United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply
Position Title: Diplomatic Security: Foreign Service Security Technical Specialist
Open Period: 04/18/2014 - 05/05/2014
Series/Grade: FP - 0086 06
Salary: $38779 - $56948
Promotion Potential: FP-03
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies in Throughout the World, WW
For More Information: STS Program Coordinator, 571-345-3783, DSRecruitment@state.gov
All potential applicants are strongly urged to read this entire Vacancy Information to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for this position before applying.
Applicants must be United States Citizens and at least 20 years old to apply. They must be at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law, all career candidates must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach 60. (preference eligible veterans excepted).
NOTE: Individuals who have been found unqualified for employment by a Department of State Final Review Panel for Suitability within the previous two years are ineligible to apply (unless the individual was a candidate for a Special Agent position with the Diplomatic Security Service and the decision to deny eligibility was based on the candidate’s inability to fulfill the unique duties of that position and not based on suitability standards).
No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections 607 (Retirement for Expiration of Time-in-Class), 608 (Retirement Based on Relative Performance), 610 (Separation for Cause), or 612 (Termination of Limited Appointment) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no candidate will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service for failure to receive a career appointment under Section 306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof. Specialists separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be a Foreign Service specialist in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service generalist).
Permanent after being tenured in the Foreign Service by the Tenure Boards
The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires to fill entry-level Foreign Service Security Technical Specialist vacancies. The specific number to be hired will depend on the needs of the Foreign Service.
Grade and Starting Salary Range: FP-06, $38,779 - $56,948
The U.S. Department of State is the lead foreign affairs agency formulating and implementing the President’s foreign policy and representing U.S. interests throughout the world. The Department carries out this mission at over 275 embassies and consulates around the world, offices in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, and other locations in the United States. Foreign Service Security Technical Specialists (STS) assist in worldwide technical security programs that provide protection for Department of State facilities and personnel from technical espionage, acts of terrorism, and crime.
The Foreign Service is more than a job – it’s a career. As a member of a diplomatic team, you will not only help to accomplish the mission of the Department of State, but also will be a representative of your country to the people of other nations. A Foreign Service career involves uncommon commitments and occasional hardships, as well as unique rewards and opportunities. A decision to enter this career should be based on extraordinary motivation and a firm dedication to public service.
Many overseas posts are in small or remote countries where harsh climates, health hazards, and other discomforts exist and where American-style amenities and the latest in technological advances often are unavailable. Personal security frequently becomes an area of concern in countries where there is political unrest or terrorist activity. However, careers in the Foreign Service offer special rewards, including the pride and satisfaction of representing the United States and protecting U.S. interests abroad.
The Foreign Service strives to maintain diversity in the representation of gender, geographic region, race and ethnicity within its work force.
All applicants, in order to be considered for selection, must:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Be at least 20 years old to apply and at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law (Foreign Service Act of 1980), all career candidates (except for preference-eligible veterans) must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach age 60.
- Must be available for worldwide service.
- Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
- Be able to obtain an appropriate medical clearance for Foreign Service work.
- Obtain a Suitability Clearance, based on a review of the candidate's record of conduct in accordance with suitability standards defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual.
For more details see careers.state.gov/specialist/selection-process or http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam.
If you are 59 1/2 years of age or over and claiming a 5 point veteran's preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 with your application. If you are claiming a 10 point veteran’s preference, in addition to the DD-214, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15 with your application. (This is required if you are preference eligible.)
DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES
The duties of a Security Technical Specialist vary according to the size of the post and the requirements of the specific diplomatic mission. At various times at posts around the world, or in domestic locations, the following are examples of the types of duties and responsibilities assigned to Security Technical Specialists. This list is neither exhaustive, nor in priority order.
In the execution of any of these duties and tasks, STS personnel may frequently be required to:
- Work in confined areas such as crawlspaces, attics, utility pits, tunnels, manholes, and other confined spaces.
- Work from heights to include rooftops, ledges, bucket trucks, scaffolding, and extension ladders.
- Perform manual installation operations to include hammer drilling, core drilling, pulling wire, installing conduit, and terminating cable.
- Move heavy objects, such as crates, building materials, motor-generators that may be oversized and weigh in excess of 70 lbs.
- Travel and work in hostile environments such as war zones, areas of civil and political strife, and in regions of the world having extreme climates.
High School Diploma/GED (required)
SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION FOR EXPERIENCE
Applicants may substitute educational achievements for specialized experience. Each time period of related formal academic, technical, vocational, or trade school education may be substituted for the equivalent time period of specialized experience up to a maximum of two years.
