Chief Counsel, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

Reston, Virginia
Oct 20, 2021
Oct 27, 2021
Executive, Chief
Full Time


The FirstNet Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) is an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Authorized by Congress in 2012, the FirstNet Authority's mission is to develop, build, and operate the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders with the necessary communications to save lives and protect U.S. communities. Come join the FirstNet Authority team and make a difference in public safety.

Learn more about this agency


The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) is looking for a candidate to lead the legal office that directly supports the FirstNet Authority's programmatic activities as Chief Counsel. In this role, the incumbent serves as a member of the senior leadership team, responsible for developing and implementing solutions to legal and policy issues that affect the accomplishment of FirstNet Authority Strategic Plan objectives. Responsibilities include:

-- Lead the legal office that directly supports the FirstNet Authority's programmatic activities. The office includes approximately 12 attorneys and oversees coordination between the Office of Chief Counsel and the Department's Office of General Counsel.

--Provide legal advice to the FirstNet Authority Board, Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director, the senior management team, the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, and the Secretary of Commerce regarding the FirstNet Authority's programmatic activities.

--Coordinate on FirstNet Authority's legal matters across the Department's Office of General Counsel and serves as the FirstNet Authority's liaison with other legal offices within the Federal Government.

--Analyze legal and policy options and risks and communicates with the FirstNet Authority Board and senior management team. Draft legal memoranda and documents (e.g., spectrum leases, Board resolutions, memoranda of understanding, and regulatory filings) on behalf of the FirstNet Authority and interprets legal authorities including statutes, Executive Orders, administrative rulings, and other directives pertaining to the FirstNet Authority, and provides advice and input on legislative and regulatory proposals in coordination with the Department's Office of General Counsel.

--Prepare or review orders, notices, rules, and regulations for publication, including notices in the Federal Register and announcements posted on to be issued by the FirstNet Authority.

--Provide advice regarding FirstNet's authorities and responsibilities in accordance with the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

--Develop and implement a comprehensive legal compliance program for the FirstNet Authority, examine audit reports from the Department's Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office regarding the FirstNet Authority activities and operations, and coordinates the FirstNet Authority's response to audit findings.

--Coordinates with the Department's Office of General Counsel and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding litigation matters.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Position requires nationwide travel (25% or less)

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Subject to pre-employment and employment random drug testing.
  • Public Financial Disclosure (SF-278 filing within 30 days is required).
  • Incumbent may be subject to geographically mobility.
  • Must possess a J.D. or LL.B degree from an accredited law school
  • 1 year probationary period for new career SES appointees
  • Background and/or security investigation required

This is a resume-based recruitment. Applicants are required to submit only a resume which must provide detailed evidence of how they meet the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and the Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs).

The selectee is subject to Department approval. If tentatively selected as an initial career SES appointment, you will be required to submit a written narrative statement addressing all of the ECQs for OPM certification. Initial appointments to the SES must have ECQs certified by the Office of Personnel Management prior to appointment. Applicants currently serving on a career SES appointment, eligible for reinstatement into the SES, or have successfully completed an SES Candidate Development Program approved by OPM are not required to be evaluated on the ECQs. Must be a U.S. Citizen.

Agencies must request OPM approval to appoint current or former (within five-years) Executive Branch political appointees in the following types of appointments: PAS; PA; Political appointees, as defined under 5 U.S.C. sections 5312 through 5316 (relating to the Executive Schedule); Political Schedule A; Appointments made by the President without confirmation by the Senate; Assistants to top-level Federal officials if the position is being filled by a person designated by the President as a White House Fellow; Schedule C; Noncareer SES; Limited Term SES [5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(5); and 5 CFR § 317, subpart F]; Limited Emergency SES [5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(6); and 5 CFR § 317, subpart F]; Appointees serving in a political capacity under agency-specific authority; and Provisional Political Appointments.

The physical worksite for this position is in Reston, VA. However, the Department of Commerce is currently under a maximum telework posture due to the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, this position is currently under a 100 percent telework schedule. The position's telework schedule will likely change in the future when it moves away from its maximum telework posture. At that time, the incumbent will be expected to report to the physical work site in accordance with the updated status requirements of their supervisor. The nature and scope of future telework opportunities will be subject to the unit's telework policy, any applicable bargaining unit agreements, and supervisory approval. Non-compliance with the supervisor's telework-schedule requirement could result in adverse action, including separation.


To qualify, applicants must provide clear evidence of progressively responsible executive level leadership experience and office management directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and Professional Technical Qualifications (PTQs) listed. An individual's total experience must demonstrate the ability to perform the duties of the position.

Applicants do not need to submit separate narrative responses to address the ECQs or PTQs. Please remember that if experience is not stated in your resume, it will not be presumed that you possess it. Sample resumes that incorporate the ECQs and PTQs are available at:

EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQs): The following are the five ECQs and their fundamental competencies. The ECQs were developed to assess executive experience and potential, not to evaluate technical experience. ECQs measure whether an individual has the broad experience needed to succeed in a variety of SES positions.

