General Services Officer

United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply

Announcement No: GSO-2016-0001
Position Title: Foreign Service General Services Officer
Open Period: 01/06/2016 – 01/20/2016
Series/Grade: FP – 1640 – 04
Salary: $54,610 – $80,197
Promotion Potential: FP-01
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies Throughout the World
Position Information: Permanent after tenure granted by a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) Tenure Board.

Who May Apply

Must be a U.S. citizen. Potential applicants should read the entire announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements and understand a Foreign Service career.

Applicants may not reapply for one year after the previous application for the same position.

If a State Department Suitability Review Panel denied suitability in the last two years, you may not apply (except Diplomatic Security Special Agent (SA) candidates whose denial was based solely on the unique requirements for SAs.)

Security Clearance

Top Secret

Supervisory Status


Job Summary

The U.S. Department of State, our country’s lead foreign policy agency, provides a rich international experience whether at home or abroad, and opportunities to become responsible leaders.

Each day, our employees make a difference as they contribute to our global society and defend and advance our country’s interests and values. They work on the business of diplomacy and high priority issues that impact the safety, security, and prosperity of our world – human rights, environment, energy, food security, public health, and technology – all while experiencing a unique career.

Our talented workforce reflects and champions all of our strengths and diversity – personal, professional, and educational. We offer a workplace that values and rewards leadership, collaboration and innovation, and personal and professional development.

Foreign Service General Services Officers (GSO) are responsible for a broad range of functions including the management of physical resources and logistics at U.S. government (USG) diplomatic and consular posts worldwide and in the United States. GSOs develop, plan, implement, and manage ongoing support programs including contracting, warehousing and inventory of property and supplies, shipping and customs, motor pool, housing, travel, and VIP visit support. At some locations, GSOs are responsible for physical facilities and space management.

Areas of responsibility include:

  • Procurement Services
  • Warehouse Operations Services
  • Administrative Supply Services
  • Shipping and Customs Services
  • Motor Pool and Vehicle Maintenance Services
  • Leasing Services
  • Travel Services

The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires for a limited number of FSS vacancies based on the needs of the Department.

To learn more about the Department of State and a career as an FSS, please visit us at

Key Requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.*
  • Be at least 20 years old and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**

Travel Required

An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State’s overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions.

Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Relocation Authorized

After completing orientation and initial training in Washington, D.C., an FSS usually is assigned to two overseas tours, each two years in length, directed by the Department. After the initial two tours, assignments will be for periods of one to three years overseas or in the United States.

Major Duties

Foreign Service General Services Officers’ (GSO) primary responsibilities include the management of physical resources and logistical functions at United States embassies and consulates, where they serve not only the Department of State but also other USG agencies. GSOs are responsible for the overall management of acquisition and supply chain operations (or some portion of these operations), the supervision of subordinate staff, and the actual performance of some or all of the following functions:

  1. Procurement Services
    • Identifies procurement support needs and conducts procurement planning.
    • Manages procurement of goods and services for post, responsible for the accuracy and completeness of procurement documents and official records; prepares budget requests; and monitors vendor performance and costs.
    • Serves as post contracting officer and manages contracts.
    • Coordinates contracting at post, with State Department offices and other USG agencies.
  2. Warehouse Operations Services
    • Determines warehousing needs.
    • Responsible for warehouse and inventory management.
    • Manages warehouse space.
  3. Administrative Supply Services
  4. Shipping and Customs Services
    • Manages official and personal effects shipments.
    • Obtains diplomatic customs clearances and serves as liaison with host-country customs officials.
    • Advises post management, other USG agencies, and the Department concerning diplomatic import-export regulations.
  5. Motor Pool and Vehicle Maintenance Services
    • Manages vehicle fleets.
  6. Leasing Services
    • Identifies and manages real property requirements.
    • Negotiates commercial and residential leases.
    • Coordinates with landlord on maintenance and other issues related to leased property.
    • Manages property utilization policies.
  7. Travel Services
    • Manages travel and transportation programs for in-country and international official travel.
  8. Supervision of staff
    • Supervises and manages U.S. personnel and Locally Employed Staff in the GSO section.
    • Promotes staff development through training, counseling, and performance evaluation.
    • Identifies and develops staffing requirements to meet the needs of the GSO section at post.
  9. Safeguard against waste, fraud & mismanagement
    • Maintains internal controls.
    • Manages USG purchase cards programs.

