Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Department of the Army

image of Michele A. Pearce

Michele A. Pearce was appointed the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Department of the Army on January 6, 2020.

As Principal Deputy General Counsel, Ms. Pearce serves as the first assistant to the General Counsel and is the number two attorney in the Department of the Army. Her duties include providing legal and policy advice to the Secretary of the Army, the Secretariat, and other Senior Army leaders.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Pearce served as the Department of Defense Deputy General Counsel (Legislation). In that role, she provided legal advice to senior leaders throughout DoD and the Military Services on matters concerning legislation, congressional testimony and investigations, and executive orders. She also served as DoD’s primary point of contact on such matters with the White House Office of Management and Budget and the White House Counsel's Office.

Previously, Ms. Pearce served as the Senior Defense Advisor to Senator Susan Collins; Staff Lead and Counsel of the Subcommittee on Readiness, Staff Lead of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Counsel of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. House of Representatives.

Before working in Congress, Ms. Pearce served as the Chief Clerk to Andrew Effron, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. She also served on active duty as a judge advocate from 1996 - 2009. During her active duty service, Ms. Pearce served as an aide to the Secretary of the Air Force and as an assistant executive to The Judge Advocate General. Additionally, she taught criminal law and trial practice as an adjunct faculty instructor at the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's School.

Ms. Pearce's publications include "Sexual Assault and Female Recruits," Recruit Medicine, Borden Institute, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Ms. Pearce formerly served as the Chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Judge Advocate General's School Foundation and the Nevada Rape Crisis Center, and the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security. Ms. Pearce's awards include the Alfred M. Kuhfeld Outstanding Judge Advocate of the Year Award; Air Combat Command's Inspector General Excellence Award, and Ritchey Leadership Award.

Ms. Pearce is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. She received her B.A., cum laude, from Mount Holyoke College and her J.D. from the University of Connecticut.

She is married to Lt Col (Ret) Stephen Pearce and has two children, Cate and Alexander.