Foreign Service Contracting Officer

Washington, D.C
Feb 17, 2021
Feb 24, 2021
Full Time


USAID is the world's premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID works to help lift lives, build communities, and advance democracy. USAID's work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity; demonstrates American generosity; and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. We operate in five regions of the world: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Eurasia.

Learn more about this agency


This is a Foreign Service announcement. Worldwide availability is a requirement of the position. All potential applicants are strongly urged to read this entire Vacancy Announcement to ensure that they meet all the requirements for this position before applying.

USAID provides development assistance in close partnership foreign governments and their people, both directly and through a variety organizations including private voluntary organizations, universities, American businesses, trade and professional associations, faith-based organizations, and others.

USAID Foreign Service (FS) Contracting Officers (COs) serve in Missions/US Embassies worldwide and are responsible for a wide range of activities throughout the Agency's Program Cycle covering all USAID implementing activities. However, about 80% of the agency's development assistance implementation is through Acquisitions (contracts) & Assistance (grants/cooperative agreements) mechanisms, and most of the day to day work centers on these mechanisms. As a result, well-developed expertise in USAID Acquisition & Assistance (A&A) tradecraft (i.e., the techniques, methods and technologies used in planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of development assistance) is mission critical and indispensable for ensuring effective planning, adaptive implementation, maximized development impact, and accountability. This is a highly specialized skill set that takes years to fully develop, is characterized by ongoing learning and professional development, and requires advanced proficiency in a variety of technical competencies (e.g., public procurement/government contracting, federal financial assistance, USAID A&A regulations and policies) and professional competencies (e.g., leadership, management, teamwork, interpersonal skills).

New FS CO's go through a significant initial training regimen that begins with orientation in Washington and to complete required pre-deployment training and additional on the job training at their first overseas assignment. This training/orientation process leads to the issuance of a Contracting and Agreements Officer warrants in most cases just over a year after beginning their first overseas tour of duty, or approximately two years after initial onboarding.

Duties include:

*Key member of USAID Missions in-country development team supporting and/or leading various elements of the USAID program cycle, including strategic planning, project design, activity design, and activity implementation. Assists with strategic planning and project design by analyzing resources needed to effectively implement and manage technical assistance.

*Supports technical offices in understanding planning and design considerations. Supports the design of activities through which USAID projects are implemented. Analyzes activity requirements; recommends or requires, as appropriate, revisions to statements of work/activity requirement; and determines the appropriate type of acquisition or assistance instrument.

*Exercises warrant authority with independent judgement in selecting implementing partners and managing the processes leading to implementing partner selection. Develops, and administers solicitations leading to contracts, grants, and other agreements with individuals, firms, and institutions to carry out USAID financed activities. Ensures integrity and fairness throughout USAID Acquisition & Assistance processes. Leads technical evaluation process of proposals/applications for USAID funded projects. Leads selection of implementing partners, award monitoring and maintenance.

*Performs cost and price analysis and leads negotiations to determine fairness and reasonableness of proposed price/costs and budgets. Prepares records documentation to explain rationale and methods used in arriving at final cost recommended for award.

*Monitors contractor performance for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, delivery schedules, payment provisions, contract data reporting requirements, and satisfactory progress toward achieving contracted for results and deliverables. Engages with host country officials and implementing partners on a variety of implementation issues.
* Delegates authority for day to day implementation management to qualified agency staff and works through and with these officials in providing management oversight (monitoring) over implementing partner performance.

*Performs final closeout of assigned contracts/agreements; e.g., assures delivery, inspection and acceptance of contractual end items and that all administrative and reporting actions have been resolved before recommending final closeout of the contract. Continuously updates practices to incorporate changes in Agency policies, priorities, and initiatives.

*Develops self and other members of the Acquisition & Assistance workforce to assume increasing levels of responsibility and technical acumen within their respective roles.

Supervises staff.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - A Foreign Service Officer generally spends the majority of their career assigned to the Agency's overseas missions and works in assigned developing countries with a variety of challenges (civil war, political unrest, lack of modern conveniences).