Qualifications Required

Applicants must have a minimum of six years’ experience in the last ten years as follows:

  • General Experience – three years
  • Specialized Experience – three years

Note: Please see the Educational Requirements section below for information about substituting educational achievements for General Experience.

General Experience is work at the professional, technical or administrative level, which has been progressively more responsible in nature.

General Experience includes:

  • Obtaining and providing a variety of services to an organization,
  • Managing a multifaceted operation,
  • Supervising a multidisciplinary workforce, or
  • Other similar work.

Specialized Experience is professional work of a progressively responsible nature which demonstrates that the applicant has acquired and is able to apply specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to a GSO position.

Your Specialized Experience must include experience in three or more of the ten general services areas listed below:

  • Procurement practices and procedures.
  • Negotiating contracts.
  • Supervision of contractual services for utilities and equipment.
  • Responsibility for scheduling large shipments of domestic or overseas freight, and managing customs clearances.
  • Supervision of inventory of supplies and equipment.
  • Supervision of motor pool operations, including management and servicing of vehicles.
  • Negotiating for the purchase and leasing of real property.
  • Managing a pool of housing, developing space assignments and maintaining individual units.
  • Managing an employee travel program encompassing a wide variety of types of travel and destinations.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA)

The education, work experience, and other qualifications evaluated for evidence of the following knowledge, skills, abilities and other requirements have been identified as important to successful job performance as a GSO based on extensive job analysis research. Not all of these attributes need to be met by a candidate; the attributes will be used as a set to evaluate candidates.

  1. Knowledge of Procurement and Contracting including procurement and contracting regulations and procedures, and working to oversee or actively manage procurement and contracting requirements in a professional environment.
  2. Knowledge of Finance and Accounting including basic financial and accounting principles in order to act as a post contracting officer and to ensure budgeting of monetary resources for the General Services section are handled correctly.
  3. Knowledge of Construction Maintenance and Repair functions in order to work effectively with and to oversee the work of skilled specialists and contractors, to understand the dimensions of the work needed and the resultant demands.
  4. Knowledge of Property Management and Warehousing at a supervisory level in order to oversee procedures and processes involving equipment and office supplies receipt and issuance, warehousing, inventory, and disposal of goods.
  5. Knowledge of Transportation of Materials including export, import or customs regulations, and the transportation of materials across borders to move material efficiently and legally.
  6. Knowledge of Motor Vehicle Operations including basic motor vehicle operation, maintenance and repair requirements, and procedures at a level sufficient to effectively communicate with and to oversee the work of the professional motor vehicle specialists and contractors employed in a motor pool.
  7. Knowledge of Travel Regulations and the ability to interpret and explain travel regulations and policy to customers
  8. Knowledge of Human Resources Practices including supervision, assignment, and performance monitoring to counsel U.S. and Locally Employed Staff on job performance at a level sufficient to identify possibilities and problems, and to discuss solutions for personnel issues.
  9. Skill in Analyzing Complex, Abstract Written Information including written material such as contracts, deeds, leases, and other legal documents so as to understand proposals, to perform successfully the contract management duty and, if needed, to advise others about contracts.
  10. Skill in Leading a Diverse Workgroup including leading, coordinating, motivating, and directing a diverse, sometimes large, usually multinational, group of people with a variety of skills as they work, and identifying the best people for a job, so that the work is accomplished in the most efficient fashion.
  11. Skill in Time and Project Management including identifying resources, anticipating challenges, establishing milestones, defining beginning and end states, so as to efficiently and knowledgeably accomplish projects.
  12. Skill with Computers using computer software programs including word processing, managing files/records/databases, and office computer programs such as Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and SharePoint.

Superior oral and written communication skills: Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation. FSS 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).

Education Requirements

High school diploma or equivalent is required

Substitution of Higher Education for General Experience:

A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in such fields as public administration, business administration, industrial engineering or industrial management is the equivalent of three years General Experience.

Substitution of Education for Specialized Experience

Graduate courses may be substituted for Specialized Experience at a rate of six months for each full-time year of study in such fields as public administration, business administration, industrial engineering or industrial management. A Master’s degree in such fields as public administration, business administration, industrial engineering or industrial management is the equivalent of one year Specialized Experience.

If substituting education for experience to meet the minimum qualifications, you must submit a copy of your transcript as described in the Required Documents section below. If you do not submit transcripts to support your educational achievements, you will not be given credit.

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet federal job requirements for this position if the applicant provides an international education evaluation certifying the degree earned is equivalent to education received in the United States. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide such evidence when applying for federal jobs. For more information, please view How Foreign Education is evaluated for Federal Jobs:


Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.


