John S. McCain Strategic Defense Fellow

Alexandria, Virginia
Dec 05, 2021
Dec 12, 2021
Full Time

The McCain Fellowship Program is designed to acquire high performing and talented individuals with advanced degrees located throughout the United States who will gain experience and develop their leadership capabilities through challenging opportunities to flourish into problem solvers, strategic thinkers and future leaders.
Assignments during the fellows program are to an excepted service position either in the Office of the secretary of Defense or an office of the Secretary of a Military Department. Upon successful completion of the Fellows program, the Fellows may be placed in any reserved position in the excepted service within DoD based on exceptional performance, funding, and billet availability.

You will represent high caliber graduates and will be expected to possess a personal commitment to excellence, a strong capacity for leadership, exceptional ability evidenced through achievement, and a demonstrated commitment to a public service career. The McCain fellows program is designed to provide leadership development for the commencement of a career track toward senior leadership in the DoD.

The positions will be at the GS-10 level and the occupations to be filled are:

Management Analyst, 0343
Financial Analyst, 0501
General Engineer, 0801
Foreign Affairs Specialist, 0130

Upon successful completion of the one year fellowship program, the incumbent may be placed in any reserved position in the excepted service within the DoD, without competition.


Conditions of Employment

  • COVID19: All Federal Employees must be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021. Proof of vaccination will be required.
  • To ensure compliance with this mandate, please review the Federal civilian vaccination requirements, to include timelines for receiving required doses, at
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered or exempt from Selective Service (see
  • May be required to successfully complete a probationary/trial period
  • Must be determined suitable for federal employment
  • Required to participate in the direct deposit program
  • This position is subject to pre-employment and random drug testing
  • May be required to work other than normal duty hours, which may include evenings, weekends, and/or holidays and/or overtime.
  • May occasionally require travel away from the normal duty station on military or commercial aircraft.



Applicants are evaluated on their technical and professional excellence, character, commitment to public service and academic achievement.
  • Advanced degree - Master's Degree and above.
  • Passing background and security investigations.
  • Completed application package and supporting documents:
  • Complete Resume.
  • Two letters of recommendation from previous employers, professors, coaches, internship supervisors, volunteer activity leads or work colleagues addressing work ethic, academic ability and any extra-curricular activities.
  • An endorsement letter or recommendation letter from the applicant's graduate institution (i.e., academic advisor, career counselor, guidance counselor, university dean or professor) addressing the applicant's academic history and overall character (i.e., no record of honor investigations, plagiarism, accusations, suspension, misconduct, etc.)
  • Unofficial transcripts of educational achievement at the undergraduate level* and/or graduate level. To be eligible, applicants must have either completed their graduate degree at the time of application; OR, applicants who will complete their graduate degree within six months after applying to this position.
  • Provide an academic writing sample (i.e., published articles, dissertation, thesis, etc.)
  • Provide compelling narratives:
  • Career goals. Describe your career goals and areas of interest and how the McCain Fellows Program will help you achieve those goals.
  • Accomplishments. Describe and provide examples/evidence of any learning, professional, leadership and work accomplishments.
  • Benefits for Department of Defense. Describe how your selection benefits the DoD and your motivation for service in the Department.
  • Essay: Describe what you want to accomplish and achieve during the fellowship.
  • Review and sign the McCain Fellows Program Mobility/Relocation and Participant Agreement Form.
  • Assessments. Complete all requisites that apply.


THIS POSITION HAS AN EDUCATION REQUIREMENT. You MUST have a Master's Degree and above; OR, will have earned at least a Master's Degree within six months after applying to this position. You MUST also include transcripts, with your application, to support your educational claims. Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

FOREIGN EDUCATION: Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements. You must show proof the education credentials have been deemed to be at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education program. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. If selected, you will be required to have your foreign education evaluated, by any organization that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education, at your own expense.

Additional information

Additional vacancies may be filled by this announcement.

Selective Service:
Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered or exempt from Selective Service. For additional information, click here.

Direct Deposit: All federal employees are required to have direct deposit.

Nepotism: Under the provisions of 5 USC 3110, an individual may not be appointed into a position if the position is under the supervisory chain of command of a relative.

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