Security Engineering Officer

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

Announcement No: SEO-2017-0002
Position Title: Diplomatic Security: Foreign Service Engineering Officer (SEO)
Open Period: 01/24/2017 – 02/23/2017
Series/Grade: FP-0855-06/06
Salary: $69,271
Promotion Potential: MC
Supervisory Status: Yes
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies Overseas and Domestic

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 positon.

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/SCI

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 Security Engineering Officers (SEO) are responsible for the protection of Department of State personnel, facilities, and sensitive information from acts of crime, terrorism, and technical espionage. The Department carries out this mission at over 275 embassies and consulates around the world, offices in the metropolitan Washington, DC area and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The beginning salary for a SEO is FP-6, step 14. (The maximum starting salary is limited to the FP-6, step 14. Salary is non-negotiable.)

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

Travel Required

25% or Greater

An SEO generally spends about half 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 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, initial training, and a two-year tour of duty in Washington, D.C., a 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.

Key Requirements

Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.

Be able to obtain a Top Secret/SCI 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).**


The duties of SEOs vary according to the size of the post and the requirements of the specific diplomatic mission. The following are examples of the types of duties and responsibilities assigned to SEOs. This list is neither exhaustive, nor in priority order.

  • Administer and manage technical and information security programs, projects, and resources worldwide.
  • Conduct technical security assessments and recommend security upgrades to deter terrorism and technical espionage.
  • Plan and conduct technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) surveys to detect and nullify technical penetrations of Department of State facilities.
  • Identify security risks, analyze and manage those risks, and specify system requirements and procedural measures to ensure the integrity of stand-alone computers and network information systems.
  • Plan and conduct certification tests, as well as maintain the security requirements for information processing and secure conferencing facilities.
  • Produce a variety of written documents including well-crafted management memoranda, trip reports, telegraphic communications with posts, and engineering surveys or technical service reports detailing specific engineering services planned or performed.
  • Perform extensive travel throughout the world to service overseas embassies and consulates, often in remote locations, including the transport of technical supplies and materials (and on occasion, diplomatic pouches) by vehicle, airplane, train, and public transportation.
  • Specify, design, maintain, evaluate, procure, install, and certify equipment, products, and/or systems for technical security systems, such as:
    1. Technical security systems to include: closed-circuit television, emergency notification systems, radio-frequency (RF) communications systems, intrusion detection and alarms, locking devices, access control and denial systems, countermeasures equipment, and acoustic/RF attenuation technologies.
    2. Computer systems/encryption, firewalls, computer forensics, network intrusion monitoring and prevention, and system security audit products.
  • Engage in work that can, on occasion, be dirty and /or physically demanding.
  • Evaluate a wide variety of equipment, systems, and products for security vulnerabilities.
  • SEOs are considered “essential personnel’” and are on call to provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Prior to appointment, applicants must have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, Master of Science (MS), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from an Engineering or Physics program accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) ( You must submit at the time of application a copy of your transcript(s).

Students at least 20 years of age and currently pursuing a BS, MS, or PhD degree in one of the majors listed above may apply if they are within nine months of receiving their degree by the closing date of this announcement (exceptions will not be granted) and must include in your application package a copy of your current transcript for this degree program. Final acceptance will be predicated on receipt of the degree prior to appointment. It is also required that an official transcript that confirms award of the degree be placed in your file prior to appointment.

Degrees in the above mentioned majors completed at foreign schools may meet the educational requirements for this position. For information on ABET mutual recognition agreements, please click here.

Engineering degrees without ABET accreditation, may be used to fulfill the education requirement if the applicant holds a valid professional engineering license from a US state, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Evidence of the license must be included as an attachment to the application.

You must submit all transcripts supporting your educational achievements for you to receive credit.

Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process. Your transcript must include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of the key elements above will result in your candidacy ended. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order to be credited towards qualifications.

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Click on the link for a list of accredited organizations recognized as specializing in interpretation of foreign education credentials.


Applicants will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Part-time work experience will be prorated.

Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Selected applicants will be invited to an assessment which may include his/her technical knowledge, educational and professional background, written communication skills and an oral interview. We are currently planning to conduct assessments in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area only. Applicants will be assessed on their technical knowledge, written and oral communication skills.


