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U.S. Department of State

How to Apply

United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer

Announcement No:  STS-99-1
Opening Date:   February 8, 1999
Closing Date:     March 31, 1999


    Grade and Starting Salary Range:
    FP-06, $29,911 - $43,925
    Additional Benefits: Tax Free Housing overseas, Tax Free Educational Allowance, etc.
    plus benefits package

    Number of Vacancies:
    The Department of State is developing a rank-order List of Eligible to Hires to fill a limited number of Foreign ServiceSecurity Technical Specialist (STS) vacancies.  The specific number to be hired will depend on the needs of the Foreign Service.

    Area of Consideration:
    All Sources

    Initial assignment will be to Foreign Service posts throughout the world where Security Technical Specialists are assigned, Department of State facilities in the Washington, DC area, or Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Initial training and orientation will be conducted in the Washington, DC area.


    Foreign Service Security Technical Specialists (STSs) are support personnel within the Bureau of Diplomatic Security who assist in worldwide technical security programs.  These programs provide protection for Department of State facilities and personnel from technical espionage, acts of terrorism, and crime.  In this protection effort, sophisticated electronic and electro-mechanical security systems are used throughout the world, which include: intrusion detection systems (IDS), closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems, vehicular and pedestrian access control systems, metal detectors, and explosive detection systems.  STS personnel report to Security Engineering Officers (SEOs) who provide overall program management on technical security matters Department-wide.  The mission of STS personnel is accomplished through the performance of some or all of the following functions or tasks:

    • Corrective maintenance and repair of technical security systems
    • Preventative maintenance of technical security systems
    • Verification-of-operation tests of technical security systems
    • Use of sophisticated electronic test equipment: oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, etc.
    • Bench repair of defective technical security system equipment to the component level
    • Equipment Logistics shipping/receiving, Bill-of-Materials (BOM) preparation
    • Equipment Inventory tracking, spare parts, ordering
    • Organize workshop, shop tools, equipment, parts and supplies
    • Install technical security system equipment and components
    • Travel to overseas embassies and consulates
    • Assist Security Engineering Officers with surveys, system specifications, and installations
    • Work with host country personnel (local nationals) when required
    • Test new generation technical security equipment
    • Assist in technical aspects of criminal investigations
    • Assist in the technical security support rendered to the Secretary of State

    In the execution of any of these duties and tasks, STS personnel may frequently be required to:

    • Work in confined areas such as crawlspaces, attics, utility pits, tunnels, manholes, and other confined spaces
    • Work from heights to include rooftops, ledges, bucket trucks, scaffolding, and extension ladders
    • Perform manual installation operations to include hammer drilling, core drilling, wire pulling, conduit running, and cable terminating
    • Move heavy objects (hundreds of pounds) such as safe/file containers, crates, building materials, motor-generators
    • Travel and work in hostile environments such as war zones, areas of civil and political strife, and in regions of the world having extreme climates



    Foreign Service Security Technical Specialists not only are assigned to embassies and consulates abroad, but also to the Department of State in Washington, DC, and the Florida Regional Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  New Security Technical Specialists are normally assigned to one of the Engineering Services Centers (ESCs) located at various embassies and consulates throughout the world.  Future assignments are made in consultation with the employee, taking into consideration the needs of the Department, the particular interests/skills of the employee, career development requirements, family circumstances, and individual preferences.

    These ESCs are regional technical security support centers that coordinate the technical security programs of the various U.S. embassies and consulates located nearby.  The personnel at an ESC consist of Security Engineering Officers, Security Technical Specialists, US Navy Seabees, and administrative support staff.  STS personnel are assigned to a team lead by an SEO and given specific duties and responsibilities.  In the performance of their duties, STS personnel may be required to travel from their normal duty station up to 50% of the time.  Generally, this temporary duty travel lasts 5-10 days, with some trips lasting up to 6-8 weeks.

