United States Secret Service Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program

Washington, D.C
May 14, 2022
May 20, 2022
Full Time

The SES CDP provides a series of developmental experiences to prepare high-potential individuals for positions within the Senior Executive Service (SES). These developmental experiences include formal classroom training and seminars, a four-month executive assignment, and working with an executive mentor, all of which focus on the competencies for successful SES-level performance. All program selectees will create an Executive Development Plan (EDP) that will guide program development experiences. The SES CDP is a rigorous program, and the curriculum must be completed while balancing current day-to-day job responsibilities.


Duration: This is an intensive leadership development program which lasts approximately 12-18 months. Candidates will remain in their current position except while they are attending learning sessions or while on developmental assignments.

Orientation Session: The USSS SES CDP begins with a mandatory orientation. Orientation provides participants with program requirements, policies, and expectations. Orientation will occur in Fall 2022.

Mentoring Partnerships: Through their experience, proven capabilities, and management perspectives, SES mentors assist participants in further clarifying their developmental objectives and in identifying developmental assignments and activities. Typically, candidates will meet frequently with their mentor to review progress on their EDP, but also to talk through situations related to their EDPs.

Executive Development Plans: Each participant prepares an EDP with guidance from the mentor. The EDP is used to identify, track, and document completion of competency-based needs of the candidate. The candidate will update or revise, as needed, throughout the program. The mentor concurs with, and USSS Executive Resources Board (ERB) approves the EDP. The USSS ERB may also determine that additional learning and development is required for successful completion of the program.

Interagency Learning: Each EDP must include formal interagency learning of 80+ hours which address the Executive Core Qualifications and their application to SES positions government-wide. Primary learning is designed to be in-person, however, virtual learning may be required at times. Formal interagency learning is achieved through the American University's Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program.

Developmental Assignments: Each EDP must include at least one executive level assignment that is a minimum of 120 calendar days and is outside the candidate's position of record. This assignment must be substantially different from the candidate's current and previous positions and helps to prepare participants for the nature and scope of positions they are likely to assume in the SES.

Office of Personnel Management Certification: Upon determination of the candidate's successful completion of the USSS SES CDP, the USSS ERB will request approval and certification of the candidate's Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) by an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualifications Review Board (QRB) under the criterion of 5 U.S.C. 3393(c)(2)(B). QRB-certified graduates are eligible for initial noncompetitive appointment to the SES in positions for which they demonstrate technical proficiency. Program participation does not guarantee placement in an SES position. The USSS SES CDP does not facilitate finding an SES position for graduates.

CANDIDATE STATUS WHILE IN THE PROGRAM: Applicants selected to the program from within the USSS will remain in their full-time position of record while completing program requirements. Candidates selected from outside the USSS will also remain in their full-time position of record while completing program requirements, upon negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding with the candidate's home agency and the USSS.


Conditions of Employment

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • You must be a current Federal Employee.
  • You must hold and maintain a Top Secret Clearance.
  • Certify registration with (or exempt from) the Selective Service System.

CONTINUED SERVICE AGREEMENT: Selectees for the program will be required to sign a Continued Service Agreement (CSA) to safeguard the Government's training investment. The CSA states that the employee will stay with the USSS or other Agency of the Federal Government for three years after completing the USSS SES CDP formal interagency learning activity. Employees who voluntarily leave Federal civil service before completing the terms of the agreement will be required to repay the cost of training and related travel expenses, excluding salary or other compensation. This does not preclude an employee from pursuing promotion or reassignment opportunities within the Federal government during the program.

MOBILITY REQUIREMENT: Mobility, or willingness to move, is an important factor for the USSS due to the geographic dispersion of its workforce. Therefore, applicants should anticipate developmental assignments and/or formal training programs that may require extended travel. Applicants selected must uphold a commitment to geographic and other availability for positions throughout the country during the program or may be terminated from the program.