Applicants for this position should have academic achievements and/or job-related experience that reflect progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility. They must be able to demonstrate experience and abilities in some or all of the following areas:

  1. Ability to logically and objectively analyze problems, apply sound judgment in assessing possible solutions, adjust to changing priorities, and meet tight deadlines;
  2. Effective written and oral communication skills, and ability to present technical findings in a clear and concise manner to non-technical personnel;
  3. Capacity to gain the cooperation and confidence of co-workers, executives, supervisors (professors, teachers, etc.), and subordinates as well as non-technical individuals;
  4. Understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum, and RF interrelationships and characteristics as they relate to the design and operation of electronic, electromechanical and computer systems;
  5. Hands-on experience in the operation and use of electronic instrumentation such as multimeters, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, sound pressure level meters, time-delay reflectometers, network analysis and similar equipment that may be applied to test, certify, and troubleshoot electrical, electronic, mechanical, electromechanical and computer systems;
  6. Knowledge and hands-on familiarity of computer systems, computer security, and familiarity with operating systems, hardware platforms, and wired and wireless networks;
  7. Ability to read, interpret, create electrical and electromechanical schematics and architectural drawings, including electrical/mechanical building systems drawings and computer network topologies.

SEO candidates must meet supplemental physical standards including, but not limited to, additional vision and hearing requirements. The standards for the SEO position can be found at
DS Supplemental Qualification Standards in the document entitled “Diplomatic Security Engineering Officer supplemental physical qualification standards.”

Additionally, all SEO candidates must be eligible for a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) security clearance.

With few exceptions, the SEO candidate and all immediate family members (spouse, parents, siblings, children, or cohabitants) must be citizens of the U.S. in order to qualify for SCI access. A candidate that already holds Top Secret, but does not hold SCI access, will require an upgrade to SCI before he or she can report for training or duty.

Note: The medical examination is required only after a candidate has successfully passed the written and oral assessments. It is not part of the initial application package.

Other Requirements:

Physical Demands

Some of the essential functions of the job have a physically demanding component. For instance, in conducting technical surveillance countermeasures surveys, an SEO is periodically required to perform work that requires regular and recurring periods of prolonged standing, bending, and stretching. An SEO 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.

A physical examination of each applicant offered a position is required 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.

  • Note: Lasik surgery and implantable lens are permitted. Surgical and follow-up reports will be required. Candidates must also have good hearing with no loss of greater than 30 decibels at 500, 1000, or 2000, Hz level.
  • Note: Use of hearing appliances is not allowed. The musculoskeletal system should have no deformities, diseases, or limiting conditions that would interfere with the performance of duties.

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.

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).


Review our 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 currently accepting applications for this position.

Apply now at

How to Apply:

You should submit your application early, not waiting for the deadline, as application packages must be complete, submitted, and received by the closing date to be considered. There are no exceptions.

  1. From this Vacancy Announcement, click on “Apply.” Go to the USAJobs Log In screen and log into your USAJobs account or follow the link and instructions to create an account.
  2. Follow the USAJobs Application Process and provide your required USAJobs federal online resume. USAJobs will transfer you to the State Department agency online application site. Follow the instructions and answer the online questions. Your Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest responses must be completed in the online application. You may save your work and can return to the application from USAJobs at any time prior to the deadline.
  3. The application system allows up to four methods to submit required documentation: Transfer documents from a USAJOBS portfolio; upload documents from your computer; resubmit documents from a previous application; or fax. If you are submitting documents by fax, you must follow the fax directions, and generate and use the fax coversheets for your set(s) of documents.
  4. After you attach all of your required supporting documentation, answer all the required application questions, and complete the application steps, please review the entire application packet, including the links for your submitted documents.
  5. Confirm and submit your application package, which will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this position.

Application Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and successfully submit any documentation required in this Vacancy 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.

  1. USAJobs Résumé Builder is the résumé format that is accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
  2. Completed online application including the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives in the online application.
  3. Uploaded/faxed all required supporting documentation including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement to qualify for this position.
  4. 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 and Statement of Interest

These 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. Each response is 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. Answers to the all of the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.

Accomplishments Questionnaire

Practical Problem Solving: Using your knowledge of technical security programs, give what you consider to be the best example of a situation where you found an innovative solution to a practical problem. Indicate the nature of the problem, who was affected by the problem and in what way, and the results or benefits of your solution.

Organizing Your Own Work: Give an example of a situation that shows your ability to think logically, analyze problems, communicate with others, and apply sound judgment, particularly where you had to meet tight deadlines or work long hours. Indicate the complexity of the task you were organizing and the consequences if you had failed to meet your deadline.

Withstanding the Rigors of Overseas Life: What cross-cultural experiences have you had, either in the United States or abroad, which might suggest you could handle the difficulties of overseas life? In addition, list any experience of living, working or traveling abroad and any evidence of aptitude for foreign languages.

Statement of Interest

Required narrative Statement of Interest 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, and
  • Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in U.S.

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