Story by Bruce Huffman
Michigan National Guard
LANSING, Mich. – The 272nd Regional Support Group spotlights Deputy Command Judge Advocate General (JAG) Army Maj. Jennifer A. Garrett, Michigan Army National Guard.
Garrett was deployed with the Michigan National Guard from April to July in support of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 relief efforts across the state. She provided legal briefings to Guard members during in/out-processing at Assembly Area Lions, a COVID-19 operations center set up in Romulus, Mich. There she provided vital information about pay, entitlements and operating procedures that kept Guard members safe, legal, and ethical during COVID-19 missions. She is experienced in administrative law, employment law, labor law, contract law, military justice and legal assistance and provided specialized legal support as needed.
Garrett earned her Juris Doctor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 2009, and spent a few years in private practice before joining the Judge Advocate General Corps in 2012. “For me, serving in the National Guard, is one way I can influence and affect my fellow Soldiers in a positive way,” said Garrett. “As a JAG officer, I get to work on complex issues and apply critical thinking skills to tackle problems that may have unique situations and circumstances.”
Garrett has served as the Deputy Command Judge Advocate for the 272nd Regional Support Group since 2014. She also served as a Judge Advocate for the Joint Forces Headquarters in Lansing, and provided legal training to members of the Armed Forces of Liberia during a mission in Monrovia in 2013. Garrett guest-lectured members of the JAG Corps at the Army’s Judge Advocate Legal Center and School (TJALCS) in Charlottesville, Va. on numerous occasions. According to Garrett, the TJALCS is the only law school in the Department of Defense accredited by the American Bar Association.
“By any account, Garrett’s accomplishments as a JAG are impressive, but her expertise goes way beyond her skills as an Esquire,” said Col. Scott L. Meyers, 272nd Group commander. “Maj. Garrett is a huge proponent for continuing education. She possesses seven college degrees, including a BS in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, an MBA in Finance, an MA in Communication and Leadership, a J.D., and an LL.M. in both Business Transactions and Taxation, he said. She also serves on the Board of Counselors for the University of Southern California’s Master of Business for Veterans Program, and the Board of Advisors for the Woman’s National Football Conference.”
Garrett also has extensive corporate experience in the technological field working for various Fortune 100 companies. According to Garrett, it was her technical and program management roles on government acquisition projects such as the Aegis Future Combat Systems and the C-17 Transport Fleet that helped fuel her desire to serve her country in the National Guard.
A life-long football fan and student of the game, this engineer, lawyer, and Soldier is also an entrepreneur who authored and published a motivational leadership book that uses football analogies to help readers overcome obstacles and achieve their maximum potential. “Football taught me about life,” said Garrett. “When navigating life’s challenges, football showed me what the playbook needed to be to win. Football helped me achieve my personal and career goals.”
She is also an internationally recognized motivational speaker, leadership expert, and team builder who provides workshops and webinars to corporate clients and other sports, veteran and non-profit organizations. She has a strong presence on the web and hosts a podcast every Monday, where she interviews professional athletes and senior business leaders to discuss how the athlete mentality can position you for success in business and in life.
“Great leaders and great players in the game of life keep going despite the roadblocks they may face,” said Garrett. “They don’t let anger, frustration, and disappointment deter them when things don’t go as intended. Instead they control their emotions, make adjustments, and figure out what the next play in their playbook needs to be.” She is also a mother of five and has a third-degree black belt in Tae kwon do. “Leaders like Garrett influence, engage, and encourage performance that promotes the enduring success of any organization,” said Meyers. “She’s a tremendous asset to the Michigan National Guard.”