Diplomatic Security Foreign Service Special Agent (SA) (FP-2501-06)

Washington D.C.
Oct 18, 2018
Oct 18, 2018
IT, Security Engineer
Full Time

50% or less - A SA generally may spend more than half of his/her career assigned to our 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. or select alternate sites within the U.S. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Relocation expenses reimbursed Yes Selected candidates will report to Washington, DC for approximately seven months of specialized training and orientation. Approximately three months of that training will occur at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. Orientation and additional training is based in the Washington, D.C. area and West Virginia. During their careers, Special Agents must serve both overseas and domestically, for assignments of one to three years in duration.

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
  • At least 20 years old and not older than 37 years.**
  • Fit for physical exertion and pass a preemployment physical readiness test.
  • Able to obtain/maintain a Top Secret Security Clearance and TS/SCI access.
  • Able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
  • Able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.***
  • Diplomatic Security Special Agents (SA) manage a range of security programs worldwide. SAs live and serve at U.S. diplomatic or consular posts abroad, as well as in the Washington, DC area or at field offices in such cities as Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco, according to the needs of the service. As members of a diplomatic team, Special Agents not only help to accomplish the mission of the Department of State, but also represent the United States to people of other nations. The Foreign Service is more than a job – it is a career.

    Special Agents normally will be assigned to one of eight domestic Field Offices for their first three years of service (including training), or possibly to a smaller Resident Agent Office. There may, however, be occasions when new SAs will be assigned to other domestic units, support temporary duty assignments, or sent directly overseas. Needs of the service will have a significant bearing on DS SA assignments; sometimes require that domestic assignments be shortened for re-assignment to a Regional Security Office at an overseas post.

    Applicants must be willing and able to travel extensively, and on short notice, throughout the world using whatever means available. Traveling and assignments abroad may involve working in remote areas where traditional comforts and medical facilities are limited. SAs may be required to travel to locations of civil unrest, where conditions are potentially hostile, and where performance of duties are conducted under hazardous circumstances.

    Applicants must have at least one year of work experience and/or academic achievements that reflect progressively increasing levels of responsibility.

    Work experience will be reviewed to identify examples of knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience in interpersonal skills, resourcefulness, initiative, leadership, judgment, emotional stability, flexibility, motivation, functional skills (competence in the job), ability to assume responsibility, and trustworthiness.

    Specialized experience in such areas as the administration of security programs, the conduct of investigations, threat assessments, service in a law enforcement agency, and service in the U.S. military are all highly desirable. However, it is not essential to have those specific experiences or ability in a foreign language to be considered for this position.

    Applicants with 18 credit hours of graduate level study may substitute that academic achievement for a year of work experience. Applicants who do not have a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate study may substitute the following educational achievements for one year of work experience: 2.75 GPA (or above) for the Bachelor’s degree and two internships totaling at least four months duration. 

    Applicants will be preferred who have basic knowledge of security principles and procedures (e.g., for investigations, protection, public events, etc.), basic knowledge of management (e.g., supervision, initiative and leadership, teamwork, etc.), English skills (e.g., writing, speaking, listening, etc.), conceptual skills (e.g., planning and organizing, critical thinking, active learning, judgment, etc.), social skills (e.g., perceptiveness, persuasion, working with others, cultural adaptability, objectivity and integrity, etc.), and related background (e.g., education, work, and cross-cultural experiences, etc.).

    Applicants are required to qualify with firearms during initial training and maintain that proficiency thereafter. Applicants must be willing to use and carry firearms throughout their career.  Applicants must not have been convicted of any felony charge or be prohibited from possessing a firearm.

    SAs must perform duties in the field that are physically and mentally demanding. SAs must be willing and able to meet these physical demands in high-stress, life and death situations. For this reason, SA applicants must satisfy medical, suitability and physical readiness standards that are more rigorous than those of most other professions. Applicants must be fit for strenuous physical exertion and pass a Bureau of Diplomatic Security administered pre-employment physical readiness test. The current physical readiness standards can be found at https://careers.state.gov/downloads/files/prt-test-standards and the Physical Readiness Guide can be found at https://careers.state.gov/uploads/40/cb/40cb27c284be5d1700aef20231c253b4/DS-PRT-Guide-Revised-161019.pdf. Please note that these standards may be changed in the future.

    Special Agents are required to perform protective security assignments with physical demands that may include, but are not limited to, intermittent and prolonged periods of running, walking, standing, sitting, squatting, kneeling, climbing stairs, quickly entering and exiting various vehicles, pushing, pulling, dragging objects or people, wearing heavy body amour and gear, as well as carrying and fully operating a variety of firearms. Agent must also endure long or unusual hours, inclement weather, lack of sleep, rest, or meals, jet-lag, extremes of heat and cold, and wet or polluted environments.  Applicants must pass a thorough medical examination, which includes a cardiovascular stress test conducted or authorized by the Department of State’s Office of Medical Services.

