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Thomas F. Leary JD/MSEL'98

2022 VLSAA Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy
Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Central Command

Tom Leary HeadshotCaptain Thomas F. Leary currently serves as the Staff Judge Advocate to U.S. Central Command. A member of the New Jersey Bar, he is a 1993 graduate of Drew University, a 1998 graduate of Vermont Law School, and he received an LLM, with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center in 2011.

Over his 24-year career as a Naval Officer and National Security Law practitioner, he has served at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of warfare, including assignments at the National Security Council (2019-2020), the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2014-2017), U.S. Naval Forces Central (2013-2014), the Navy JAG Corps’ National Security Law Division (2011-2013), Joint Special Operations Command (2007-2010), Naval Special Warfare Development Group (2001-2005), and Amphibious Squadron Two (2000-2001).

Captain Leary has deployed 11 times – to Afghanistan, to Iraq, and at sea. In addition to his support of operational forces, Captain Leary previously served in the Navy JAG Corps’ Litigation Division (2005-2007), and as Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General for Military Personnel (2017-2019), responsible for Navy JAG Corps recruiting, retention, and diversity initiatives.

Captain Leary is the recipient of the 2014 Judge Advocates Association’s Outstanding Career Armed Forces Attorney Award, and the 2004 Major General William F. Garrison Award for excellence in the Special Operations legal community. His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Bronze Star Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation (two awards).