Qualifying educational experience may be one or more of the following:
- An associate’s degree in any electronics or electro-mechanical specialty
- Vocational or military training in any electronics or electro-mechanical specialty
- Formal job-related classroom training, equipment manufacturers’ schools, etc.
Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal job requirements for this position if the applicant can show that foreign education is comparable to education received in the United States. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide such evidence when applying for Federal jobs. To view how foreign education is evaluated for federal jobs, please visit http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp.
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS:
Applicants must have at least 3 years of specialized experience which demonstrates the ability to troubleshoot and repair electronic, electrical, and/or electromechanical systems and equipment, and is supported by work experience in this discipline.
QUALIFYING SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE:
Examples of expertise include the following:
- Reading, interpreting, and drawing electrical, electronic, and electromechanical schematics
- Reading and interpreting building plans (blueprints)
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of AC power distribution systems, motor-generators
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of motors, motor controls, disconnects, relays
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of low voltage DC electronic systems
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of low voltage DC electromechanical systems
- Use, repair, and/or calibration of electronic test equipment – meters, oscilloscopes
- Bench repair of electronic, electrical, and electromechanical equipment to the component level
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of mechanical and electromechanical locking systems – electronic strikes, locks
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of pedestrian and vehicular access control systems – door controls, vehicle barriers / arrest
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of closed-circuit television systems (CCTV) systems – monitors, cameras, switches
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of metal detectors – hand held, walk through
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of radio communications systems, voice and digital communications networks
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of Intrusion Detection Systems – alarms, detectors, sensors
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of Public Address Systems – emergency notification systems, intercoms
Applicants must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 20 and 59.
Superior Oral and Written Communication Skills: In order to pass the Foreign Service’s thorough and competitive assessment process, successful candidates must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness). Those who fall short of this standard will have little chance of passing through the Foreign Service’s highly competitive assessment process.
Prior to appointment, Security Technical Specialist candidates must undergo a thorough background investigation to determine eligibility for a TOP SECRET security clearance and suitability for appointment to the Foreign Service and undergo an extensive medical examination to obtain a Class 1 medical clearance for worldwide service.
In addition, Security Technical Specialist candidates must meet supplementary physical standards to include, but not limited to, additional vision and hearing requirements. The standards for the Security Technical Specialist position can be found at http://careers.state.gov/resources/downloads in documents entitled “DS supplementary physical qualification standards“(http://careers.state.gov/resources/downloads/downloads/diplomatic-security-supplemental-qualification-standards).
Some of the essential functions of the job have a physically demanding component. For instance, when installing or repairing technical security equipment, a Security Technical Specialist is periodically required to perform work that requires regular and recurring periods of prolonged standing, bending, and stretching. A Security Technical Specialist is required periodically to climb ladders and work from heights in performing the essential duties. Other essential duties of the job may involve recurring lifting of moderately heavy equipment and tools. Related activities may include crawling, maneuvering, and working in cramped spaces as well as the occasional moving and transporting of diplomatic pouches.
The Office of Medical Services will conduct or arrange for a physical examination of each applicant offered a position to ensure that the candidate meets the physical and medical requirements necessary to perform the essential functions of the job and can meet the standards required for a worldwide medical clearance. In addition, candidates must have vision that is correctable to 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other, no color blindness, adequate night vision, and good peripheral vision. In addition, candidates must be able to hear whispers at 15 feet with no loss of greater than 30 decibels at 500, 1000, or 2000, Hz level.
Applicants must be available for worldwide service, and be able to tolerate intensive world travel, living away from family, and working and living in difficult and/or isolated conditions.
Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training and self-development as it relates to the position. Part-time work experience will be prorated. Candidates will be evaluated initially through an online application screening. Those applications which rank at or above the determined cut score will be further evaluated to confirm that they meet the minimum qualification requirements. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Candidates invited to the assessments will then be evaluated through written and oral assessments.
The Foreign Service selection process may be lengthy, multi-staged, and due to the limited number of appointments available, highly competitive. It commences upon receipt of the candidate’s application materials and will continue until the candidate is appointed from a list of eligible candidates (a process which can sometimes take as long as a year or more), or the candidacy is terminated.
Those who have successfully gone through the selection process will be required to obtain the following:
- A Top Secret security clearance
- A valid Class 1 medical clearance and supplementary medical requirement pertaining to hearing and vision requirements
- Pass a final suitability review
Once all clearances are received, candidate names are added to a rank-order Register. Candidates can improve their standing on the register by obtaining additional points for qualifying veterans preference and / or proven language ability as determined by the Foreign Service Institute. More information on these two points, as well as the clearance process, is available on our website at http://careers.state.gov/specialist/selection-process. Selection for this position will be made only from among those candidates possessing the best qualifications. Incomplete packages will not be considered.
