Diplomatic Security: Foreign Service Security Engineering Officer

Montevideo, D.C
Oct 16, 2021
Oct 24, 2021
Full Time


The U.S. Department of State is developing a rank-ordered list of eligible hires for a limited number of Foreign Service Security Engineering Officer (SEO) vacancies based on the needs of the Department. Learn more about a career in the Foreign Service and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security .

Joining the Foreign Service is more than just salary . Refer to the Benefits section for more on total compensation.

This is a 2550 Foreign Service position equivalent to the 0855 Civil Service series.

Learn more about this agency


Foreign Service Security Engineering Officers (SEOs) are members of the Diplomatic Security team who protect Department of State personnel, facilities, and sensitive information against acts of crime, terrorism, and technical espionage. Security Engineering Officers carry out this mission at over 275 U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, as well as offices in the metropolitan Washington, DC area and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

SEOs are deemed essential security personnel whose duties can vary according to the size of the U.S. presence, the requirements of the specific diplomatic facility, and known threats. The following are examples of the types of duties and responsibilities assigned to SEOs. This list is neither exhaustive, nor in priority order:

-- Lead the Department in technical solutions to emerging and evolving threats domestically and overseas.

-- Manage technical and information security programs, projects, and resources at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

-- Interface with and represent the Department's interests and policy with regards to technical security and countermeasures within the international Intelligence Community.

-- Perform technical security assessments and recommend security upgrades to deter terrorism and technical espionage.

-- Plan and conduct technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) surveys to detect, report, and nullify technical penetrations, hazards, or vulnerabilities of Department of State facilities.

-- Identify, analyze, and manage security risks to personnel, facilities, or sensitive information and, in-turn, specify system requirements and/or procedural measures to ensure the integrity of facilities, networks, computers, automated information systems, and perimeter security.

-- Apply IT best practices to monitor and troubleshoot networking equipment, workstations, servers, and applications.

-- Manage high value projects and act as Contracting Officer Representative (COR) or Government Technical Monitor (GTM) overseas and domestically.

-- Evaluate a wide variety of equipment, systems, and products for security vulnerabilities.

-- Plan and conduct certification tests, as well as maintain the security requirements for information processing and secure conferencing facilities.

-- Produce a variety of written documents including well-crafted management memoranda, trip reports, budget justifications, presentations, and engineering surveys or technical reports detailing specific engineering services planned or performed.

-- Plan, budget, coordinate, and perform extensive travel throughout the world to service overseas embassies and consulates, often in remote locations, including the transport of technical supplies and materials (and on occasion, diplomatic pouches) by vehicle, airplane, train, and other public transportation.

-- Support USG Officials and foreign dignitaries by providing technical security support when requested.

-- Maintain a clean and safe workspace, storeroom, and accurate equipment inventory.

-- Engage in work that ranges from delicate cutting-edge system operation to dirty and/or physically demanding.

-- Specify, design, maintain, evaluate, procure, install, and certify equipment and/or products for technical security systems, such as:
  • Security video systems, emergency notification systems, radiofrequency (RF) communication systems, vehicle arrest systems, intrusion detection systems, locking devices, access control and denial systems, countermeasures equipment, innovative protective technologies, and acoustic or RF attenuation technologies.
  • Computer systems, encryption, firewalls, computer forensics, network intrusion monitoring and prevention, and system security audit products.

-- Act as the Subject Matter Expert on technical counterintelligence, technical security policy matters, and advise non-technical personnel on mitigation and compliance efforts.

-- Supervise, train, manage, and lead a diverse team of technicians, contractors, U.S. Navy Seabees, office managers, logisticians, and locally employed staff.

-- Mentor employees and non-technical Foreign Service colleagues on technical security best practices and requirements.

-- Develop and maintain current leadership and management skills, applying them as a supervisor or when assisting in the hiring process.

-- Model the Department of State's six core values (accountability, character, community, diversity, loyalty, service) and the Department's Leadership and Management Principles; observe and implement EEO principles.

-- Review and revise Departmental technical security policy to ensure current, accurate, and clear guidance.

Travel Required

50% or less - SEOs generally spend about half of their careers assigned to the Department of State's overseas missions and at times, live away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of a Written and Oral Assessment (OA) requirement held in Washington D.C. or other locations outside the DC metro area. All travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
  • Be able to obtain Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.**
  • Be at least 20 years old and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).***

Other Requirements

A valid U.S. driver's license is required.

Applicants must be available for worldwide service and be able to tolerate intensive world travel, potentially living away from family, and possibly working and living in difficult and/or isolated conditions.

SEO candidates must meet supplemental physical standards including, but not limited to, additional vision and hearing requirements. The standards for the SEO position can be found at https://careers.state.gov/downloads/ in the Three Conditions of Diplomatic Security Employment section.

Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling, and punctuation. A Foreign Service Specialist must consistently display a high standard of written English (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling, and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity, and succinctness).


