Madison County Associate Judge Sarah Smith has been selected as one of three Illinois Army National Guard Officers to attend the US Army War College.
Smith, a Lieutenant Colonel, has already begun the two-year correspondence course and will be part of the graduating class of 2020.
“I am unbelievably honored to be selected for such a prestigious military course,” Smith stated. “The names of so many revered military leaders are permanently etched in the hallway of the US Army War College, it is humbling to think that after graduation my name would be listed with some of the greatest military minds in US history.”
Other graduates of the US Army War College include President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who graduated first in his class as a captain, as well as Generals Omar Bradley, George Patton Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf and Tommy Franks.
According to a press release by the Illinois Judges Association, the US Army War College was founded in 1901 and is the Army’s top leadership school. Senior military and civilian leaders who are selected to attend earn a “master of strategic studies” degree.
The goal of the US Army War College is to educate and develop leaders who are skilled critical thinkers and complex problem solvers in the global application of land power.
The course focuses on concepts such as national security policy, strategic leadership and national strategy and emphasizes relationships among military, economic, diplomatic and informational elements of power in both a domestic and international context.
“Judge Smith’s selection for the National War College is a tremendous honor,” said Madison County Chief Judge David Hylla. “Not only is it a source of pride for her and her family, it should make all of Madison County proud. Her selection was based on an evaluation over many years of her outstanding military service. I congratulate her on this impressive achievement and know that she will excel and provide even greater service to our country in the years to come.”
Smith currently serves as the Staff Judge Advocate of the Illinois Army National Guard, where she is the highest-ranking JAG officer and advises general officers and other senior level commanders on all military matters.
During her military career, Smith was mobilized in 2005 in support of Hurricane Katrina. She also served as the Chief of Operational and Administrative Law for the 35th Infantry Division in Kosovo and as deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
She has earned the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, among others.
Smith has spoken at senior level engagements including the Warsaw Ministry of Defense Legal Symposium, Warsaw Poland in 2011 and 2016, and at the United Nations Peace Symposium in New York in 2011.
Smith is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Judges Association and serves as the vice president of the Illinois Judges Foundation. She is an active member of the Third Circuit Pro Bono Committee and has participated in the organizations’ in-school programs with an outreach that helps local youth.
Smith, a Democrat, is currently running for Madison County circuit judge, seeking the vacant seat created by Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder’s retirement later this year.