    During domestic assignments, STS personnel continue in their support role in the technical security field through involvement in worldwide programs involving logistics, equipment maintenance, Secretary of State support and overseas operations.  In addition, STS personnel assist in the technical security support of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, and to the various regional field offices located throughout the United States.  A domestic assignment may involve overseas travel.

    Prior to their initial assignment, which is normally a two-year tour of duty, each new Security Technical Specialist will complete several months of specialized training.  Follow on assignments will also include any needed training.  In addition to requisite technical training, STS personnel are provided opportunities to attend developmental courses.  These include, but are not limited to, Departmental management and leadership courses, and university level academic programs.



    Domestic Assignments - A Security Technical Specialist assigned to a domestic position will be a team member of a group dedicated to a functional area within the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  Functional areas include:

    • Domestic Technical Security
    • Systems Development and Evaluations
    • Secretary of State Support
    • Criminal Investigations Support 
    • Overseas Support

    Overseas Assignments - A Security Technical Specialist assigned to an overseas position will serve as a security technician at any of the Engineering Services Offices or Engineering Services Centers located at U.S. diplomatic or consular posts around the world.  While working at Foreign Service posts, Security Technical Specialists are supervised by Security Engineering Officers and perform some or all of the duties described earlier.  



    Initial base salary upon appointment will be within the FP-06 pay grade.  The specific step within this grade depends on experience level and salary history, and will be determined at the time of a conditional offer of employment. The entry-level salary for Federal civilian employees will be set at the step, within the Foreign Service FP-06 grade, that is nearest to their previous base salary, provided the work performed in their previous position is relevant to the activities of a Foreign Service Security Technical Specialist.

Grade Level

Salary Range


Specialized Experience


$31,489 $42,319

High School Diploma or Equivalent

3 or more

    STS personnel will be administratively (i.e., non-competitively) promoted to the FP-05 level after one year of satisfactory performance, and to the FP-04 level after an additional 18 months of satisfactory performance.  Security Technical Specialists are considered for further promotion annually in competition with others in their specialty, and have limited opportunity for promotions to the FP-03 level.  Positions of increasingly higher responsibility are achieved as a result of successfully competing for promotions which are earned through quality performance.



    In addition to the general requirements for employment in the Foreign Service, explained further in the supplemental brochure, "Information and Benefits for Foreign Service Specialists," each applicant must possess the required specialized experience as outlined below.  Applicants must also possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and hold a valid driver's license.  Each applicant must pass a skill assessment examination.  This exam will be conducted following successful completion of the initial review stage and qualifications evaluations review panel. The panel will recommend the most competitive candidates be invited to take the proctored written skill assessment examination.  

    Applicants will be advised of the specific examination dates and location of the Diplomatic Security office where the test will be administered.  Travel to and from the examination site will be at the expense of the candidate.  On the examination date selected, the candidate must personally appear and take the written examination.  Applicants will be afforded 45 minutes to complete the examination.  The examination will be forwarded to Washington, DC, evaluated and scored.  The more competitive applicants will continue in the selection process by being invited to participate in the oral assessment/interview.

    Applicants who successfully complete the qualifications review and oral assessment must then undergo a thorough background investigation to determine eligibility for a security clearance, a suitability review, and a thorough medical examination prior to appointment to the Foreign Service.



    • An Associate's Degree in any electronics specialty
    • Vocational or Military training in any electronics specialty
    • Formal Job Related Classroom training equipment manufacturer's schools, etc.



    Applicants for this position must have a demonstrated ability to troubleshoot and repair electronic, electrical, and/or electro-mechanical systems and equipment, evidenced by work experience in this discipline for 3 years or more.



