Brig. Gen. Sharon A. Shaffer is the Commander, Air Force Legal Operations Agency, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. As the Judge Advocate General's Corps' only G-Series commander, she is responsible for the command and control of a 900-member organization of legal professionals composed of officers, enlisted members, civilian attorneys, paralegals and support staff, operating at 76 locations worldwide. She is responsible for assisting The Judge Advocate General in the administration of military justice throughout the Air Force, and defending the Air Force in civil litigation before federal and state courts and administrative boards. She is also responsible for training Air Force legal professionals through The Judge Advocate General's School and providing legal information technology support to Air Force legal offices worldwide. Additionally, AFLOA is organized around a system of field support centers of legal specialists. They include legal experts in military justice, commercial litigation, contract law, aircraft accident investigations, environmental law, labor law, medical law, utility litigation, tort law and the Air Force Claims Service Center.
Brig. Gen. Shaffer was commissioned as an Air Force officer through the direct appointment program and entered active duty on February 5, 1990. She has served as a Circuit Trial Counsel, Circuit Defense Counsel, Military Judge and Staff Judge Advocate for Air Force Reserve Command, Pacific Air Forces and Air Combat Command. In 2003, Brig. Gen. Shaffer was selected as the first Deputy Chief Defense Counsel for the Office of Military Commissions and assigned to represent one of the first four detainees charged in the Global War on Terrorism. Brig. Gen. Shaffer has tried more than 150 courts-martial as trial and defense counsel and presided as a military judge in 160 general and special courts-martial.
Brig. Gen. Shaffer is licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan, the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the United States Supreme Court.
1985 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and German, Kansas State University, Manhattan
1989 Juris Doctor, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Lansing
1992 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1998 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2003 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2013 Joint Air and Space Operations Senior Staff Course, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
2018 Continuous Process Improvement for Executives, Durham, N.C.
2018 Capstone General and Flag Officer Course, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1. March 1990 – February 1992, Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Air Force Military Training Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas
2. February 1992 – March 1994, Circuit Trial Counsel, Second Judicial Circuit, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
3.March 1994 – July 1995, Circuit Defense Counsel, First Judicial Circuit, Bolling AFB, Washington D.C.
4. July 1995 – July 1997, Chief, Accessions and Recruiting Branch, Office of The Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
5. July 1997 – June 1998, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
6. June 1998 – October 2000, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Dover AFB, Del.
7. October 2000 – July 2003, Military Judge, USAF Eastern Circuit Trial Judiciary, Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C.
8. July 2003 – January 2005, Deputy Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions, Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
9. January 2005 – July 2006, HQ AF/JAA, Legal Advisor for SAF/IGS, The Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
10. July 2006 – June 2007, Chief, Military Justice Division, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, & Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Headquarters Third Air Force
11. June 2007 – July 2008, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Headquarters, United States Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein AB, Germany
12. July 2008 – June 2010, Staff Judge Advocate, Headquarters, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB, Ga.
13. June 2010 – June 2012, Director of Staff/Chief, TJAG Action Group, Office of The Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
14. June 2012 – August 2016, Staff Judge Advocate, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam, Hawaii
15. August 2016 – May 2018, Staff Judge Advocate, Headquarters Air Combat Command, JB Langley-Eustis, Va.
16. May 2018 – present, Commander, Air Force Legal Operations Agency (AFLOA), JB Andrews, Md.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with four oak leaf clusters & silver leaf cluster
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
1987 American Jurisprudence Award/Constitutional Law, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
1991 Company Grade Officer of the 2nd Quarter, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas
1991 Company Grade Officer of the Year, Lackland AFB, Texas
1991 Air Force Association Company Grade Officer of the Year
1991 Outstanding Young Judge Advocate of the Year, Air Training Command
2004 President’s Commendation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
2005 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty Winner - ACLU
2005 Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
First Lieutenant Feb. 5, 1990
Captain Aug. 5, 1990
Major Feb. 1, 1997
Lt Colonel Aug. 1, 2002
Colonel May 1, 2007
Brigadier General May 18, 2018
FORMAL PRESENTATIONS, LECTURES
April 2013: Defence Legal Joint Legal Issues Workshop, Puckapunyal, Australia: Presenter: “Current Issues in Sexual Assault & Special Victims Counsel Program”
October 2006: The George Washington Law Review Symposium on “The New Face of Armed Conflict”: Presenter: “Practitioner’s Views from Guantanamo”
October 2006: National Association of Women Judges: 28th Annual Conference: Keynote Speaker, “Women Judges at War”
December 2005: United States Air Force Academy; Presenter: “Loyalties as a Military Officer vs Loyalties to the Constitution”
June 2005: Interview on 60 Minutes with Ed Bradley; “Defending Terrorists”
March 2005: Supreme Court Fellows Presentation; Presenter: “Military Justice vs Military
Commissions – Mounting Defense Challenges”
May 2004: Sudan Bar Association & Judiciary; Khartoum, Sudan; Presenter: “The American Judicial System”
(Current as of June 2019)