Application materials become the property of the Department of State and will not be returned. Failure to adequately substantiate education and work experience by virtue of documentation and verification will result in termination of your application for the position of Security Technical Specialist.
Professional-level speaking ability in a foreign language is welcome, but not a requirement for applying. However, the applicant must be willing to be trained by the Department of State in a foreign language to meet a job requirement or expectation. These will be important considerations in the competitive promotion process.
How to Apply
To apply, applicants must first register on USAJOBS at www.usajobs.gov and create an online federal resume. Your online resume must be typed or you may cut and paste an existing resume into the space provided. Once you have completed the registration process, select the “Apply Online” button to the right of the STS vacancy announcement (https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/367272300). That button will transfer you to Gateway to State.
Follow the “apply online” instructions at Gateway to State by answering self-assessment questions for the specific job to which you are applying. When completed, the information you provided at USAJOBS and the answers to the Gateway to State questions will become your application. Your registration, resume, and responses to questions will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this job. In addition, you may need to fax or upload some information to complete your application package.
Please note: Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it. You may interrupt your application process and return to it until you submit it.
You have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and supply the required documentation outlined in this vacancy announcement. Application packages MUST be complete and received by the closing date to receive consideration. Please be aware that the application time is short, so make sure that your application is complete and submitted on time.
Due to the volume of applications, fax lines can become jammed and documents may not successfully attach to your application on the final days/hours of the application announcement. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CANDIDATE TO VERIFY THAT REQUIRED DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY ATTACHED TO THE APPLICATION PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE. Applicants can do so by going back into your application and verifying that documents have been attached. Applications received without required documents will be deemed ineligible. You are encouraged to submit your application early, and to go back into your application to confirm that your documents have been attached.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the helpdesk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants will have the option to either electronically upload or fax their documents into the system.
The following numbered documents are required for a complete application package.
- A current completed, signed, and dated Minimum Qualifications Checklist (pdf). Minimum Qualifications Checklist from prior announcements will not be accepted.
- Copies of certificates of completion of any formal educational experience that are related to the Security Technical Specialist career (with the exception of courses applied towards any college degree listed in a submitted unofficial transcript).
- If claiming veteran’s preference, you must provide a copy of DD Form 214 which must include character of service (e.g. Member 4 or Service 2 copy) or Statement of Service/Proof of Service which must include service dates and character of service. In addition, if claiming 10 point preference, you must submit a VA Letter or disability determination from a branch of the Armed Forces (or documentation of Purple Heart, if applicable) AND a SF-15 (Application for 10 point veteran preference).
- A two paged, double spaced narrative autobiography, no more than 5000 characters, which discusses your:
- Personal background
- Personal interests, hobbies and travel
- Professional experience which was not included in the employment application
- Motivation for applying for a Foreign Service Security Technical Specialist career
If faxing, please print the fax coversheets generated at the end of the on-line application process. Then fax the supporting documentation to the number listed on the computer generated fax coversheets prior to the closing date of the vacancy announcement.
If faxing, it is extremely important that only these system-generated cover sheets, and the phone number included on them, be used for faxing these documents. The cover sheets are coded to insure that your documents are automatically attached to your online application. Please ensure that each document is faxed separately with the appropriate system generated cover sheet.
**IMPORTANT** Be sure to print BOTH coversheets and fax your documents in separate transmissions.
NOTE: The fax coversheets contain an important ID number; keep a copy for your files.
All required documents must be received by the closing date of the announcement. Incomplete application packages will not be considered.
Important: Whether you upload or fax, please submit all your documents at the same time. If you must send any additional documents after your first submission, be sure to include your first group of documents along with the additional documents. This is because subsequent submissions erase prior submissions.
Application packages that are complete by the closing date of the announcement will be assessed to determine if initial qualifications were met. Candidates will be notified if they are to be further considered or if their application is not competitive.
Competitive Applicants: The limited number of applicants who are identified for further consideration will be notified of the next phase of the selection / assessment process. That process will entail appearance before a Board of Examiners panel to participate in an oral and written assessment. The board is composed of Security Technical Specialists and other employees of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Submitted materials become the property of the Department of State and will not be returned.
Security Technical Specialist Candidates
Completed applications from candidates who were successful in the online application process and who scored at or above the determined cut score are reviewed to ensure that their application package and documents meet the minimum qualifications for the position.
Only a very limited number of those applicants will be invited to an assessment that takes approximately three to four hours.
