Vice Admiral James W. Houck joins Penn State Law

Vice Admiral James W. Houck, who is about to retire from his position as the 41st Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the U.S. Navy, will join the faculty of Penn State University Dickinson School of Law. Houck plans to focus his teaching and scholarship on international and national security law as well as maritime law and policy.

“It’s a great privilege to have the Judge Advocate General come to Penn State Law,” said Law School Dean Philip J. McConnaughay. “Admiral Houck’s leadership experience as well as his expertise in international maritime law and policy will significantly enhance our integrated approach to law and international affairs.”

As the Judge Advocate General, Houck served as the principal military legal counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations and led the 2,300 attorneys, enlisted legal staff, and civilian employees which comprise the worldwide Navy JAG Corps. He also served as the Department of Defense Representative for Ocean Policy Affairs and oversaw the Department of the Navy’s military justice system.

Houck has lectured at numerous law schools including Penn State over the past several years addressing issues in international and national security law as well as the role of military lawyers. “I have been impressed by the national and international character of the students and faculty at Penn State Law,” Houck said. “Penn State’s decision to co-locate the School of International Affairs and the Law School has created great synergy for both schools and I look forward to joining this dynamic environment. “

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, Houck qualified as a surface warfare officer aboard a destroyer before attending the University of Michigan for his law degree. Among his assignments as a Navy JAG, Houck served as deputy legal counsel to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and as principal legal counsel to the commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and the commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain. Houck also served in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs, and has been a Navy prosecutor and defense attorney. He holds a master of laws degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

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Last Updated July 24, 2012