Fort McNair, D.C
Oct 15, 2021
Oct 20, 2021
Full Time


The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is an academic institution within the U.S. Department of Defense established in 1999, and funded by Congress for the study of security issues relating to Africa. The Africa Center serves as a forum for bilateral and multilateral research, communication, and exchange of ideas involving military and civilian participants.

This is a Title 10 Excepted Service Appointment. Appointment is not to exceed 3 years with the possibility for extension.
Learn more about this agency


The Strategic Communications Manager serves as a focal point for bringing together the Africa Center's analytic insights with the multiple strategic communications platforms that reach the Center's diverse audiences. The Strategic Communications Manager is the Center's lead expert on strategic communications issues, amplifying the Center's messaging on African security issues while closely tracking Africa's rapidly evolving information and communications environment. S/he provides vision and expertise on how the Center can maximize its reach to external audiences spanning African and U.S. policymakers, security professionals, academics, media, and civil society actors. Working with a small team, the Strategic Communications Manager is responsible for implementing the Africa Center's strategic communication plan in a period of dynamic change within Africa.
  • The Strategic Communications Manager will provide strategic and day-to-day direction to the Africa Center's strategic communications efforts based on best practices of how public policy think tanks can inform, educate, and promote reform among target audiences. S/he will have familiarity with Africa and the unique and evolving manner in which African audiences access and use information. S/he will evaluate and assess the efficacy of the Center's strategic communications efforts and recommend modifications for improvement as required. S/he will also have a strong familiarity with how to effectively engage key media actors covering Africa security issues. S/he will maintain an up-to-date database of journalists, media outlets, and social media platforms that report on African issues so as to enhance the accessibility of relevant Africa Center products and messages. 35%
  • The Strategic Communications Manager brings an understanding of and passion for African security issues that will guide product development efforts, primarily short analytic articles and infographics. This expertise can be drawn from a combination of academic and practical experience working on Africa security, governance, or development issues. The Strategic Communications Manger requires outstanding writing skills that can craft thoughtful narratives that are accessible to policy, practitioner, and general audiences. 35%
  • The Strategic Communications Manger will supervise a small strategic communications team to advance the Africa Center's mission. Duties include assessing performance objectives and evaluating work performance, developing and implementing methods for improving efficiencies, deepening a culture of excellence, and creating a strong team with high morale. The Strategic Communications Manager will bring expertise on website management, graphics design, video recording, and interviewing best practices to lead these efforts. 30%
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

  • Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel 15% or less for this position

    Supervisory status

    Promotion Potential


    Conditions of Employment

    • Must be a U.S. Citizen
    • Must be able to obtain and maintain a Secret security clearance
    • Pursuant to the Executive Order on Requiring COVID 19 Vaccination for Federal Employees, new DoD civilian employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID 19 prior to entry on duty, subject to such exceptions as required by law.
    • More details regarding this requirement can be found at Selected candidates will receive further information about vaccine requirements during the job offer process.


    Required Qualifications:
    • 12 years of professional experience
    • Advanced degree in public policy, international relations, political science, journalism, communications or related discipline
    • Demonstrated familiarity with African security issues
    • Demonstrated outstanding writing skills authoring policy oriented journal or newspaper articles
    • Previous experience working with media, policymakers, and senior foreign officials
    • Experience and familiarity with information and communications technology trends in Africa
    • Previous experience living or working in Africa
    • Previous experience working in a think tank or academic center generating externally-facing content
    • Previous experience creating visual or graphic design content
    Desired Qualifications:
    • Experience with institutional brand management for public agency or think tank
    • Experience assessing social media and website metrics
    • Expertise with content management system software such as WordPress
    • Desktop publishing, graphic design, and photography expertise
    • Language proficiency in French, Portuguese, or Arabic


    Education Requirement: Advanced degree, Master's or Doctorate, in public policy, international relations, political science, journalism, communications or related discipline. Official transcripts will be required at time of selection to verify educational requirements are met.

    Additional information

    NOTE: The open period of this announcement has been updated. The close date of this announcement is now 19-OCT-2021 (previously 12-OCT-2021).

    National Defense University (NDU) supports the joint warfighter by providing rigorous Joint Professional Military Education to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and select others in order to develop leaders who have the ability to operate and creatively think in an unpredictable and complex world.

