CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED), Office of Counsel recently announced the addition of a new Assistant District Counsel, SoCheung Lee. Lee previously worked at the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.
Lee earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with Honors, from the University of Chicago and her Law Degree from the University of Maryland. She is a member of the Maryland Bar.
As a Korean- American, Lee was raised in the U.S., but she does have some experience living in Korea while pursuing her undergraduate degree.
“When I was a college student I went to Yonsei University to learn Korean a bit more formally,” said Lee.
She has traveled to many countries outside of the U.S., but as a working professional it has always been a desire of hers to work abroad, and accepting a position with the district fit her aspiration.
“I have always wanted to work overseas. It’s been both a professional and personal dream of mine,” said Lee. “After many years I have attained a job overseas, and here I am.”
Lee has an extensive background as a legal professional, with over 15 years of experience. She brings considerable legal experience working government procurement formation and administration issues; procurement policy while drafting proposed rules for the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Council's Working Group; contract dispute litigation before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), and bid protests before the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Court of Federal Claims (COFC).
Her experience also includes working on fiscal law, government ethics, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act issues, as well as drafting interagency memorandums of understanding, and advising Inspector General (IG) investigations.
Working with the district is a unique experience for most Americans as they get a chance to work alongside foreign nationals. With her legal background, and understanding of the Korean language, Lee has noticed that Korean Nationals (KNs) feel comfortable speaking with her.
“For work matters, the language of choice is English, but in terms of socially interacting with folks whose dominant language is Korean, it helps facilitate things a little more,” said Lee.
The Corps of Engineers is said to be a unique organization within the Department of Defense (DOD) community, and learning its structure is an important element to being successful within the district.
“I am learning about the organization’s structure and hierarchy, and how the Corps does business,” said Lee. “Previously, I worked in pretty flat organizations that were also much smaller as far as DOD components were concerned. But I think the Corps of Engineers is reminiscent of my experience with the Navy, and having to be familiar with different sets of instructions from the DOD, Army, and the Corps of Engineers.”
Lee has set a few professional and personal goals for herself during her time here at FED.
“I would like to improve my Korean,” said Lee. I am conversationally pretty fluent, but I need to improve more on the technical side, since I haven’t had the opportunity to learn or had the need for it. Also I would like to expose my kids more to the culture. So being here is really a fantastic opportunity for them and I think they are going to get the best of both worlds.”
Currently, Lee is geographically separated from her family, but they are scheduled to join her later this year. Her husband is an architect who she hopes will become a member of the FED team.