Brig. Gen. Flora D. Darpino

Brig. Gen. Flora D. Darpino (Gettysburg College)

WASHINGTON — For the first time in the Army’s history, a woman will become the service’s senior uniformed legal authority when Brig. Gen. Flora D. Darpino takes over as Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army on Wednesday.

Darpino will be promoted to lieutenant general, as the position requires, in a ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Pentagon auditorium.

After being nominated to the position in June by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate last month, she’s slated to take command at a time of increased scrutiny of the military’s handling of sexual assault cases, with legislators in both houses of Congress trying to strip commanders of authority over serious criminal prosecutions.

Currently, JAGs advise commanders on legal proceedings within their commands, but if those bills become law, JAGs would likely assume decision-making power over major prosecutions.

Darpino currently runs the Army’s law school, the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Va.

Among her previous assignments, she commanded the Army Legal Services Agency at Fort Belvoir, which includes a division that provides defense attorneys to soldiers facing court-martial as well as lesser proceedings. She also has served as the chief judge of the Army Court of Appeals and Judge Advocate for U.S. Forces-Iraq. She was commissioned into the Army JAG Corps in 1987.

Darpino is taking over from outgoing Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Dana K. Chipman, and will serve a four-year term. Twitter: @ChrisCarroll_

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