Associate Director for Operations

District of Columbia, D.C
Jan 12, 2022
Jan 20, 2022
Executive, Director
Full Time

  • As a key member of the Director?s leadership team together with the Associate Director for Programs, the incumbent serves as advisor, agency expert, and as a senior official in decision making concerning NIFA direction and policies.
  • Participates fully, and in coordination with the Associate Director for Programs, the Director of NIFA, and other key USDA officials in the formulation of multi-functional, research, education, and extension programs and policies.
  • Co-leads the development and execution of the NIFA budget with the Associate Director of the Programs, with guidance from the Director and in collaboration with the NIFA Executive Council.
  • Participates fully and speaks with the authority for the Director of NIFA in developing, recommending, and supporting the mission, goals, and policies of NIFA.
  • Provides leadership in the coordination of activities and programs to optimize responsiveness to critical issues.
  • Provides direction in evaluating the effectiveness of operations in meeting NIFA?s mission as well as to adherence to operating plans and time schedules.
  • Ensures that NIFA?s fiscal planning, implementation, and accounting practices are of the highest quality and effectively integrated within NIFA, with Administrative and Financial Management (AFM-REE Business Center), and NFC.
  • Ensures the business practices for the management and processing of grants as well as the program leadership functions of NIFA are supported by a strong IT infrastructure.
  • In coordination with the Associate Director for Programs, the incumbent keeps all activities running at optimum level of responsiveness and stays fully cognizant of NIFA?s operational status at all times.
  • Through planning and accountability responsibility, ensures strategic goals and objectives of NIFA and the functions administered by NIFA are aligned with the strategic goals and objectives of the Department and REE Mission Area.
  • Based on a strong knowledge of NIFA policies and functions, establishes agency management controls to maintain compliance and quality of services.
  • Presents options for attaining optimum organizational efficiency, communication, and cooperation.
  • In cooperation with the Director and the Associate Director for Programs, provides leadership to ensure that NIFA?s work and accomplishments are described and communicated in a manner that reaches, informs, and influences stakeholders and employees.
  • Researches and analyzes policy issues to be addressed, becomes thoroughly familiar with the interests of and positions taken by attendees, and recommends appropriate strategy for important meetings and conferences.
  • Participates fully in Agency process improvement efforts. Integrates and manages the Continuous Process Improvement and Enterprise Risk Management efforts throughout NIFA.
  • Ensures NIFA?s grants, cooperative agreements and other federal financial assistance are administered consistent with NIFA policy and funding. Provides general oversight to all grant activities.
  • As required, provides back-up to the Associate Director for Programs and as required, acts for the Director of NIFA.


Conditions of Employment

  • Veterans Preference is not applicable in the Senior Executive Service.
  • Initial appointments are required to serve a 1-year probationary period.
  • Background Investigation required.
  • Federal employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of their duty location. If selected, you will be required to submit documentation of COVID-19 vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before appointment, if after November 22, 2021.
  • The agency will provide additional information regarding what COVID-19 vaccination information or documentation will be needed and how you can request of the agency a legally required exception from this requirement.
  • US Citizenship is required.


The application process used to recruit for this position is RESUME-ONLY. DO NOT submit Executive Core Qualifications in lieu of a resume.

To apply for this position you need only submit a resume which CANNOT exceed FIVE (5) pages using 1 inch margins and a 12 point font. Any information submitted in excess of five (5) pages WILL NOT be considered. You must submit a resume which provides evidence of how you possess the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and Technical Qualifications.

As a basic requirement for entry into the SES, applicants must provide evidence of progressively responsible executive leadership and supervisory experience that is indicative of senior executive level management capability and directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under Executive Core Qualifications and Technical Qualifications listed below. Typically, experience of this nature will have been gained at or above the GS-15 grade level in the federal service or its equivalent in the private sector, or nongovernmental organizations.

MANDATORY EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQS): The ECQs were designed to assess executive experience and potential not technical expertise. They measure whether an individual has the broad executive skills needed to succeed in a variety of SES positions.

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)

2. Leading People : This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organizations 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)

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)

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)

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)

Consideration for competitive selection for this position is open to all persons within the area of consideration who meet the basic experience as stated below:
1. Executive level experience which demonstrates the ability to lead and manage the operational functions (budget and finance, strategic planning, communications, human resource functions, Federal assistance programs, and information technology systems) needed to support research, education, and extension programs that address complex problems requiring multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional approaches to resolve.
2. Executive level experience leading change through the creative development and implementation of policy of a complex organization or Federal department, with regard to a variety of management programs. This includes developing innovative solutions that resolve problems or conflicts between management requirements, an organization's mission, and customer needs.


There's no education requirements for this series.

Additional information

Consideration for competitive selection for this position is open to all persons within the area of consideration who meet the basic qualifications. Race, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religion, marital or family status, disability, and other non-merit factors will not be considered.

1. This position is covered under the post-employment restriction of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-521). This law also requires the selectee to file an Executive Personnel Financial Disclosure Report (Standard Form 278), within 30 days of appointment.

2. Applications sent in U.S. Government postage-paid envelope and submitted through Federal Agency courier services will not be considered.

3. The 1993 Hatch Act Reform Amendments prohibit oral and written political recommendations for Federal jobs.

4. Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service System before they can be employed by an executive agency of the Federal government. This requirement does not apply to Agency employees appointed before November 8, 1985.

5. All application forms are subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act and become the property of USDA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Reasonable Accommodation: This agency provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency at 202-260-8128. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

Effective January 1, 2010, OPM must authorize any employment offers we make to current or former (within the last 5 years) political Schedule A, Schedule C, or Non-career SES employees in the executive branch. If you are currently, or have been within the last 5 years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C, or Non-career SES employee in the executive branch, you must disclose that to the Human Resources Office.