Rear Admiral James Crawford III is the deputy judge advocate general of the Navy (DJAG) and commander, Naval Legal Service Command (CNLSC). As the DJAG, he serves as the deputy Department of Defense representative for Ocean Policy Affairs. As CNLSC, he leads the attorneys, enlisted legalmen, and civilian employees of 17 commands, providing prosecution and defense services, legal services to individuals, and legal support to commands around the world.
Crawford was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Belmont Abbey College in 1979. He was commissioned through the JAG Corps Student Program, and, in 1983, graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill. He later earned a Master of Laws degree (Ocean and Coastal Law) from the University of Miami (Florida) School of Law and a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
Crawford served from 2007 to 2011 as legal counsel to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. From 2011 to 2012, he served as the commander, NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission/Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan.
Before his appointment to flag rank, he served as Special Counsel to the Chief of Naval Operations, the senior staff judge advocate for Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, and as the fleet judge advocate for U.S. 7th Fleet. In command, he served as commanding officer, Region Legal Service Office Southeast.
Crawford also served at Navy Personnel Command; the Office of the Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Naval War College; Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe; the Naval Justice School; and, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Eight. He began his legal career as a defense counsel at the Naval Legal Service Office, Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
Crawford’s personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (two awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.