Lt. Col. Seth Ritzman is the new Judge Advocate at White Sands Missile Range.

Meet WSMR’s new Judge Advocate

Lt. Col. Seth Ritzman is the new Judge Advocate at White Sands Missile Range.

What is your background serving in the U.S. Army and what led you to serve?

“I had thought about going to one of the academies then decided against it and I regretted that decision, so when I got the opportunity in law school, I took the direct commission.”

Ritzman will have been serving in the U.S. Army 16 years come October.  

Where was your last assignment?

Washington D.C. at Fort Belvoir, where he was a trial team chief for a contract litigation team. He said he enjoyed the work, but it was very high-level intellectual work.  He was dealing with true civil litigation with millions of dollars at stake on every case.

“It was very intellectually challenging.”

Where is home for you?

Ritzman grew up in Pennsylvania. His parents bought a fruit farm when they got married and his father was a part time fruit farmer of a 100-acre farm. Whenever his father took vacations from his real job it was spent harvesting.

What are your goals for WSMR and what do you hope to accomplish?

“I want to learn about WSMR and the developmental testing side of acquisitions. Ultimately, my goal is to ensure the Army’s interests are best protected and that is done through helping the command stay ethical. My job here is to help and assist the command to remain on the right side of any issues.”

What do you think of WSMR?

“I very much enjoy being here. I am not a city person so getting out of D.C. was a goal for me and my family.”

When he got the call that he was going to be relocated to places outside of D.C. he put WSMR on his dream sheet. He said most of his training is in contracts and physical acquisition, so WSMR is one of the places as a Lt. Col. where you can have both a key leadership position and still be in the contract and physical acquisition community.

“You get to see a different side of the acquisition process you can’t see anywhere else.”

Also, as a hunter, he said that going to the place where he could potentially draw an oryx tag was a large motivation.

What do you like to do during your free time?

In addition to hunting, the family enjoys traveling in their new RV. Ritzman and his oldest son shoot competitively and he and his younger son practice martial arts.

His younger son is also in Cub Scouts, so they attend a lot of those events on the weekends.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

“Usually, people are the most surprised to find out that the JAG shoots (guns).”

Ritzman commissioned in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 2007.  Prior to commissioning, he clerked for Judge David Janes, in the West Virginia Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. Prior to attending law school, he worked for Union Carbide Chemical Company and the Dow Chemical Company. 

Ritzman received a Bachelor of Science, with Distinction, in Chemical Engineering and Honors in Insurance and Real Estate from Pennsylvania State University.  He received his Juris Doctorate from West Virginia University. He holds an LL.M. in Military Law, with Contract and Fiscal Law Specialty, from The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School and an LL.M. in Government Procurement Law, with Highest Honors, from the George Washington University Law School. Ritzman was a Superior Graduate at the Army Command and General Staff College.

By Miriam Rodriguez

WSMR Public Affairs