Applicants for this position should have academic achievements and/or job-related experiences that reflect the following knowledge and skills. For experienced candidates, showing progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility is desirable.
  • Knowledge of Engineering and Technology, including engineering principles and practices, electronics technology, electromagnetic spectrum, information technology equipment, networks and network protocol, computer programs, and risk analysis.
  • Technical Skills, including reading and developing schematic diagrams, electrical drawings, and building plans, selecting and operating electronic equipment, using and developing test equipment and tools, surveying, evaluating, documenting, and using computer software.
  • Project Management Skills, including planning and organizing, developing action plans, setting schedules, priorities, and goals, problem solving, and decision making.
  • People Management Skills, including motivating employees, supervision, teamwork, leadership, conflict resolution, working with others with diverse backgrounds, and customer service.
  • Intellectual Skills, including oral communication, writing, reporting, research, knowledge management, and self-development.

  • Essential Physical Requirements

    Some of the essential functions of the job have a physically demanding component. For instance, in conducting technical surveillance countermeasures inspections, an SEO is periodically required to perform work that requires regular and recurring periods of prolonged standing, bending, and stretching. An SEO is required periodically to climb ladders and work from heights in performing the essential duties.

    Other essential duties of the job may involve recurring lifting of moderately heavy equipment and tools and physical endurance to be physically active for many hours. Related activities may include crawling, twisting, maneuvering, and working in cramped spaces as well as the occasional moving and transporting of diplomatic pouches. Occasionally, the job may require exposure to extreme environmental conditions or prolonged periods of travel.

    A physical examination of each applicant offered a position is required to ensure that the candidate meets the physical and medical requirements necessary to perform the essential functions of the job and can meet the standards required for a worldwide medical clearance. In addition, candidates must have vision that is correctable to 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other, no color blindness, adequate night vision, and good peripheral vision.
    • Note: Lasik surgery and implantable lens are permitted. Surgical and follow-up reports will be required. Candidates must also have good hearing with no loss of greater than 30 decibels at 500, 1000, or 2000, Hz level.
    • Note: Use of hearing appliances is not allowed. The musculoskeletal system should have no deformities, diseases, or limiting conditions that would interfere with the performance of duties.

    Note: The medical examination is required only after a candidate has successfully passed the written and oral assessments. It is not part of the initial application package.


    Applicants must have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, Master of Science (MS), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physics or in an Engineering program that must be in a School of Engineering with at least one program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); or

    present evidence of successfully passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination or any other written test required for professional registration by a state, District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico engineering licensure board. A current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT), or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any state, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico may also be used to fulfill the education requirement.

    Submit evidence of licensure at time of application, if applicable.

    Official or unofficial transcripts must be submitted with your application to demonstrate you meet the required educational achievement in the Science, Physics, or Engineering fields. Transcripts must include your name, the school's name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of these elements or any pages will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will not continue. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

    Final acceptance will be predicated on receipt of the degree. Prior to appointment, applicants must provide proof of obtaining their degree by May 31, 2022. Your transcript must include your name, the school's name and the degree and date awarded.

    Education from a program or institution within the United States must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation.

    Education completed in foreign 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 U.S. 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

    Additional information

    *EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILIY 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.

    **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/

    ***For more information about Veteran's Preference and how it is applied in the selection process, please visit: http://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/are-veterans-given-hiring-preference-

    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 Foreign Service Specialist separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be a Foreign Service Specialist 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 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 receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are 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.

    Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Sensitive Compartmented Information

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is complete before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in your application not being considered further.
  • Résumé from USAJobs Résumé Builder, the only résumé format accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Complete online application, including the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives.
  • All required supporting documentation, including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement. Transcripts must include name, school's name and, if applicable, degree and date awarded. Evidence of licensure at time of application at time of application should also be provided.
  • Veteran's Preference documentation for applicants aged 60 to 65. If claiming a 5 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. If claiming a 10 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. A Certification must be from the armed forces certifying the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions within 120 days after the Certification is submitted by the applicant and should include military service dates, date of expected discharge or release, and character of service and disability rating, if applicable.

  • Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest

    These required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming a Foreign Service Specialist. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. Each response is limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as a Foreign Service Specialist is the ability to write clearly and concisely. Answers to all the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.

    Accomplishments Questionnaire

    1. Substantive Knowledge: Using your knowledge of technical security programs, please provide what you consider to be the best example of a situation where you found a solution to a practical problem. Indicate the nature of the problem, who was affected by the problem and in what way, and the results or benefits of your solution.

    2. Intellectual Skills: Describe a time when you had to analyze a situation and make a quick decision. What process did you follow for making the decision and were you satisfied with the results?

    3. Interpersonal Skills: Please provide an example that demonstrates you are good at working with others in difficult situations. What exactly did you do that shows you have this skill?

    4. Communication Skills: Describe a situation in which you used your communication skills to describe a technical issue to a non-technical audience.

    5. Managerial Skills: Describe a project you managed or helped to manage and how you sought to achieve the project's goals. What techniques and tools did you use?

    6. Leadership Skills: Describe a time when you identified a serious problem that required immediate action. How did you take the lead in solving the problem?

    Statement of Interest

    Required narrative Statement of Interest which discusses your:

    - Motivation for joining the Foreign Service;

    - Relevant work experience, including any unique strengths not described elsewhere, such as special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, certifications, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position;

    - Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in the United States.

    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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