    NDU has a comprehensive benefits package that includes retirement, social security, and thrift savings; health, life, and long term care insurance; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays. NDU employees enjoy flexible work schedules, transit subsidy, and the opportunity to telecommute.

    Initial Probationary Period: You will be required to serve an initial probationary period of 18 months.

    Reemployed Annuitants: Department of Defense has the authority to hire certain annuitants without reduction in pay. For more information, go to:

    How You Will Be Evaluated

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

    A screening panel will review your resume and narrative answers to the assessment questions to evaluate your qualifications for the position. To qualify, you must meet the education and experience requirements described above. A NDU screening panel will review your resume and narrative answers to the hiring criteria to evaluate your qualifications for the position. NDU uses a multi-tier selection process for academic positions.

    You MUST upload a cover letter separate from your resume addressing the following hiring criteria:
  • Do you possess a master's or doctorate degree?
  • Describe your written communication skills in the English language with a demonstrated ability to author policy-oriented journal or newspaper articles. Please provide examples of your ability to craft thoughtful narratives that are accessible to policy, practitioner, and general audiences.
  • Describe your experience with information and communications technologies. Capabilities could include creating visual or graphic design content, experience working with institutional brand management, assessing social media and website metrics, content management system software such as WordPress, desktop publishing, and photography expertise.
  • Describe your experience working on Africa security issues. Please also describe your experience with media and policymakers.
  • Describe your supervisory experience and experience leading a team including but not limited to setting goals, assessing performance objectives, developing and implementing methods for improving efficiencies, deepening a culture of excellence, and creating a strong team with high morale.
  • Describe your language experience in English and Portuguese, French, and/or Arabic.

  • Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    You must provide a complete Application Package which includes:
  • Résumé: The latest resume submitted will be used to determine qualifications. All conferred degrees and certifications should be included in your resume for full consideration
  • Complete Assessment Questionnaire
  • Cover letter with narrative responses answering hiring criteria questions listed in the "How you will be evaluated" section of this announcement. Failure to submit will result in an ineligible rating.
  • Other Supporting Documents - Refer to the eligibilities section for documents to submit.
  • NOTE: Transcripts are not required at time of application submission. Your resume and narrative answers to the hiring criteria will be reviewed by the NDU screening panel to evaluate your qualifications for the position. If selected for an interview, official transcripts will be requested at that time to verify educational requirements are met.

    Eligibilities Information: The following supporting documents are REQUIRED to verify your individual eligibility status. Not all will apply for each applicant. They MUST be received by the closing date of the announcement.
  • SF-50 - (If applicable) Notification of Personnel Action for current or former federal employees- with the exception of current permanent NDU employees, please provide your most recent SF50 or the SF50 reflecting Career/Career-Conditional tenure and the highest grade held on a permanent basis.
  • If you claim Veteran's Preference:
    - You must submit a copy of your DD Form-214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty", showing the dates of active duty service, type of discharge and the character of service. This information is present on the DD-214 Member 4 copy; the required character of service is not included on DD-214 Member 1 copy. Alternatively, If you are a current military member in active duty service and do not have a copy of your DD Form-214, you must submit a written documentation (certification) from your branch of service certifying that you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions no later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted with your application for this position. The certification should also include your rank, dates of active duty service and what the condition of discharge is thought to be.
    - If claiming 10-point preference and/or are a 30% or more Disabled Veteran, you must submit both a DD Form-214 or expected discharge documentation as described above AND a copy of a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or your branch of service certifying the presence of service-connected disability and indicating the percentage of disability
    - If you are claiming eligibility based on 10-point derived veterans' preference (i.e. a spouse, widow/widower, or parent of a veteran claiming veterans' preference when the veteran is unable to use it), you must also submit a Standard Form 15 (SF-15) "Application for 10-Point Veteran's Preference" and any required documents indicated on the SF-15 to substantiate the claimed preference.
  • Other documents identified in the announcement.
  • WARNING: Failure to submit a complete application package including any required documentation by the closing date of the announcement at 11:59 EST, or at the time of application for announcements with an extended closing date, may result in an ineligible rating and loss of consideration. To verify that your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account, select Application Status and More Information. The Details page will display the status of your application.

    It is the applicant's responsibility to verify that information entered or uploaded is received, legible and accurate. HR will not modify answers submitted by an applicant.

    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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