ECQ 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 to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. (Competencies: creativity and innovation, external awareness, flexibility, resilience, strategic thinking, vision)

ECQ 2 - LEADING PEOPLE: This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to 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. (Competencies: conflict management, leveraging diversity, developing others, team building)

ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks. (Competencies: accountability, customer service, decisiveness, entrepreneurship, problem solving, technical credibility)

ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically. (Competencies: financial management, human capital management, technology management)

ECQ 5 - BUILDING COALITIONS: This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.
(Competencies: partnering, political savvy, influencing/negotiating)


1 - Demonstrated ability to plan, implement, and supervise the work of a legal office, effectively interpreting existing or proposed statutes, regulations, directives and other policy instruments in at least one of the following areas: telecommunications, public safety, emergency response, or commercial law.

2 - Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in researching, negotiating, and managing large-scale programs or agreements for a major organization in a high-level corporate or government environment. Must have demonstrated the capacity for effective and decisive decision-making, as well as the ability to solve problems of substantial impact, sensitivity, and complexity.


Applicants must be a graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association in possession of a J.D. or LL.B degree (law degree) and be an active member in good standing of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico bar.

Additional information

Background Investigation: This position is requires a Secret security clearance and is designated as non-critical sensitive and requires that a background investigation be conducted and favorably adjudicated in order to establish security eligibility.

Financial Disclosure: This position is covered under the Ethics in Government Act, which requires comprehensive financial disclosures from employees. The appointee will be required to file a Public Financial Disclosure Report (SF-278), within 30 days after his/her appointment, and then annually thereafter.

Qualifications Approval and Probationary Period: Persons newly selected for career appointment to the Senior Executive Service must have their executive core qualifications approved by an Office of Personnel Management Qualifications Review Board and will be required to serve a one-year probationary period.

Mobility: Individuals selected for Senior Executive Service positions may be subject to reassignment across geographical, organizational, and functional lines.

Drug Testing: Applicants tentatively selected for employment in any position are subject to designated and/or random pre-employment and employment urinalysis. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment and/or removed from employment with the Department of Commerce.

Materials: The materials you send with your application will not be returned.

Preference: Veterans' preference and time-in-grade restrictions are not applicable to positions in the Senior Executive Service.

Pay: Pay increases and recognition are based on performance, if applicable.

You will be required to enter your full social security number (SSN) only to initially access and create an account at the OPM USAJOBS website; however, only the last four digits will appear in your resume. Please DO NOT put your SSN on pages within your application package. Privacy Act - Privacy Act Notice (PL 93-579): The information requested here is used to determine qualifications for employment and is authorized under Title 5 U.S.C. 3302 and 3361.

Signature: Before you are hired, you will be required to sign and certify the accuracy of the information in your application.

False Statements: If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired, you may be fired after you begin work, or you may be subject to fine, imprisonment, or other disciplinary action.

Selective Service: If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law.

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor. The Department of Commerce is an equal opportunity employer.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

All applicants will be evaluated by an Executive Resources Board (ERB) rating panel of senior managers to determine the degree to which they possess the mandatory executive core and professional/technical qualifications. All applicants will be evaluated on the quality and extent of their total accomplishments, experience, and the Executive (if applicable) and Professional qualification requirements.

Key steps in the evaluation process are as follows:

1. Application completeness
2. Basic qualification determination
3. Rating panel assessment of your executive core qualifications and professional technical qualifications
5. Structured interview and possible further interviews
6. Tentative selection by the hiring organization
7. OPM Qualification Review Board certification (as needed)

You are not required to submit responses to the ECQs and PTQs. If you submit narrative ECQs or PTQs responses they will not be considered and will not be forwarded to the rating panel or selecting official.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
NCS/High Risk

Trust determination process
Suitability/Fitness , National security

Required Documents

In addition to your online application, the following documents must be submitted and received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on the closing date of this announcement

Resume - You must submit a resume to be eligible for this position. Describe the scope, quality, depth, and effectiveness of your leadership and technical experience within the context of the ECQ and PTQ requirements. Your resume must contain information sufficient to make a valid determination that you fully meet the executive level qualifications and specialized experience requirements as stated in this vacancy announcement. Insufficient information will result in a not qualified rating. It is recommended that your resume include the following information:
  • Your full name, mailing address (including zip code), email address, and day and evening telephone numbers.
  • Paid and Non-paid job-related work experience. For each job listed you are to provide: job title; duties and accomplishments; employers' name and address; supervisor's name and phone number; starting and ending dates (month and year); hours per week; salary; if a federal position, list the title, series and grade/pay band.
  • Education. Provide name, city and state of all schools attended; i.e., high school, colleges and universities, vocational, trade, business, technical. Provide dates of attendance, major, and type and year of any degrees received. Report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For more information, you may refer to the following website:
  • Other Job Related Qualifications Information. Provide training courses, special skills you possess, certificates and licenses, honors, awards, special accomplishments, etc., applicable to the position.

Additional documents you may submit:

1. For current Senior Executives or individuals with SES reinstatement eligibility: You are encouraged to submit your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) that documents your career appointment status in the SES.

2. For current Federal employees: You are encouraged to submit your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) that documents your current tenure, position title, series, grade level and pay.

3. For OPM QRB certified SES Candidate Development Program (SESCDP) Graduates: You are encouraged to submit your OPM certificate of QRB ECQ approval.

Documents not listed above including writing samples, recommendation letters, narrative ECQ and PTQ statements, and proof of veteran status will not be considered and will not be forwarded to the rating panel or selecting official. 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.

The selectee will be required to provide documentation of an active membership in good standing of a state, territory of the Unites States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico bar.

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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