For more information on FSS Benefits, please click here:

Additional Benefits

Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, a chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include tax-free housing and tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.

For information on FS Salary, please visit

Other Information

*The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit:

**For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit:

No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated 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.

An FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an FSS in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).

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 cannot 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 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 at, within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

How to Apply

We are not currently accepting applications for this position.

View the previous vacancy at USAJOBS.

Steps to Apply:

  1. Register on USAJOBS at
  2. Create an online federal resume. Your online resume may be typed or you may cut and paste an existing resume into the space provided. Your resume must include your work history for the last 10 years or since completing formal education, whichever is the shorter period.
  3. From the announcement, select the Apply Online button. This button will transfer you to Gateway to State.
    • Follow the instructions at Gateway to State and answer self-assessment questions for the specific job to which you are applying, complete the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest in the online application.
  4. Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it. You may interrupt your application process and return to it until you submit it. As specified in the announcement, upload or fax required or supporting materials.
    • For those uploading or faxing documents, multiple pages must be sent as a single document. Only the most recently uploaded documents will attach to your application and will replace previously uploaded documents.
    • If faxing, you will be prompted to print out a fax coversheet once you have successfully completed your application. It is essential that you use this coversheet for all faxes, because it is bar-coded to link your fax to your application.
  5. Complete, review, and submit.
    • After you complete and submit the above including attaching all required documents, this becomes your online application and will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this career.
    • You have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and successfully upload or fax any required documentation outlined in this announcement.
    • Application packages must be complete and received by the closing date to be considered. There are no exceptions.
    • You should submit your application early, and may make changes as often as needed, up until the closing date of the announcement. We strongly recommended that you go back into your application and verify that your documents are attached. 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 announcement.

If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the Help Desk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm Eastern Time.

For more information on the FSS hiring processes, please visit our FAQs at If you have any questions regarding FS careers, please visit our Careers.State.Gov site and post your question(s) on the appropriate Forum in the Connect section:

Required Documents

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is fully completed before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in your application not being considered further.

  • Completed online application which contains the completed required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest.
  • Transcripts or other educational documents as stated in the Educational Requirements section.
    • Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process. It is essential that your transcript include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded, if applicable. If substituting education for experience to meet the minimum qualifications, you must submit a copy of your transcript with the key elements above.
    • Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.
  • Additional required documents such as certifications or professional licenses as stated in the Qualifications Required section.
  • If claiming a 5 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214.

Accomplishments Questionnaire

The required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming an FSS. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment should you be invited and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants. Responses are limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as an FSS is the ability to write clearly and concisely. These items must be completed in the online application, not as attachment.

Substantive Knowledge: Describe your skills, knowledge and experience that are applicable to performing the work described in this vacancy announcement including experience in supervision and performance management of subordinate staff.

Intellectual Skills: Describe an example of when you used such skills to respond to unanticipated circumstances to solve a problem. (What was the situation? What steps did you take to think through the situation? How did your action address the situation? What were the results?)

Interpersonal Skills: Describe how you have used your interpersonal skills in a specific situation to resolve a problem or achieve a goal. (What was the goal or problem? What specific steps did you take? What was the result?)

Communication Skills: Describe a situation in which you used your communication skills, including foreign language skills if appropriate, to further an aim or achieve a goal. (What was the situation? What steps did you take to deal with the situation? What was the result?)

Management Skills: Describe a project you managed or helped to manage and how you planned and organized, set priorities and allocated time and resources to achieve the project’s goals. (What was the project? What steps did you take to manage the project? What was the result?)

Statement of Interest

Required narrative Statement of Interest equivalent to two-to-three pages typed and no more than 5000 characters, which discusses your:

  • Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
  • Comments about your work experience, including special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position,
  • Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in U.S.

The Statement of Interest must be completed inside the online application, not as an attachment.

Agency Contact Info

Agency Information:

U.S. Department of State
2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520

What to Expect Next

Once submitted, your application status on USAJobs will change from “received” to “referred to hiring agency only” after the close of the announcement. After the announcement’s closing date, all “referred” applicants will be notified via e-mail from the U.S. Department of State of the status of their applications.

Please note that the “referred” status on USAJobs will not be updated throughout the entire evaluation process.

Due to the high volume of applications, we ask all applicants to remain patient and await communication. It is not uncommon for several months to pass before you are informed of the results of your applications.

We recommend adding the Department of State domain ( as an approved sender.

For more information, please visit