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On the Job: Foreign Service Construction Engineer
I've got a pretty unique job. And there aren't that many people who do the job either, so anyone looking to starting a career as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer (FSCE) has to make a leap of faith. Well, at least I had to. Now that I've landed, I figured I'd bridge the information gap with my own personal experiences.
Official Sources
You've probably already found these on your own:
These are the unofficial answers to several of the questions that came up while I was joining the Foreign Service.


General Topics
Ok, so you made it into the Foreign Service...now what?
Bigger Picture Stuff
Embassies are more than just buildings. They are symbols of America and its foreign policy.
Random Foreign Service Construction Engineer Reference: romance novel hero. We're that awesome. Seriously.

Technical Stuff
In the future, I'll start writing up some posts about how construction works and how much coordination goes into it. And for those security minded folks out there, I won't be including anything that isn't on the public domain. Since I didn't post much during the pandemic in 2020, I've dedicated July-August for these technical posts, regardless of when I add them. The summary post can be found on 1 July 2020, MasterFormat 50 Divisions.
  • Soils: Classification, remediation, and site preparation
  • Underground Utilities: Power, water, fuel, and telecommunications
  • Lightning Protection: Shockingly simple
  • Doors: Far more complicated than they appear
  • Tiles & Stone: The name's Bond, Stacked Bond.
  • Lights: Color temperature and technologies
  • Testing and Balancing of Building Automation Systems
I will also discuss the other management duties of the job, not sure where I'm putting those yet. The topics will generally follow the life cycle of a project:
  • Birth of a Project: From identified need to contract award
  • Reporting: Information Management
  • Standards: We all need to have some (UL, CE, etc)
  • Critical Path: The basics of project management scheduling
  • Paperwork Palace: What needs to get signed before we can occupy what we built



  1. did you ever created those posts abouttechnical stuff?

    1. 1) Thanks for keeping me honest! No, I haven't. As you might have noticed, it's been nearly a year since I've published anything, for a variety of reasons. That whole coronavirus pandemic didn't really help either. I do still intend to write them up.

      2) I really need to add another category about contract management, because my current project has provided me with a lot of insights. As FSCEs, we also spend a significant amount of time fulfilling the duties of the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR).