Economic Officer

The first step to becoming a Foreign Service Officer is choosing a cone, or career track. While every officer is a generalist and free to bid on any job in the world, doing jobs within your cone is vital to being promoted within the Foreign Service. The five cones are Consular, Management, Public Diplomacy, Economic, and Political. The first step toward getting a job as a Foreign Service Officer is choosing one of these cones. Here I’m looking at the Economic Cone.

To many people, the world economy is the single most important part of international relations. Economic officers serve as the eyes, ears, and mouths of the American people. They work hand-in-hand with American Chambers of Commerce and other groups of business leaders. Econ officers also meet with foreign governments to represent American companies and ensure fair trade standards or equal chances at contract bidding. Econ officers work with other agencies, most notably the Foreign Commercial Service and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, to manage America’s foreign economic relationships.

Some may find a few down sides; you’ll find yourself occasionally representing big tobacco, oil, and maybe weapons. I’ve always believed that helping America is an indirect way of helping the world, but all of our exports aren’t as beautiful as democracy and McDonalds (my two favorites). At the end of the day, firm believers in open markets and phenomenal American products will find themselves right at home in the economic cone.

Entry Level. Entry level officers are generally assigned a portfolio to follow, for example, the communication sector, the transportation sector, or small business. They’re tasked with sending reports on these subjects back to Washington and maintaining contacts with leaders in the fields and interlocutors in the host government.

After Tenure. Tenured officers are generally assigned portfolios in larger areas, for example the financial sector or the chief export of the country. Eventually they serve as Economic Counselors, managing sections. In Washington they can serve as desk officers in countries in which we have a large economic interest, and they have the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs to develop economic policy.

The Exam. Traditionally, econ has been a heavily sought-after cone, so do your best on the oral exam to ensure a spot.

<– Back to the FSOT Guide


From The Hegemonist

8 Comments

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