Lt. Col. (Ret.) Suzy Mitchem is the new District Counsel. She comes to the Memphis following a distinguished career in war and in peace while serving in a succession of leadership positions at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
As Memphis District Counsel, Mitchem serves as the chief legal advisor to the Memphis District Commander, providing oversight in all areas of USACE legal services, including contract law, environmental law, fiscal law, real estate, torts, and admiralty claims, civilian personnel law and EEO.
The Office of Counsel works to ensure that USACE is respected as a leader in the Partnering and Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs, and practices preventive law - to get out in front in the planning and design phases of USACE projects to facilitate smooth and effective execution.
Before joining the Corps of Engineers, Mitchem served as the Chief of Administrative Law and Command Judge Advocate, Army Element, U.S. Southern Command, Department of Defense.
Prior to that, she deployed as the Deputy Director of Legal Operations, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, Afghanistan, where she supervised the execution of activities of 225-plus personnel and oversaw 1-800-plus detainee review boards.
Mitchem also served as an operational Staff Judge Advocate for the Criminal Investigative Task Force, Fort Belvoir, with detachments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, responsible for supervising the legal review of cases and products for attorneys, analysts, and investigators, ensuring quality products used by POTUS/DOD/OMC/DOJ (Presidents of the United States/ Department of Defense/Office of Military Commissions/Department of Justice) in Military Commissions.
As Professor and Department Chair at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Mitchem developed curriculum and planned and managed courses educating more than 5,000 attorneys annually.
During two separate tours, she served in numerous positions within the 25th Infantry Division including Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Chief of Military Justice, and Chief, Administrative and Operational Law.
Prior to her assignments at the 25th Infantry Division, Mitchem served as a Litigation Attorney (Torts) where she served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and agency counsel defending litigation filed against the United States.
Previous company grade assignments include Legal Assistance Attorney, Trial Counsel, Chief of Military Justice, Chief, Administrative Law, and Deputy Chief, Operational Law, at assignments in Camp Zama, Japan; Fort Jackson, S.C.; and U.S. Army Europe, Heidelberg. Upon entering active duty, Mitchem attended the 131st Judge Advocate General Officer’s Basic Course.
Mitchem graduated from the George Washington University in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Communications and Journalism. She graduated in 1991 from the St. Thomas University School of Law earning her Juris Doctorate.
Upon her completion of the Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course, Mitchem earned a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in 2000.
Mitchem’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit Award, Bronze Star (2nd Award), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (4th Award), the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2nd Award), Armed Forces Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (3rd award); and, the Army Achievement Medal (3rd Award).
Her interests include golf, soccer, and gourmet cooking.