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential
SFS - Advancement to Senior Foreign Service on a merit basis is possible for employees who secure tenure and satisfy the requirements of promotion boards.


Conditions of Employment

  • Must be U.S. citizen.
  • Must have worldwide availability.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a TS security clearance.
  • Must be between 18 and 59 years old at time of application.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • Must meet all requirements of this announcement.

Medical Clearance. A medical clearance or waiver for the applicant is required prior to being hired for this position. FS members must be able to serve at any overseas post or receive a waiver. Many facilities are remote, unhealthy, or have limited medical support. Therefore, each applicant must meet medical fitness standards or receive a waiver. Prior to being appointed to the Foreign Service, applicants must have a thorough medical examination and must be able to receive a medical clearance for worldwide availability or a waiver.


Education and Experience: A Doctorate level degree (PhD, JD) in a relevant area including business administration, public administration, law, banking, international affairs and/or political science, operations research, procurement and contracting or finance with an emphasis on commerce, trade, or materials management PLUS three (3) years of relevant work experience such as: government and/or commercial contracting or regulatory affairs, international development, finance with an emphasis on cost analysis and pricing, management consulting, or public and/or nonprofit administration WITH a minimum of two (2) years overseas in developing countries and/or in a diverse domestic environment is required.

OR a Master's level degree in a relevant area including business administration, public administration, law, banking, international affairs and/or political science, operations research, procurement and contracting or finance with an emphasis on commerce, trade, or materials management PLUS four (4) years of relevant experience such as: government and/or commercial contracting or regulatory affairs, international development, finance with an emphasis on cost analysis and pricing, management consulting, or public and/or nonprofit administration WITH a minimum of two (2) years overseas in developing countries and/or in a diverse domestic environment is required.

Overseas and diverse working environment includes: A) working and living in a foreign country, nation, territory, or tribe; or (B) working and living in an economically disadvantaged community in the United States. Such diverse work experience would be characterized by situations in which you were exposed to new cultures, learned foreign languages, encountered different behavioral norms and practices, coordinated and engaged with external partners and local counterparts, or conducted public outreach and communications.

Contracting/Procurement - Some knowledge of various types of contractual modalities (contracts, grants, agreements, etc), techniques or negotiation and administration or regulatory requirements (for example, Federal Acquisitions Regulations), is desired.

Adaptability and Flexibility - Ability to live in developing countries with difficult conditions such as harsh climate, isolation, civil unrest, low quality of local health care, security concerns, high pollution levels, and limited availability of employment opportunities for family members.

Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively. Permits others to express views. Writes clearly, succinctly, and in a professional manner appropriate for the intended audience. Produces written material within established timeframes that are thorough and factually accurate.

Information Gathering Analysis, and Problem Solving - Proven ability to locate and effectively analyze data or information, assess reliability and accuracy of information, accurately summarize findings and conclusions verbally or in writing appropriate to audience, network formally and informally into communities of practice that focus on the technical areas and portfolio of the officer. Ability to participate effectively in management of activities.

Customer Service - Proven ability to identify customers, both internal and external; develops and engenders customer-centric focus. Works with more senior officers to prioritize work. Meets established deadlines or negotiates them in the face of constraints.

Budgeting and Financial Management - Ability to evaluate program budgets to ensure accountability and results. Ability to masters USAID's budgetary cycle and financial management procedures.

Consensus Building - Ability to present positions in non-confrontational way. Ability to act confidently and decisively within own purview. and support team consensus and moves to implement it.

Administration and Management - Knowledge of planning, coordination, and execution of business functions, resource allocation, and production under pressure of tight deadlines and rigid time frames in difficult circumstances. Ability to resolve project performance challenges by engaging the implementing partner and technical counterparts to gather facts, determine remedies, and initiate remedial actions in order to find and provide a solution.

Decision Making - Ability to make sound, well-informed, and objective decisions; perceives the impact and implications of decisions; commits to action, even in uncertain situations, to accomplish organizational goals; causes change.

