Military engineer

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A military engineer is a soldier whose occupation involves military engineering. According to NATO, "Military Engineering is that engineer activity undertaken, regardless of component or service, to shape the physical operating environment." Military Engineering incorporates support to maneuvre and to the force as a whole, including military engineering functions such as engineer support to Force Protection, Counter - Improvised Explosive Devices, Environmental Protection, Engineer Intelligence and Military Search. Military Engineering does not encompass the activities undertaken by those 'engineers' who maintain, repair and operate vehicles, vessels, aircraft, weapon systems and equipment." [1]

The military engineer is primarily responsible for the design and construction of offensive, defensive, and logistical structures for warfare. Other duties include the layout, placement, maintenance and dismantling of defensive minefields and the clearing of enemy minefields and the construction and destruction of bridges. In some cases an engineer may be required to destroy something that that same engineer designed and constructed. In many armies the military engineers are also called pioneers or sappers.[2] There are also many modern armies that use the term combat engineer to describe the military engineer well forward in battle and under fire. For more modern aspects of military engineering and tools of the combat engineering corps, see combat engineering. The construction, management and maintenance of infrastructure is another responsibility associated with the military engineer.

In some countries, the modern military may comprise engineering units in weapon design or procurement, or of non-military civil engineering (e.g. flood control and river navigation works) which are not covered by this article.



The term engineering is derived from the word engineer, which itself dates back to 1325, when an engine’er (literally, one who operates an engine) originally referred to “a constructor of military engines.”[3] In this context, now obsolete, an “engine” referred to a military machine, i. e., a mechanical contraption used in war (for example, a catapult).

Later, as the design of civilian structures such as bridges and buildings matured as a technical discipline, the term civil engineering[4] entered the lexicon as a way to distinguish between those specializing in the construction of such non-military projects and those involved in the older discipline. As the prevalence of civil engineering outstripped engineering in a military context and the number of disciplines expanded, the original military meaning of the word “engineering” is now largely obsolete. In its place, the term "military engineering" has come to be used.

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