Foreign Affairs Specialist

U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
  • Experience
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Jun 24

Position description

This position is located within the Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation, NA-80, Office of Nuclear Threat Science, NA-82.  NA-82 is responsible for overseeing and coordinating nuclear device design-related assessment activities to ensure the full range of nuclear weapons physics knowledge, engineering, analysis, information, and technologies informs U.S. and international nuclear policies.

Learn more about this agency



As a Foreign Affairs Specialist, you will:

  • As a recognized senior technical authority/advisor, the employee leads interactions with other Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) components; U.S. interagency counterparts in the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, and Justice and the Intelligence Community; the National Security Council (NSC) staff; and foreign government personnel to implement programmatic goals and achieve White House-established objectives concerning nuclear counterterrorism.
  • Manages a portfolio of activities relating to reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism, including adversary efforts to obtain special nuclear material and nuclear weapon design information.
  • Leads strategic planning efforts for nuclear counterterrorism cooperation with the U.S. interagency and international partners, helping to ensure that the office’s strategic plan is integrated into NNSA strategies, goals, objectives, and work plans.
  • Develops national and international nuclear counterterrorism policies to ensure operational capabilities are effectively integrated in cooperation with other U.S. Government offices as a recognized technical authority.
  • Conducts briefings for senior U.S. Government officials (e.g., members of the Senior Executive Service and Administration political appointees both inside and outside of DOE/NNSA) to apprise them of the threat of nuclear terrorism and ensure support for relevant policies and programs within organizations.


Travel Required

25% or less - Travel for this position is required at least 25% of the time.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential

04 - The full promotion potential for this position is an EN-04.


Conditions of Employment


  • Subject to Random Drug Testing
  • Must pass a pre-employment drug test.
  • Favorable suitability determination required.
  • Financial Disclosure is required.
  • Must be able to obtain/maintain a Q level Security Clearance.


  • You must be a United States Citizen.
  • This employer participates in the e-Verify program.
  • Males must abide by Selective Service registration requirements.
  • Compliance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-12) governing personal identity which will require that you provide two forms of identification.
  • A two year trial period may be required.
  • More than one position may be filled from this vacancy announcement.




A qualified candidate's online application and resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower NNSA pay band or GS grade level in the Federal Service i.e., EN-03 or GS-13. Specialized experience for this position is defined as:  that which demonstrates mastery of each of the following: nuclear counterproliferation, nuclear counterterrorism, nuclear incident response, and other specific activities applicable to U.S. nuclear material and nuclear design information security policies. Examples of specialized experience: 

  1. Experience managing or leading technical international and domestic nuclear counterterrorism partner coordination projects and/or teams, especially as related to nuclear counterterrorism capability development and nuclear threat device information security.
  2. Experience that demonstrates mastery of U.S. foreign policies and government-to-government agreements between the United States and international partners, in order to implement and develop domestic and international nuclear incident response programs, best practices, and strategic messaging on nuclear incident preparedness and response and provide authoritative advice and guidance concerning these efforts.
  3. Experience working with U.S. Presidential policy development associated with international nuclear security, and domestic and international nuclear counterterrorism and counterproliferation cooperation in order to support the development and implementation of strategic projects or development of complex program work plans.
  4. Experience managing or leading technical international and domestic nuclear material security policies, especially as related to requirements for special nuclear material and nuclear material information security.

Your application and resume should demonstrate that you possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). Do not provide a separate narrative written statement. Rather, you must describe in your application how your past work experience demonstrates that you possess the KSAs identified below. Cite specific examples of employment or experience contained in your resume and describe how this experience has prepared you to successfully perform the duties of this position. DO NOT write "see resume" in your application!

