James W. Houck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

James W. Houck
VADM James W. Houck.jpg
Vice Admiral James W. Houck, USN (Ret.)
41st Judge Advocate General of the Navy
Born 18 April 1958 (1958-04-18) (age 60)
Pittsburgh, PA
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service - 2012
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Judge Advocate General of the Navy
Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (5)[1]
Other work Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Interim Dean, Penn State Law

Vice Admiral James W. Houck is a retired United States Navy vice admiral. He served as the 41st Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the United States Navy from 14 Aug. 2009[2] to 20 July 2012.[3] He is currently on the faculty at Penn State Law and the Penn State School of International Affairs, where he served as interim dean from August 2013 through June 2017.

Naval career[edit]

Following graduation from the United States Naval Academy, Houck qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer aboard the destroyer USS Caron (DD 970). He then entered the Navy’s Law Education Program and graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. He later earned a Master of Laws (International and Comparative Law) from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Houck served from 2006–2009 as the Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy (DJAG) and Commander, Naval Legal Service Command. As DJAG, Houck served as the Deputy Department of Defense Representative for Ocean Policy Affairs (REPOPA).

Before his appointment to flag rank, he served as special assistant for Legal and Legislative Matters to the secretary of the Navy and later as special counsel to the Chief of Naval Operations. He also served as the senior staff judge advocate for the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command/U.S. Atlantic Fleet as well as the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain. In command, he served as commanding officer, Naval Legal Service Office, North Central.

Houck’s other assignments include service in the Office of the Legal Counsel to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs, and in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, both as executive assistant to the JAG and as special assistant for Transformation, the JAG Corps’ lead strategic planner. He began his legal career first as a trial counsel (prosecutor) and then as a defense counsel at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.

After retirement[edit]

After retirement from the Navy, Houck joined Penn State Law and the Penn State School of International Affairs as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence. He became interim dean of both schools on August 1, 2013. He was succeeded as dean by Hari M. Osofsky on July 1, 2017.


Houck’s personal decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (five awards), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (two awards) and the Navy Achievement Medal.

Personal life[edit]

Houck currently lives in State College, PA with his family.


  1. ^ "Leadership- U.S. Navy JAG Corps". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  2. ^ "U.S. Navy Biographies- Vice Admiral James W. Houck". U.S. Navy. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  3. ^ "New Leadership Takes Helm of Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps" navy.mil (JAG Corps Public Affairs) 20 July 2012.

External links[edit]

Media related to James W. Houck at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Bruce E. MacDonald
41st Judge Advocate General of the Navy
2009 – 2012
Succeeded by
Nanette M. DeRenzi