Standard Field Position Description—Scientific and Technological Affairs Officer
Serves as Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs or S&T Attaché in a mission when international oceans and environmental affairs, science, and technology have a significant impact on foreign policy issues.
Advises the Chief of Mission and the country team about significant scientific, technological, environmental and oceans policies, programs and developments which are relevant to U.S. policies and objectives in the host country. Specific topics include: space research, development, and applications; toxic chemicals; nuclear and non-nuclear energy research and development; nonproliferation; marine sciences; technology transfer; nuclear export controls; population matters; joint S&T projects; and scientific exchanges.
Provides an appropriate analysis and evaluation of these developments and participates actively in the formulation of policy recommendations which take full account of the scientific and technological aspects of foreign policy issues in the economic, political, security, and public affairs areas.
Implements agreed U.S. policies in host country. Serves as the key Embassy liaison officer for all contacts with the most senior officials of
host country science ministries, institutions, and organizations. Makes appropriate representations in support of U.S. policy; as instructed, negotiates any agreements required; and reports on the status of Embassy programs designed to achieve U.S. policy objectives. Because of the high level and wide variety of the contacts, has heavy representational responsibility.
Identifies scientific and technological areas of mutual interest to both countries which are suitable for bilateral collaboration of which may be incorporated in multilateral programs for cooperation to achieve political, economic, or security objectives of regional or worldwide scope.
Analyzes and evaluates the technologies involved, recommends appropriate initiatives, and conducts necessary negotiations. Serves as the principal point of contact in the Embassy for the U.S. technical agencies involved in the cooperative programs.
Prepares reports on significant S&T policies and developments in host country. These reports include studies in direct support of major policy formulation, ongoing negotiations, and other activities related to policy implementation. May also prepare in-depth analytical and evaluative reports on major trends in science, technology and environmental affairs as they affect the economic and political aspects of U.S. foreign policy in general and the specific U.S. objectives in the host country.
In coordination with other elements of the Embassy, supports U.S. commercial interests especially among the advanced technology industries by assisting U.S. businessmen in understanding local customs, laws, procurement practices, rules and regulations relating to technology transfer, advising them about potential markets and technological capabilities of the host country, and by helping them to make contacts at appropriate levels in host government ministries and the private sector.
Represents the Embassy in contacts with the host country S&T community in order to explain U.S. policies, to explore new areas for S&T cooperation and exchanges, and to develop a meaningful dialogue between the host country and the U.S.
Represents the Embassy, the Department of State, and other agencies at scientific and technological meetings and similar activities. Arranges for the Ambassadors participation where appropriate and prepares statements for delivery before such groups.
Travels extensively within the geographic region to establish and maintain contacts with other diplomatic posts, host government officials, regional authorities, academic scientists, industries, and other representatives of the private sector.
Where technical representatives of other agencies are assigned to Embassies abroad, they may form an integral part of the Science and Technology Section of the Embassy. Coordinates the activities of such repre-
sentatives in order to provide them with foreign policy guidance and to ensure their full participation in the overall goals and objectives established for the U.S. mission. The S&T Affairs Specialist and the other agency representatives work as a team to make the maximum contribution to U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives. At the discretion of the Ambassador, the S&T Section of the Embassy may also include officers with other related responsibilities; for example, energy policy, mineral resources, and fisheries attachés.
Serves as coordinator for significant S&T visits and missions. Assists in organizing and facilitating such visits to assure an optimum return from the contacts. Participates in the visits as appropriate to provide a foreign policy perspective for the mission and to permit any necessary follow-up.
Acts as the focal point within the Embassy for all binational S&T agreements and arrangements, whether intergovernmental or inter-agency. Promotes, facilitates, and monitors such agreements to further U.S. policy objectives and essential relationships. Serves as the liaison between the numerous U.S. technical agencies and their foreign counterparts, and reviews, approves, and provides administrative support for research projects within the host country supported by American agencies. Represents the Embassy in developing guidelines and operating procedures for cooperative programs and briefs visiting agency representatives on the political, economic, or public relations aspects for their specific programs.
A working knowledge of the language of the host country is often a necessity for science officers at all levels.
SOURCE: OES, Department of State, 1999.