LAW ENFORCEMENT APPLICANTS: Applicants for target law enforcement positions must meet the requirements of the Lautenberg Amendment [Title 18, U.S.C., Section 922(G)(9)]. Applicants for target SES law enforcement positions must also meet the requirements for placement in a position with secondary law enforcement coverage, as provided in 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) and 5 U.S.C. 8412(d) or in a Customs and Border Protection Officer position with enhanced retirement benefits.

PROGRAM FUNDING: The USSS will pay costs associated with orientation and formal interagency training for all candidates. The USSS will fund applicable travel for USSS participants. Applicants who are selected from a Department of Homeland Security component or another Federal Agency will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the candidate's home agency and the USSS that addresses travel and miscellaneous expenses associated with the candidate's participation in the USSS SES CDP.



All qualified individuals within the civil service who have demonstrated exceptional executive leadership potential are eligible to apply to the USSS SES CDP.

The USSS SES CDP requires that applicants have experience serving within an agency or organization involving work in planning and directing specialized programs of outstanding difficulty and responsibility while exercising independent judgment . This experience is normally equivalent to the GS-14 level (or equivalent) and above.

The following applicants will NOT be considered for the program:
  • Current or former Career SES members or equivalents including members of the Transportation Security Executive Service (TSES)
  • Former SES CDP graduates from any agency
  • Current or former (within the last 5 years) political Schedule A, Schedule C, or Non-career SES employees in the Executive Branch
  • Employees who have had their Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) certified by OPM's Qualification Review Board (QRB)

To meet the minimum qualification requirements for this position, you must show in your resume that you possess, OR have the potential for development in, the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and the Technical Qualifications (TQs) listed below:
The application process used to recruit for this program is the RESUME-ONLY method. Although you will not address the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) or Technical Qualifications (TQs) separately, evidence of each must be clearly reflected in your resume, including results.
Do not submit separate statements addressing the ECQs and/or the TQs.

A sample 5-page resume that incorporates ECQs and TQs can be viewed on this link (indexed at page 29 - 37) http://www.opm.gov/ses/references/GuidetoSESQuals_2012.pdf (http://www.opm.g o v/ses/references/GuidetoSESQuals_2012.pdf)


ECQ 1 - LEADING CHANGE: The ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

ECQ 2 - LEADING PEOPLE: The ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN: The ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN: The ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

ECQ 5 - BUILDING COALITIONS: The ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

Additional information on the ECQs is available at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/senior-executive-service/executive-core-qualifications/#url=Overview.

TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS: Final selection into the SES CDP requires that you meet the technical qualifications (TQs). Although TQs vary from position to position, you must indicate one of the three categories below (1-Law Enforcement; 2-Administrative, Technical and Professional; 3-Legal/Attorney). You can only apply to one category. Applications in multiple categories will be disqualified. You must meet the technical qualifications for at least one of the positions listed under the categories below for which you are seeking consideration. You must indicate your choice by way of the online questionnaire and certify that your answers are truthful and correct.

Law Enforcement (LE) - These positions require skill in managing complex criminal investigation or law enforcement programs. (Employees whose position are primarily the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States.)

Law Enforcement Applicants: Field office supervisory experience outside the National Capital Region/Baltimore Region at the GS-14/15 (or equivalent) level is preferred .

Examples of positions in this category:
  • Protective Services and Operations
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Technical Law Enforcement (i.e. Investigative Protection Officer, Protective Armor Specialist, Technical Security Investigator)
  • Internal Affairs
  • Federal Air Marshal
  • Air and Marine Operations
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Customs and Border Protection Officer
  • Detention and Removal

Administrative, Technical and Professional (APT) - These are non-law enforcement positions which require skill in managing complex mission critical programs or supporting lines of business. Examples of positions in this category:

A desired qualification for Administrative, Technical and Professional and Legal/Attorney applicants includes one year supervisory experience at the GS-14 level (or equivalent) or above.