    • Desired areas of expertise include the following:  
    • Read, interpret, and draw electrical, electronic, and electro-mechanical schematic diagrams
    • Read, and interpret building plans (blueprints)
    • AC power distribution systems, motor-generators
    • Motors, motor controls, disconnects, relays
    • Low voltage DC electronic systems
    • Low voltage DC electro-mechanical systems
    • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems
    • Use, repair, and/or calibration of electronic test equipment meters, oscilloscopes
    • Bench repair of electronic, electrical, and electro-mechanical equipment to the component level
    • Mechanical and electro-mechanical locking systems electronic strikes, locks
    • Pedestrian and vehicular access control systems door controls, vehicle barriers/arrest
    • Closed Circuit Television systems (CCTV) systems monitors, cameras, switchers
    • Metal detectors hand held, walk through
    • Radio communications systems, voice and digital communications networks
    • Intrusion Detection Systems alarms, detectors, sensors
    • Public Address Systems emergency notification systems, intercoms



    Applicants may substitute educational achievements for specialized experience. Each time period of related formal post high school academic, technical, vocational, or trades school may be substituted for the equivalent time period of specialized experience up to a maximum of two years.



     Purpose:  The purpose of the Supplementary Questionnaire is to allow the applicant an opportunity to describe personal experiences and achievements that relate to the skills needed to accomplish the duties and tasks performed by STS personnel.  In addition, responses to the Supplementary Questionnaire are used to further evaluate the applicant's overall qualifications. 

    Instructions:  Using plain white paper and either a typewriter or a word processor, individually address each of the items listed below.  Responses must be limited to 100 words for each item and must be double-spaced. Type must be at least 10 pitch.  Font size must be at least 12 point. Examples can be drawn from any part of the applicant's experience, but must reflect the applicant's personal accomplishments.  Responses should be composed carefully.  One of the skills needed by a Security Technical Specialist is the ability to write clearly and concisely.


  • Personal Interests, Licenses, Certifications, Volunteer Activities
    • Indicate any hobbies, volunteer activities, licenses or certifications that are relevant to the Security Technical Specialist career.  Also, discuss any foreign travel experiences, if any, and how this experience relates to a personal desire to live and work abroad.

    • Technical Skills
    • Indicate any/all training and/or experience in EACH of the required AND desired specialized experience categories. If none, simply state such.

    • Interpersonal  and Communication Skills
    • Indicate any personal experiences in writing reports, giving oral presentations, and relating technical information to non-technical people.  Also describe personal experiences in working with a group to achieve common goals. 

  • Organizational Skills
    • Indicate personal experiences in organization and planning that relate to accomplishing a complex task with a deadline.  Examples of this might include a tough troubleshooting success, how a creative solution saved the day, or steps taken to reach a goal.



      The following materials are required for a complete application package:

      1.  The Application for Federal Employment, DS - 1950, and Employment Data Form (enclosed).

      2.  A typed (10 pitch or 12 point) autobiography, double spaced and no longer than two pages, that discusses: 

               a. Personal background, including interests and hobbies. 

               b. Motivation for joining the Foreign Service. 

               c. Motivation for becoming a Security Technical Specialist.

      3.  The completed Supplementary Questionnaire.

      4.  Official academic institution transcript(s) confirming award of degree(s).   A copy may be submitted pending issuance of the official documentation.

      5.  Certificates of completion of any formal but not degree educational experience that is related to the Security Technical Specialist career.  


    Submitted materials become the property of the Department of State and will not be returned.

    The application package must be postmarked no later than March 31, 1999 and addressed to

    US Mail deliveries

    Overnight or Federal Express deliveries

    US Department of State
    Application Evaluation Branch
    Attn.:  Security Technical Specialist 
    PO Box 9317
    Arlington, Virginia 22219-0317

     US Department of State
    Application Evaluation Branch
    Attn.: Security Technical Specialist
    1800 North Kent Street, Rm. 7501
    Rosslyn, VA 22209-0317

    For additional information please refer to our web site at www.state.gov.


    Applications, which are received through State's inter-office mail system or mailed in Government-franked envelopes, will not be processed.

    Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender.  In addition, as mandated by US Code 310, sons and daughters of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.


    The Department of State is committed to equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment for all without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, disabling condition, political affiliation, marital status, or prior statutory, constitutionally protected activity.

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