Security engineering officers are highly skilled engineers who serve worldwide.
Security engineers are responsible for the technical and informational security programs at our diplomatic and consular posts overseas. In the United States, engineers provide support for our overseas operations.
View the Security Engineering Officer brochure.
Diplomatic Security has a corps of top-flight men and women who serve as security engineering officers (SEOs). SEOs are assigned throughout the world to develop, implement, and manage technical and countermeasures programs.
The State Department's work in security technology began more than 40 years ago by detecting and removing clandestine listening devices from State Department facilities. Since those early days, our job has grown to keep up with rapidly evolving technology in detection equipment, computer systems, intrusion detection systems, and access control equipment.
Technical security systems development, installation, and project management are a major part of a SEO's job. SEOs are increasingly called upon for their expertise as the State Department's dependence on computer systems grows. As a technical security expert, an SEO advises State Department managers on a wide variety of issues. An engineer's knowledge must extend to the leading edges of electronic technology, physics, and engineering, yet officers must be willing to use a hands-on approach to investigate indications of a technical threat.
The Department of State has greatly expanded its security programs to combat espionage attacks and terrorism on our diplomatic facilities and personnel. For the security technology program, this challenge has increased our need to design, develop, and install sophisticated electronic detection systems. SEOs analyze complex engineering problems and design effective systems to solve them.
Typically, security engineering officers are initially assigned to a two-year posting in the Washington, DC, area, of which nine months is a comprehensive technical training program. Each employee must successfully complete a specialized training program. After training, an officer is assigned to a domestic or overseas position, usually with a senior security engineering officer who provides on-the-job guidance and training.
Security engineers are specialist members of the Foreign Service and spend a substantial portion of their careers abroad. They are based in 65 engineering service offices around the world. Travel to nearby countries to conduct engineering surveys and security inspections, install equipment, and to provide electronic maintenance can occupy up to 50 percent of an overseas officer's time.
Salary and Benefits
Entry-level salaries fall within the Foreign Service grade FP-6 pay scale, depending on qualifications. Candidates who possess specialized skills or who have applicable work experience may be eligible for slightly higher starting salaries.
During the first three years of a probationary appointment, a Security Engineering Officer’s satisfactory performance can win automatic grade and pay increases. Thereafter, promotions are competitive, based on performance ratings and the recommendation of the annual promotion selection board.
An excellent benefits package includes:
A high level of responsibility, good opportunities for promotion, and an excellent benefits package await you. Make the most of your unique skills and abilities as a security engineering officer.