  1. Mastery knowledge of and skill in applying advanced principles, practices, and methods concerning foreign affairs issues by interacting with NSC staff, including participating in Sub-Policy Coordination Committee meetings, executing NSC tasking in collaboration with other departments and agencies as a senior technical advisor, and managing deliverables to the White House sufficient to represent NNSA and have broad and long-range impact on various government agencies.
  2. Mastery knowledge of and skill in applying advanced principles, practices and methods of conducting technical and policy exchanges with foreign counterparts, including knowledge of relevant U.S. foreign policies and initiatives, government-to-government agreements and other arrangements between the United States and foreign governments, to advance U.S. Government nuclear security and nuclear counterterrorism objectives sufficient to represent NNSA and have broad and long range impact on various government agencies.
  3. Mastery knowledge of the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear materials commonly used in the civil nuclear sector, and associated domestic and international nuclear security standards sufficient to provide authoritative advice and guidance to top level management.
  4. Mastery knowledge of nuclear weapons design concepts and postulated improvised nuclear device design configurations sufficient to provide authoritative assessments across the entire threat spectrum.
  5. Ability to manage multiple project teams comprising GS-15-level participants from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, and Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Intelligence Community spanning disparate programs and involving highly classified technical information.
  6. Mastery knowledge of U.S. Government capabilities to respond to, characterize, and defeat a nuclear threat device to enable coordination and prioritization of nuclear threat science activities to address specific operational requirements.
  7. Ability to collaborate with senior U.S. Government officials to develop and execute long-range plans, goals, objectives, milestones, and resolution of issues that directly affect the accomplishment of principal goals and major mission critical programs and projects.
  8. Mastery knowledge of classification policies, particularly related to the Atomic Energy Act, compartmented programs within DOE, and other relevant U.S. laws and regulations sufficient to provide authoritative advice and guidance to top level management.
  9. Ability to develop policy and technical matters concerning nuclear counterproliferation, nuclear materials security, and nuclear counterterrorism.
  10. Mastery knowledge of the National Security Presidential Memorandum-4 process for national security policy development and decision making sufficient to provide authoritative advice and guidance to top-level management.
  11. Mastery knowledge of public messaging and how information promulgates across different public media and digital platforms, including mainstream news outlets, nongovernmental and academic publications, the blogosphere, and social media.
  12. Ability to develop superior written materials and deliver oral presentations to senior NNSA and other U.S. Government officials to advance DOE/NNSA positions and develop stakeholder consensus.

"Experience" refers to paid and unpaid experience. Examples of qualifying unpaid experience may include: volunteer work done through National Service programs (such as Peace Corps and AmeriCorps); as well as work for other community-based philanthropic and social organizations. Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills; and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. 

You must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

CTAP candidates: To be considered “well qualified” you must meet all of the requirements as described in this section.



***You must provide transcripts with your application in order to receive consideration for this position.***

EDUCATION: 0130 - Degree: major or equivalent, or a combination of courses totaling at least 24 semester hours, in international law and international relations, political science, economics, history, sociology, geography, social or cultural anthropology, law, statistics, or in the humanities; or 12 semester hours in one of the above disciplines and 12 semester hours in statistics/quantitative methods. ORCombination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major, or a combination of related courses totaling at least 24 semester hours, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. ORExperience: four years of appropriate experience in one or more of the fields listed above in work associated with international organizations, problems, or other aspects of foreign affairs.

Evaluation of Experience

Qualifying work experience may have been gained through residence, study, teaching, business or commercial activities, military service, newspaper work, military or civil government activities, missionary or international relief work, or other experience in foreign countries.

For positions at grades GS-12 and above, this experience must have included either (a) responsibility for the direction and coordination of research, analysis, or other professional work in one or more of the fields listed in A above, or (b) specialized professional work of a high level of difficulty and responsibility in one or more of these fields. This high level experience must have been in such specialized activities as (1) formulation of instructions and policy guidance for United States representatives in international organizations; (2) transport and communication involving knowledge of economic, political, and technical aspects of international aviation, shipping, inland transport, or radio, telephone, and telegraph, etc.; (3) cultural affairs involving formulation and operation of policy on large-scale international cultural exchange programs; (4) occupied area affairs involving problems of occupation of conquered or liberated countries, regions, or zones; or (5) other specialized international affairs such as analyzing public opinion and attitudes, evaluating specific conditions, trends, or forces in a foreign country, formulating policy on problems of petroleum resources or fisheries, etc., representing foreign interests, protecting American property or interests, arranging for conferences, or similar activities.

Education must be obtained from an accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside of the U.S. must have their foreign education evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that the foreign education is comparable to education received in accredited educational institutions in the U.S.  A written evaluation of any foreign education must be provided with your application in response to this vacancy announcement or be received by the closing date of this announcement.  Failure to provide this evaluation will result in you being found unqualified for the position. For special instructions pertaining to foreign education, see the Department of Education website, and for a list of organizations that can evaluate foreign education, visit The National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.

Application instructions

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