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Deputy Office Head, Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA)

Alexandria, Virginia
Closing date
Mar 28, 2023

The U.S. National Science Foundation advances the frontiers of research; creates pathways to success for students and researchers; provides research infrastructure and instruments to enable discovery; and encourages learning everywhere. Since NSF's inception in 1950, the 2,000-person agency has invested in cutting-edge research and talented people who explore the unknown, seek to demystify nature and expand the understanding of science and engineering. NSF is committed to making science accessible and deepening the understanding of science by all Americans. NSF promotes the progress of science by investing in research to expand knowledge in science, engineering and education. NSF also invests in actions that increase the capacity of the U.S. to conduct and exploit such research. NSF advances the national health, prosperity, and welfare through the contributions that NSF-funded research makes. For example, NSF research has made possible many of the technological advances that have improved medicine, communications, transportation, manufacturing and the utilization of natural resources, together with a broad range of other impacts on our lives.

The Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA), part of the Office of the Director at NSF leads the strategy, development and execution of outreach and communication activities to Congress, the media and the general public to communicating the vital mission of NSF to the general public. OLPA works directly with NSF programs and offices and provides staff assistance to the Office of the Director and leadership of NSF.

To carry out these responsibilities, OLPA develops speeches, congressional testimony, publications, print and electronic releases and productions, videos, website content, special communications efforts, events, and projects designed to reach NSF's target audiences and constituencies. OLPA acts as a major liaison to many of NSF's internal and external audiences. These include formal and informal contacts with Members of Congress and their staffs, the executive branch, governors and other state officials, colleges and universities, professional organizations, key corporate leaders, business and industry groups and associations, print and electronic media, and members of the general public.

The Deputy Office Head serves as the primary assistant to the Office Head and will have significant responsibility for the day-to-day management and strategic direction of the office and in coordinating legislative and public affairs activities across NSF. The Deputy Office Head also serves as the Acting Office Head in the absence of the incumbent and all branch chiefs report to the Deputy Office Head.


Conditions of Employment

Key Requirements:
  • One year probationary period required for all new Career SES appointments
  • Requires an Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure OGE-278

  • Qualifications

    EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQs): Unless you are currently under a career SES appointment, are eligible for reinstatement into SES, or have successfully completed a SES Candidate Development Program approved by OPM, you must submit written statements (narrative format) describing accomplishments that would satisfy the ECQs. If you fail to do so, you will be rated as "ineligible."

    1. Leading Change. This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent in this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

    2. Leading People. This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent in 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.

    3. Results-Driven Leadership. This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent in this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

    4. Business Acumen. This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

    5. Building Coalitions. This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, non-profit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

    MANDATORY TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (MTQs): All applicants must submit written statements (narrative format) of accomplishments that would satisfy the MTQs for this vacancy. You must address each MTQ qualification separately.
  • Broad experience in the public relations and/or congressional liaison environments, including demonstrated knowledge of procedures and strategies involved in effective interaction with the press and broadcast media and Members of Congress and their staffs.
  • Demonstrated ability to conceive, implement and lead a successful, innovative public affairs program for a major organization involved in science and engineering research and education. Includes knowledge of state-of-the-art public affairs devices and means to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences.
  • Demonstrated ability to interpret and clarify Executive Branch and congressional directives and Federal budgeting policy and procedures as they relate to organizational objectives.
  • Experience working with scientists, engineers and science/engineering administrators/managers on policy and budgetary issues affecting the vitality of the scientific/engineering enterprise and the funding of research and education, and the ability to recommend agency strategies and policies.

  • When responding to the MTQ and ECQ qualifications, you must clearly show that you possess the experience, knowledge, skills and ability to perform the duties of this position by submitting narrative responses in which you detail your experience in each of the ECQs and MTQs.

    Your examples should be clear and emphasize your level of responsibilities, scope, and complexity of the programs managed and program accomplishments with results of your actions, policy initiatives and level of contacts.

    Applicants who do not provide narrative statements addressing both the ECQs and MTQs will be rated as ineligible.

    Applicants currently serving under a career Senior Executive Service (SES) appointment, eligible for reinstatement into SES, or have successfully completed a SES Candidate Development Program (CDP) approved by OPM are not required to address the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ); but a narrative statement for each of the Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQ) is required.

    To view additional information on the proper preparation of Executive Core Qualification (ECQs) statements, applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Office of Personnel Management's Guide to Executive Qualifications.


    Please refer to the Qualifications section.

    Additional information

    The Senior Executive Service (SES) covers managerial positions above GS-15 in the Federal Service. Persons appointed to the SES are eligible for health benefits, life insurance, social security, Federal retirement and thrift savings plan coverage, and participate in the Federal leave system. Competitive status is not required, veteran's preference does not apply and there are no grade restrictions.

    Relocation expenses may be paid contingent upon the availability of funds.

    Non-Citizens are not eligible for positions requiring a security clearance.

    It is NSF policy that NSF personnel employed at or IPAs detailed to NSF are not permitted to participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs. Failure to comply with this NSF policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from Federal Service or termination of an IPA assignment and referral to the Office of Inspector General. Foreign Talent Definitions

    Only applications submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at will be considered.

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