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What Does a Military Engineer Do?

By A. Garrett
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A military engineer is a soldier formally educated as a civil engineer whose work primarily furthers the goals and directives of his or her military regiment. Contrary to popular belief, a military engineer does not perform maintenance functions related to vehicles, weapons, or tactical equipment; this type of engineer is primarily involved in the design and construction of infrastructure for use on military bases, combat zones, and occupied areas. These occupations have numerous sub-categories and specializations within the profession. Usually, a military engineer must have some form of a university education in engineering.

Engineers working for the military design and implement structures that facilitate daily activities important to building a thriving society; a military engineer may be responsible for establishing roads, bridges, and highways for transport. Also, the work may involve environmental projects such as dam building, ecosystem preservation, or constructing potable water reservoirs. Consequently, these types of engineers must evaluate the surrounding area and test the structures or grounds that are built to ensure that they can withstand the stress of daily use. These engineers must also consider the location of structures, since proximity to natural resources and supply hubs are integral to the success of the area. Finally, such a job requires an eye for both detail and aesthetics.

During times of war, a military engineer serves as a key adviser. This subcategory is known as combat engineering. These engineers may evaluate a battle zone to analyze the terrain and identify a path of least resistance for the transport of troops or supplies. Combat engineers may also be used to adapt or destroy structures built by enemy engineers. Engineers in war zones may also be asked to erect temporary housing for troops or residents.

Additional responsibilities of combat engineers may be the sweeping of minefields and demolition expeditions. As a result, some combat engineers may be trained as infantrymen and have experience handling explosives. Others may be skilled in building and operating robots that allow the user detect incendiary devices or even enemy locations from a remote location.

To work as an engineer for the military, an applicant is typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in electrical or computer engineering. Furthermore, most engineers may be required to go through military field training. Experience in communications, electronics, and data analysis is also viewed highly. Also, because a military engineer also submits oral and written reports, the occupation demands effective writing and oratory skills.

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