Strategic Communications and Policy Planning Assistant

Celestar Corporation
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Posted
    Aug 11

Position description

The Celestar Corporation has been issued an IMMEDIATE Task Order to provide support to the Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). As a result, we’re looking for a Strategic Communications and Policy Planning Assistant who will be seated in Bogota, Colombia. If interested and qualified, we welcome you to post for this challenging opportunity.

SECURITY CLEARANCE: Secret Level Clearance; must be within scope (10-Years) and appear in JPAS – the select candidate may be authorized to begin work with an interim Secret security clearance - You are also required to meet security requirements for the U.S. Embassy.

PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: One (1) Year from the Date of Assignment with the potential for Four (4) follow-on Option Years.

The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has program authority derived from the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (FAA). Under the FAA, INL is responsible for providing assistance to host governments to develop and implement effective counter narcotics, anticrime, and border control programs. 

INL is part of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J) within the Department of State (DOS). INL’s mission is to minimize the impact of international crime and illegal drugs on the United States and its citizens by providing effective foreign assistance and fostering global cooperation. 

The INL section at U.S. Embassy Bogota, established in 1985, is among the largest and most complex INL offices in the world. INL Bogota is charged with developing strategies and programs to achieve international narcotics control, law enforcement, and justice foreign policy objectives. 

INL Bogota’s Policy Unit provides policy and program coordination in order to clearly report on impacts and policy development related to INL equities, and responds to requests for information in a timely fashion. INL Bogota requires an INL Strategic Communications and Policy Planning Assistant (Assistant) with policy, drafting, and public affairs skills in addition to expertise in implementing strategic communications efforts. 

The Assistant will be a Celestar employee and will report to Celestar’s INL SME BPA Program Manager in Reston, Virginia.   The Assistant will work closely with the INL/Bogota Policy Chief and liaise and coordinate with INL Office of Western Hemisphere Programs (WHP) staff in Washington, DC. The INL Program Manager will serve as the day-to-day contact for the Assistant, initial time sheets, and approve all travel requests.  The Assistant is not under Chief of Mission (COM) authority; however, should situations resulting from the Assistant’s actions arise that are not in the interest of the United States, s/he can be terminated at COM or INL direction.

Hours for this full-time position will be the core hours of the US Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, Monday through Friday, 40 hours per week, 8 hours per day. 

This position is primarily located in Bogota, Colombia. However, it requires frequent work in the field in areas which may have high levels of criminal activity; therefore, the Advisor must adhere to safety restrictions as provided by local police and embassy personnel to avoid highly hazardous environments. The Advisor shall not be in possession of any firearm or use, transport or carry a firearm while on duty. Violators of these firearm prohibitions will have their contracts and all contractual support terminated immediately and will not receive any support from the U.S. Government or Celestar should legal actions be initiated against them. 

Regular travel to rural areas, small towns, and occasionally to large cities throughout Colombia is a requirement of this position. Many of these areas in Colombia are conflict zones where insurgent groups are based, criminal organizations operate, and crime is generally high. In addition, many of these areas in Colombia are tropical, with high temperatures, high humidity, tropical insects and diseases, and minimal infrastructure. Any travel outside of Colombia in support of counternarcotics and interdiction themes will be coordinated through the INL/Bogota leadership. Routine home to office travel and travel within a 25-mile radius of Bogota is exempted from reimbursement. Transportation related costs will be reimbursed in accordance with Celestar Policies and the Joint Federal Travel Regulations.

The Assistant is responsible for drafting regular and ad hoc reports and responses to Congressional inquiries, and assisting with public diplomacy programs.   S/he will work closely with the Embassy Public Affairs Section to identify, analyze, and summarize foreign news and public opinion trends in the country or region that relate to INL operations and Mission Colombia policy, programs and activities.

Duties and Responsibilities
The INL Assistant advises and assists the Policy Division Chief with the following: 

  • Coordinate and draft INL Bogota’s submission for all annual strategy/resource reports, such as the Mission Resource Request (MRR), Performance Plan and Report (PPR), Integrated Country Strategy (ICS), the Congressionally-mandated International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) and Major Drug Trafficking and Producing Countries list (Majors List)
  • Draft other regular and ad hoc reports, as requested, managing the extensive clearance process, and mastering any required software reporting systems
  • Work with the INL Management Officer to ensure that financial data is sufficiently incorporated into all reporting requirements
  • Assist with the Strategic Communications portfolio for INL Bogota, which communicates INL goals and accomplishments in our efforts to stop the flow of illegal drugs to the United States, restore security and rule of law, and implement justice system reforms
  • Assist with the coordination of international cooperation and training activities, as well as police training, specifically focusing on messaging concerning the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan
  • Track and coordinate various tasks, assignments, or requests for information from Washington or the Embassy Front Office to deliver quality written products and briefings on time
  • Work effectively under pressure, within short time constraints, and during times of rapidly developing events
  • Coordinate strategic messaging for media on behalf of all INL programs, in coordination with the Public Affairs Section at the Embassy and INL/PAPD
  • Research, develop, and maintain fact sheets for all INL Bogota programs. Oversees Strategic Communication “one pagers” to INL to ensure linkages between performance metrics and program outcomes
  • Provide advice and assistance in the preparation of weekly and monthly INL reports, responses to Congressional inquiries, press inquiries, and fulfillment of other reporting requirements
  • Support liaison efforts with the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs on policy issues
  • Support State Department, Congressional and other visiting officials as required
  • Maintain security awareness and properly handling classified and controlled items and information

Minimum Qualifications

  • U.S. Citizenship 
  • Bachelor Degree from an accredited U.S. institution AND demonstrated Six (6) Years of relevant experience
  • Demonstrated Four (4) Years related experience in the fields of public affairs, policy, political science, or journalism 
  • Demonstrated Three (3) Years of experience with bilateral or multilateral assistance programs.
  • Demonstrated experience in: 
    • Drafting reports/documents, annual budgets, and strategic plan submissions
    • Planning, strategizing, implementing and reporting on projects
    • Drafting analytical briefing papers, memoranda, letters, and reports for review and/or signature by senior-level officials and 
    • Coordinating and working closely with the Department of State, the Department of Defense, United Nations and/or international community on security sector development programs 
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with host-nation counterparts, departments, and ministries to further program objectives, in a timely and concise manner 
  • Demonstrated superior negotiating, interpersonal, and managerial skills 
  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written English (4/4) and Spanish (3/3) communication skills

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience in program planning, development and management, and foreign assistance
  • Demonstrated experience working in Colombia or other Latin American countries on law enforcement and counternarcotics
  • Demonstrated experience working directly for the Department of State
  • Final Secret Clearance

Application instructions

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