Influencing/Negotiating - Ability to persuade others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; work with others towards an agreement; negotiate to find mutually acceptable solutions.

Collaboration - Ability to collaborate effectively with other USAID technical offices as well as other US government agencies within the Mission to proactively lead in areas that are oftentimes unclear and do not have a clear solution.

Cross Cultural integration - Ability to adapt and integrate with staff from other cultures, religions, ethnicities, and backgrounds.


Applicants must have an advanced degree (Master's or Doctorate).

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements. Transcripts from any and all foreign educational institutions must be accompanied by an official Evaluation of Educational Credentials in order to be considered for the position. It is your responsibility to provide evidence that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States when applying. If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency. Click on the following link for a list of accredited organizations ( ) recognized as specializing in interpretation of foreign education credentials. More information may be found at

Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded as part of the application. Failure to do so will result in the application being eliminated from consideration. If we are unable to determine that you meet the required education, you will be found ineligible for further consideration. If you proceed past the initial application phase, official transcripts must be received by USAID from your university/institution during the final selection process.

Additional information

Applicants who previously applied for this position and were interviewed will not be invited for another interview within a 12 month period.

Selective Service. As a condition of employment, all male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must have registered for the selective service. If selected for this position, the applicant must sign a statement certifying his registration, or the applicant must demonstrate exempt status under the Selective Service Law.

Career appointments in the Foreign Service are covered by the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, which requires an applicant to be 18 years old at time of application and which directs mandatory retirement at age 65. Given this mandatory retirement age and the fact that five years must be allowed to achieve tenure in the agency, there is an upper age limit of 59 at time of appointment to the Foreign Service.

Veteran's preference applies. Qualified veterans will be considered consistent with the requirements of the Foreign Service Act.

These are Testing Designated Positions (TDPs) under the Agency's approved Drug-Free Work Place Program. All applicants selected for this position will be subject to random drug testing once they begin working for the Agency.

Foreign Language Ability. Foreign language ability has no effect on whether or not you are selected for an interview. However, to reach required tenured status, you must be able to achieve minimum proficiency levels in a USAID tenuring languag e. Candidates who demonstrate a predefined level of proficiency will be given the opportunity to test for bonus points that will be added to their final interview score. Testing will be conducted via telephone and/or in person.

USAID must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

BASIS OF RATING: Qualified applicants receive a score of 70 to 100 before veteran's preference points are applied (if applicable). You will be rated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the education, experience, and training you report relative to this position that show the degree to which you possess the required competencies listed on this vacancy announcement. USAID must be able to conduct reference checks as part of its assessment process. Applicants who do not permit reference checks from previous employers may be disqualified.

IMPORTANT: If you are found to have rated your self assessment higher than the information in your on-line application, supporting documentation narratives, and/or any other relevant part of your application package; including attachments, a score will manually be determined that reflects your documented experience. This may result in a lowered score and may also eliminate you from the best qualified list.
To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required

Required Documents

NOTE: We are aware some applicants are being directed during the application process to submit redundant documents. You are only required to submit the "Vacancy Level" documents: Resume, Transcript, SF-15 (if applicable), DD-214 (if applicable), and Miscellaneous (for any document you'd like to submit that doesn't fall under the category of the first four). The second request for "Registration Level" documents is the result of a technical error and can be ignored.

The following documents will be required for verification of eligibility before employment is offered:
• Proof of United States Citizenship (birth certificate, passport, or other acceptable documentation).
• Official copy of college transcript of education used to qualify you for this position. For the initial application, only a copy of unofficial transcript is required.
• If claiming veteran's preference you must provide acceptable documentation of your preference or appointment eligibility. Acceptable documentation may be: a copy of your DD-214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty," which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions; a "certification" that is a written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed; OR a Standard Form 15 Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference. If you are claiming 10 point preference, you will need to submit a SF 15. You may obtain a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs reflecting your level of disability for preference eligibility by visiting a VA Regional Office, contacting a VA call center or online. For more information on veteran's preference and eligibility, visit

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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