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James E. McPherson
General Counsel of the Army
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James E. McPherson was confirmed by the United States Senate on Dec. 20, 2017. He was sworn in as the 22nd General Counsel of the United States Army on January 2, 2018.

As General Counsel, he is the chief lawyer of the Army ultimately responsible for determining the Army’s position on any legal question. He serves as legal counsel to the Secretary of the Army, Undersecretary, the five Assistant Secretaries, and other members of the Army Secretariat. He also exercises technical supervision over the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Army; the Office of Command Counsel, Army Materiel Command; and the Office of the Chief Counsel, Army Corps of Engineers.

For the ten years immediately prior to his service as General Counsel of the Army, McPherson was the Executive Director of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). NAAG is the professional association of the state, territorial, and District of Columbia attorneys general providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and insights on subjects of importance to its members. Before joining NAAG, McPherson served as the General Counsel for the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity where he was responsible for providing legal advice and assistance in the areas of counterintelligence, operational, and policy matters, intelligence oversight, contract and fiscal law, ethics, and a full range of administrative law matters.

In 2006, McPherson completed a distinguished career in the United States Navy, retiring as the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. His career included assignments as a Trial Attorney, Senior Prosecutor, Senior Defense Attorney, and Commanding Officer of a Trial Service Office. His assignments as a Staff Judge Advocate included shore assignments overseas, on major command staffs, and afloat. His Pentagon experience included tours as legal counsel to both the Vice Chief and the Chief of Naval Operations. McPherson’s first flag assignment was as the Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Commander, Naval Legal Service Command. In 2004, he was appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate as the Navy’s 39th Judge Advocate General. As the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, McPherson was the senior uniformed attorney in the Department of the Navy responsible for providing legal counsel and strategic advice to the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy. McPherson’s military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (two awards), and the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards). McPherson began his professional career as an enlisted soldier in the Army serving at the Presidio of San Francisco, South Korea, and the 1st Infantry Division.

McPherson is a 1977 graduate of San Diego State University and a 1981 graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. He holds a Master of Laws degree in military law from the Judge Advocate General’s School of the Army.

McPherson and his wife Jennifer have been married 27 years and have two adult children.