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.
Conditions of Employment
- Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
- Obtain a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) 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).***
A valid U.S. driver's license is required.
Applicants must be available for worldwide service, and be able to tolerate intensive world travel and at times living away from family and 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 Four Conditions of Diplomatic Security Employment section.
*With few exceptions, the SEO candidate and all immediate family members (spouse, parents, siblings, children, or cohabitants) must be citizens of the U.S. in order to qualify for SCI access. A candidate that already holds Top Secret, but does not hold SCI access, will require an upgrade to SCI before he or she can report for training or duty.
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.
Official or unofficial transcripts must be submitted with your application. You must submit transcripts that demonstrate you meet the required educational achievement in the Science, Physics, or Engineering fields.
Final acceptance will be predicated on receipt of the degree. Prior to appointment, applicants must provide proof of obtaining their degree by July 31, 2021. Your transcript must include your name, the school's name and the degree and date awarded. Submit evidence of licensure at time of application, if applicable.
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.
*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 FSS 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 FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an FSS 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 of its 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.
A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.
Benefits include health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and a chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include tax-free housing and tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.
Additional Salary Information
The beginning salary for a SEO is FP-6, step 14. The salary range listed is from the Foreign Service Overseas Pay scale ($75,218) and the Washington D.C. Pay scale ($81,570). The Department of State offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package. For information on FS Salary, please visit https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/foreign-service-salary-matching-pay-tables-danger-pay-overseas-moving-expenses-and-taxes
Review our benefits
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.