David Wagner retired at the rank of Captain from the United States Navy in 2010 following 28 years of exemplary service in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Retiring as the senior Military Justice Litigation Expert in the Navy, Mr. Wagner capped his career as the Commanding Officer of the Navy’s largest and busiest Naval Legal service Office, essentially the Chief Defense Counsel supervising the work of over 30 attorneys and almost 100 support staff in representing the interests of active duty personnel in both criminal law and civil law.
Prior to his selection for command, Mr. Wagner served seven years as a military judge, including four as a trial judge in the Navy’s busiest judicial circuit, where he presided over hundreds of General and Special Courts-Martial. Judge Wagner’s reputation as a skilled jurist resulted in his appointment as an appellate judge on the Navy Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, where he served just one year before being named a Senior Judge in charge of a three-judge panel. Judge Wagner’s performance as an appellate judge then earned him appointment by the Judge Advocate General over several longer tenured judges on the Court as the Chief Judge of the Navy Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, where he supervised fourteen judges serving on five different appellate panels. During his tenure, Chief Judge Wagner was lauded as the most productive appellate judge on the court, authoring hundreds of opinions and participating in over 1,000 appellate cases.
In addition to his vast military justice experience as a judge, Mr. Wagner also served as a defense counsel and later as Chief Trial Counsel (prosecutor), where he built a reputation for aggressive, effective representation of his clients and a record of positive results in courts-martial. Mr. Wagner also brings a wealth of operational military experience, having served as legal advisor on several flag and general officer staffs, as legal officer and gunfire director on the battleship WISCONSIN (BB 64) during combat operations in Desert Storm, and as a Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General for Plans and Management.
Since retiring from the Navy, Mr. Wagner has served as a military exercise observer and trainer, teaching active duty attorneys from all Services the fundamentals of joint planning and operational law and assisting Staff Judge Advocates on staffs heading to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa in preparing for deployment. Mr. Wagner focuses his work with JAG Defense on courts-martial appeals, and assists the other JAG Defense attorneys with military justice issues.