  • Intelligence
  • Cyber Security
  • International Affairs
  • Infrastructure Protection
  • Trade and Agriculture
  • Scientific Research and Services
  • Emergency Mitigation, Response, and Recovery
  • Transportation Security
  • Marine Safety and Security
  • Immigration Services and Operations
  • Security (Personnel, Information, and Physical)
  • Management
  • Finance/Budget
  • Procurement/Acquisition
  • Administration/Facilities
  • Information Technology
  • Human Capital/Human Resources/Training
  • Diversity and Civil Rights
  • Congressional/Legislative/Public Affairs
  • Policy and Planning
  • Business Operations/Transformation

Attorney/Legal (AL) - Legal positions requiring skill in preparing cases for trial and/or the trial of cases before a court or an administrative body or persons having quasi-judicial power; rendering legal advice and services with respect to questions, regulations, practices, or other matters falling within the purview of the Federal Government. Applicants whose occupational series is in the legal field MUST apply as Attorney/Legal.

To be considered for the Attorney/Legal track a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) is required, and the applicant must be an active member in good standing of a state bar. Transcripts must be provided with your application.

Examples in this category:
  • Trial Attorney
  • Attorney Trial-Examiner
  • Judicial Attorney
  • Legal Administration Attorney
  • Attorney-Advisor
  • Legislative Attorney
  • Attorney-Editor
  • General Attorney
  • Trade-Mark Trial and Appeal Attorney
  • Naturalization Examiner


Attorney-Legal Applicants: Transcripts must be provided with your application ONLY IF APPLYING UNDER ATTORNEY-LEGAL TRACK . Transcripts for applicants not applying in the Attorney/Legal field will not be considered.

Educational information should be included on your resume, including the name, city and state of colleges or universities you attended, as well as the type and year of any degree received. Report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For more information, you may refer to the following U.S. Department of Education website: https://www.ed.gov/accreditation.

Additional information


Civil Service Appointment Types:

Status Applicants are applicants serving under career or career-type appointments in the civil service. Status candidates are not entitled to veterans' preference.

Permanent - Career-Conditional Appointment, or Career Appointments

Block 24 on SF-50 lists tenure as "1" or "2"

Non-Status Applicants are applicants who occupy other than career or career-type appointments within the civil service

Temporary appointments, seasonal, term appointments, etc.

Block 24 on SF-50 lists tenure as "3" or "0"

Status or Non-Status? You will be asked to indicate whether you are a Status or Non-Status applicant when completing the Occupational Questionnaire. You will be required to select only one category. You may not apply under both categories. Status applicants must apply as Status .

Excepted Service applicants on a valid interchange agreement should consult their Human Resources Office or their agency's interchange agreement to determine if they are considered as a Status or Non-Status applicant. If the agreement prescribes the applicant as Status, he or she must apply as Status. Please visit the following website for more information about individuals covered under interchange agreements:


Non-Status Applicants : Applicants selected for the program that do not hold federal status must accept a full-time Schedule B appointment in order to participate in the USSS SES CDP. The Schedule B appointment does not confer civil service status. These appointments may be located around the country. If a USSS SES CDP participant serving on a Schedule B appointment discontinues participation in the program for any reason, his/her employment with the USSS will terminate because the employment is authorized only for an executive development position established in connection with the USS SES CDP. Similarly, if a Schedule B participant graduates from the USSS SES CDP, but does not obtain an SES position before the Schedule B appointment expires, his/her employment with the USSS will terminate because a Schedule B appointment cannot exceed or be extended beyond three years.

E-Verify Statement: DHS uses E-Verify, an Internet-based system, to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Learn more about E-Verify , including your rights and responsibilities at https://www.e-verify.gov/.

The USSS may review an applicant's publicly available social media presence during the hiring process.

You must possess a Top Secret Clearance as a condition of placement in this program. The USSS will not be responsible for covering the costs associated with a background investigation to acquire a Top Secret Clearance.