assigned to positions that the Army determines will best benefit from such enhanced specialization.
    2. Selection Procedure. The Department of the Army Civilian Attorney Professional Development Board (Board) will determine the areas of legal specialization and number of positions to fill for the next academic cycle. Candidates will be solicited through an announcement to all Army attorneys that will explain eligibility, the offered LL.M concentrations, application procedures, and post-program obligations and placement. The Board will then appoint a selection committee comprised of representatives from each of the four Qualifying Authorities. At least one member of the committee will have experience in the area(s) of specialization to be filled. The committee will conditionally select the LL.M candidates they believe are the best qualified for the specialties under consideration. Final selection will be determined by the Board upon the candidates' admission to an approved LL.M program. Non-selection of a candidate does not preclude future reconsideration.
    3. Funding. While attending the LL.M program, attorneys will be paid their full salary with the required tuition and schooling costs being assumed by the Army. Relocation costs to and from the program's location will be paid, if applicable.
    4. Backfill Reimbursement. If the position left vacant by LL.M student is backfilled with a temporary promotion or by someone outside the command, the increased cost incurred by the command will be reimbursed by ACTEDS.
    5. Utilization Tours. Graduates of the LL.M program will be assigned to a utilization tour as determined by the Board. In some circumstances the utilization tour will be served at the prior duty station; however most utilization tours will be at a new duty station and/or command. Utilization tours may be deferred at the discretion of the Board.
    6. Recoupment of costs. Graduates who do not successfully complete their LL.M program, or who do not fulfill their service obligation, may be subject to recoupment actions to recover the costs of their schooling and other associated expenses.

  1. Self Development.
    1. Civilian Leader Improvement Battery (CLIMB) is a voluntary web-based leadership skill assessment tool used to measure an employee's standing in 27 leadership competencies and then provide a link to training opportunities that may be considered to address the employee's strengths and weaknesses. For more information on CLIMB go to (Link revised 09/27/12)
    2. Reading Lists. See for example Army Management Staff College Dean's Top ten Leadership Book List at

  2. Developmental Assignments. Details regarding the different forms of developmental assignments are provided in Section E, above. These assignments are equally applicable to leader development, with the primary difference being that leadership and not legal skill development is the assignment's focus. For example, rather than being temporarily assigned to a workgroup as a legal advisor, the attorney is assigned as an acting supervisor. Instead of reviewing course materials for a conference/course, the individual is appointed as conference/course manager.
  3. Civilian Education System (CES). The CES is a progressive and sequential leader development program that provides leader development and education opportunities for Army civilian employees throughout their careers. CES is composed of seven leader development courses. A brief summary of the core leadership courses is provided below. The CES also includes the Action Officer Development Course, Supervisory Development Course, and the Manager Development Course. CES combines distance learning with resident training. Generally, courses are centrally funded for civilian employee attendees. For detailed information about course eligibility, prerequisites, application procedures, schedules, equivalencies and substitutions see

    1. Foundation Course. A distributed learning course required for all newly hired team leaders, supervisors, and managers. Provides employees with an understanding of the structure of the U.S. Army, the Army's leadership doctrine, and the personnel system for Army civilians.
    2. Basic Course. Distance learning and a 2 week resident course. Required course for all Army civilians newly assigned as team leaders, supervisors or managers. Designed for civilians in leadership positions with responsibilities to effectively lead and supervise employees. Training focuses on basic education in leadership and counseling fundamentals, interpersonal skills and self awareness.
    3. Intermediate Course. Distance learning and a 3 week resident course. A required course for Army civilians with permanent appointments to a supervisory or managerial position. Designed for civilians in supervisory or managerial positions who are adaptive, innovative, self aware, and prepared to effectively lead and care for personnel and manage resources. Training and developmental exercises focus on planning, team building, establishing command climate, and stewardship of resources.
    4. Advanced Course. Distance learning and a 4-week resident course. Designed for Army civilian leaders who exercise predominately indirect supervision and who are adaptive, innovative, self-aware, and capable of effectively leading a complex organization, guiding programs, and managing associated resources. The training focus is on strategic thinking and assessment, change management, developing a cohesive organization, managing a diverse workplace, and management of resources.

  4. Senior Service College. Army War College, National War College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Senior Service College prepares civilians for positions of great responsibility in the Department of Defense. Civilians who attend must have an understanding of complex policy and operational challenges and the national security mission. They must be high performing leaders with outstanding potential for more responsible leadership positions across the enterprise. Attendance is centrally funded. Army War College offers both a distance learning and resident program. For information about eligibility requirements, course prerequisites, application and nomination procedures, competitive selection process, and service commitments see
  5. Senior Executive Fellows Program at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. A 4-week course designed to build executive skills in political and public management, negotiation, human resource management, policy making, organizational strategy, communication, ethics, and leadership. The program is a unique opportunity to gain perspectives on public policy and management, to strengthen managerial skills, and to acquire insights into managerial practice. The program curriculum addresses ways for leaders to become more effective in problem solving, strategic analysis, persuasion, and negotiation. Applications and nominations are reviewed by a HQDA Board. The program is not centrally funded. For details see
  6. Office of Personnel Management Federal Executive Institute and Management Development Centers. For more information on leadership training available at OPM's Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia and OPM's Management Development Centers in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and Aurora, Colorado see the ACTEDS Training Catalog for more detailed information,