    SA applicants must meet certain minimum sensory standards, including various tests for vision in each eye, with and without correction, as well as audio-metric standards for hearing in each ear (use of a hearing aid is not permitted), sufficient to satisfactorily perform an Agent’s duties. For example, uncorrected distant vision must be 20/100 or better in each eye and corrected to 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 or better in the other eye. Applicants must also pass color vision and depth perception tests.

    SAs conduct raids, make arrests, and perform other law enforcement or related functions that may require running, jumping, kneeling, squatting, dodging, lying prone, as well as wrestling, restraining, and subduing suspects, attackers, or detainees. Agents must be able, if necessary, to conduct security inspections that may require crawling under vehicles and other low clearances or in tight spaces such as attics and crawl spaces.

    It may also be necessary for a SA to assist with installing or maintaining security countermeasures, which might involve lifting heavy objects and working on ladders or rooftops.

    SAs must possess and maintain a valid U.S. driver’s license, and be skilled at driving and maneuvering a motor vehicle defensively or evasively in a variety of situations, and at various speeds. Individuals must be able to pass specialized driving courses during initial training. Those invited to the oral assessment will be required to provide proof of possessing a valid U.S. driver’s license.

    SA candidates will be trained in many of the above skills, to include firearms training, defensive tactics, how to physically restrain a suspect, and specialized driving techniques. SA candidates must be able to participate in, and complete all aspects of their training. Any physical condition that would cause the candidate to be a hazard to himself/herself or others, including those they are protecting or placing under arrest, is potentially disqualifying.

    Applicants must successfully complete all aspects of the seven month initial training program for their candidacy and their employment to be continued; failure to pass any aspect of the initial training, including Physical Readiness Tests, is grounds for separation.

    All SA candidates must undergo a thorough background investigation to determine eligibility for a security clearance. SA candidates and, with few exceptions, all immediate family members must be citizens of the United States in order for the candidate to qualify for SCI access.

    The background investigation will also determine the extent to which candidates can provide credible testimony. Candidates must disclose as part of the investigation information that could be used to impeach their character, including: (a) any finding of misconduct that reflects on the truthfulness or possible bias of the applicant, including a finding of lack of candor during an administrative inquiry; (b) any past or pending criminal charge brought against the candidate; and (c) any credible allegation of misconduct that reflects upon the truthfulness or possible bias of the candidate that is the subject of a pending investigation. Applicants whose backgrounds contain impeachment information of the kind described above may be unqualified for this position.

    At the time of application, applicants must possess at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. 

    You will be required to submit a copy of your undergraduate college/university transcript(s) if you are successful in the online examination. If you do not submit this documentation to demonstrate your educational achievements, your application package will be deemed incomplete.

    You must submit either official or unofficial transcripts with your online application. Your transcript must include your name, the school’s name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended. Academic records and copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

    Education completed in foreign high schools, 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.  Only accredited organizations recognized as specializing in the interpretation of foreign education credentials that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) are accepted.

    NACES: www.naces.org/members.htm

    AICE: www.aice-eval.org/members

    For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, please refer to the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of State neither endorses nor recommends any individual evaluation service.

    OPM: www.opm.gov

    U.S. Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov

    *EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION PROGRAM (E-Verify) – Verification of employment eligibility in the United States is required.

    U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization.  This agency utilizes E-Verify to compare information from the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility.  If the employee’s information does not match DHS and/or SSA records, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem.  If eligibility cannot be verified, employment will be terminated.  

    **By law (Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act), all career candidates (except for preference-eligible veterans) must be at least 21 years old to be appointed and must be appointed prior to the month in which they reach age 37.  For more information about how Veteran’s Preference is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit: http://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/are-veterans-given-hiring-preference-.

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

    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 ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov , within one week of the vacancy announcement opening or receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

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    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Applicants 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 applicants possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.


    The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) program develops and tests proficiency in job-related subjects that include criminal law, federal court procedures, use of firearms, physical readiness, personal defensive tactics, driving skills, emergency medical procedures, protective security techniques, and criminal investigations. Proficiency is measured through a series of scored practical exercises, as well as subject matter-specific and comprehensive written examinations. Failure to successfully complete any portion of the training program is grounds for separation.  Upon satisfactory completion of FLETC, students will continue with approximately four additional months of DS Basic Special Agent training.

    Within four to six months after graduating from the Basic Special Agent Course, newly hired special agents will be required to enroll in the “Advanced Tactics, Leadership, and Skills” (ATLaS) course offered through the Diplomatic Security Training Center. The ATLaS course is 11 weeks long and focuses on enhanced tactics, training and leadership skills.  All special agents are required to take this course and complete a refresher course every five years.

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    Read more Security clearance Top Secret/SCI

    Drug test required Yes

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