Teams from the Board of Examiners will conduct those assessments.
The assessment consists of a written case study, a Qualifications Evaluation Process and an oral assessment. Various phases of this process are scored using the following dimensions: written and oral communication, motivation, composure, interpersonal skills, judgment, resourcefulness, initiative and leadership, adaptability / flexibility, perspective and breadth of knowledge, cultural awareness and experience, stability and adjustment, analytical and synthesizing ability, planning and organizing.
In the oral assessment, questions posed to applicants may address current events, motivation, interpersonal skills, objectivity and integrity as well as some technical hypothetical questions concerning the STS position.
The assessment / examination process is comprised of four phases:
- A 35 minute written qualifications evaluation questionnaire
- A 25 minute oral qualifications interview
- A 50-minute written case study; and
- An oral assessment administered by a member of the Board of Examiners and a Diplomatic Security Technical Specialist.
We are currently planning to conduct examinations only in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications. Selected candidates will be invited to come for an oral assessment at the Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Selected candidates: Please note all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the oral assessment are the responsibility of the candidate.
Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, generous paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include paid housing or a housing allowance and paid education for dependent children between K-12.
Additional Benefits: Tax free housing overseas, tax free educational allowance, etc. (See Compensation and Benefits on our website at http://careers.state.gov/specialist/benefits, for more information.)
Newly-hired Security Technical Specialists are assigned at the FP-06 level. Initial base salary upon appointment will be within the FP-06 pay grade. The specific step within this grade depends on experience level and salary history, and will be determined at the time of an offer of employment. The entry-level salary for current Federal civilian employees without a break in service will be set at the rate, within the Foreign Service FP-06 grade, which is nearest to their previous base salary; however, the maximum salary is limited to the step 14 of the FP-06 grade.
Salaries at the time of appointment may also be adjusted to include domestic locality pay. Overseas salaries may be adjusted to include a 16.52% overseas locality/comparability payment, cost-of-living allowances, post differentials, danger pay, and/or other allowances specific to the post of assignment. The actual differences in pay will be determined by the location of assignments.
Any Foreign Service Specialist hired after October 1, 2013, who demonstrates FSI-tested Arabic language ability, will receive a one-time recruitment bonus.
Competitive Promotion and Within-Grade Increases:
STSs appointed at the FP-06 level will be administratively promoted to the FP-05 level following completion of 12 months in class with satisfactory performance, and to the FP-04 level after an additional 18 months of satisfactory performance. To proceed beyond the FP-04 level, STS are considered for promotion annually in competition with their peers. The highest possible competitive promotion is to the FP-03 level. Due to the limited number of yearly competitive promotional opportunities, promotion panel selections are based on published criteria and quality of performance. Performance is evaluated annually, in writing, by the supervisor.
All employees are evaluated, in writing, at least once a year. The employee is an active participant in this process. The evaluations form the basis for promotions, which are made by a panel of more senior employees. In addition to the formal training program, STSs advance in their career by performing well and taking progressively more responsibilities in their assignments.
In general, Foreign Service employees with documented satisfactory performance are eligible to receive a within-grade increase annually up through step 10 and biannually from steps 10 through 14.
All Foreign Service STS career candidates are considered for tenure after they have acquired two years of experience in the Foreign Service as a career candidate and have been administratively promoted to the FP-04 level. A tenuring board recommends tenure based on demonstrated ability to perform satisfactorily along with the potential to perform at higher levels. If tenure is not granted during the first review, a second review will be made one year later. Failure to achieve tenure within the prescribed time frame of four years is grounds for separation.
Initial assignment will be to the Department of State in Washington, D.C., for orientation and training. Following the mandatory two assignments as an entry-level employee, the STS bids on subsequent domestic or overseas assignments every one to three years. Specialists serve with the management team at their Foreign Service posts. They may have an opportunity to participate in non-technical embassy work and in social and community activities as part of the embassy family. After the first two assignments, employees may request assignments in any embassy or consulate worldwide where STS positions are available. Assignments are made in consultation with the employee's Career Development Officer, taking into consideration the needs of the Department, the particular interests / skills of the employee, career development requirements, family circumstances, and individual preferences.
Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees may not be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether that discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.
The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department of State at ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov within one week of receiving their invitation. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.
ALL POTENTIAL APPLICANTS ARE STRONGLY URGED TO READ THIS ENTIRE VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT TO ENSURE THAT THEY MEET ALL OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS POSITION AND THAT THEY FULLY UNDERSTAND THE SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVING AN APPOINTMENT IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE BEFORE APPLYING.