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Foreign Service Opportunities

Interfunctional Language-Designated Opportunities at the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center

Attention: All FS-02, FS-03 and Tenured FS-04 Officers

1. The Nuclear Risk Reduction Center (NRRC) is always seeking applicants for a number of one-year watch officer positions. Positions are open for applicants with language aptitude in Russian and/or German, Italian, Spanish, or French. To meet its requirement for Russian language speakers, the NRRC is authorized to send Russian language-designated-position (LDP) applicants to the 44-week FSI Russian course. To meet its requirements for the above-mentioned Western European language speakers, the NRRC participates in the out-year language program, which includes a bridge assignment within the T family of bureaus plus 23-31 weeks of language training in German, French, Spanish or Italian.

2. There are strong incentives, financial and professional, to serve at the NRRC. NRRC FSO watch officers (WO) in a Russian LDP at the 3/3 level or higher receive incentive language pay. All FSOs on watch duty also receive the Department's 13 percent shift differential, in addition to Washington locality pay. Then there is the added incentive associated with transitional assignments -- the ability to research and lobby for follow-on career opportunities. NRRC Watch Officer positions fulfill the career tracker Operational/Crisis Response elective. Finally, NRRC watch officers have access to State Department parking privileges.

What is the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center?

3. The Nuclear Risk Reduction Center is an important component of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance (AVC) providing round-the-clock translation and dissemination of government-to-government messages required under nearly 15 different arms control or security-building treaties or agreements. These notifications play a vital role in the verification and implementation of arms control.

Who should apply? What jobs are available?

4. The NRRC is particularly looking for FSOs grades 02-04 with Russian language skills, but also has several positions that require French, German, Spanish, or Italian. The NRRC welcomes officers from outside the political cone who are interested in a vital, multifaceted, and multifunctional experience.

Watch Operations

5. The NRRC watch staff rotate through three 8-hour shifts: six days on one shift, one day “on call,” three days off, six days on the next shift, etc. Watch officers (WO) receive and transmit messages via several computer programs and related equipment; however, the job is by no means purely mechanical. The position requires sound judgment and discretion for dealing with competing arms control requirements, which are often politically- and time-sensitive. As a result of an assignment to the NRRC, a WO gains expertise in arms control; international treaties and security agreements, both nuclear and conventional; political-military issues; and a working knowledge of European and Russian geopolitical matters.


6. The FS-02 senior watch officer position has supervisory responsibilities, and is the rating officer for five FS-03’s. FS-03 watch positions are informally divided into those requiring Russian and those requiring French, German, Spanish, or Italian. Within each language grouping, the positions have identical portfolios. A bid on any position within each of these two groupings is considered a bid on them all. The NRRC is seeking current year bidders who already have the language, and next year bidders who wish to participate in the eleven-month Russian language program or the out-year language program described above.

Contact Information

7. Officers interested in a NRRC position or additional information should contact NRRC Senior Staff Officer at (202) 647-1895 or via e-mail at


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