David R. Cooper

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Legal Adviser to the Commander

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Jan. 14, 2020

David R. Cooper is the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, serving as the chief legal adviser to the Commander of the Corps of Engineers and other senior civilian and military leaders within the Office of the Chief of Engineers.  Mr. Cooper is responsible for leading the Corps’ legal services system, which is comprised of more than 450 legal professionals worldwide.  The Chief Counsel oversees the provision of all legal guidance and support concerning the Corps’ multi-billion dollar water resources development, military construction, disaster relief assistance, environmental restoration, real property, and support for others initiatives.


Career Chronology:

      Mr. Cooper has served the Corps and the Army at the division, district, and center levels:

  • 2013-2015:  Deputy Chief Counsel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • 2009-2013:  Division Counsel for the Transatlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • 2008-2009:  District Counsel for the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • 2007-2008:  Assistant Center Counsel at the Transatlantic Programs Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • 1993-2007:  Principal for D R Cooper Consulting.  Mr. Cooper successfully led a consulting practice providing top-quality legal and related management services to clients.  As the key legal advisor, he was responsible for analyzing, interpreting, and explaining complex U.S. and foreign legal issues for diverse constituencies; and monitoring and reporting on current U.S. and foreign legislative and regulatory developments for a broad range of clients.



  • M.Sc., London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England, 1986.
  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois, 1985.
  • B.A. with Distinction, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1980.




Awards and Honors:

  • Department of the Army, Superior Civilian Service Award, Transatlantic Division, February 2013.
  • Department of the Army, Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, Afghanistan Engineer District-South, November 2011.
  • Department of the Army, Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, Baltimore District, October 2009.
  • Department of the Army, Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, Transatlantic Programs Center, May 2007.
  • Phi Beta Kappa.


Professional memberships and associations:

  • Member, District of Columbia Bar
  • Member, New Mexico Bar
  • Member, Nebraska Bar (inactive)