International Relations Specialist

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data & Information Service (NESDIS)
  • Location
    Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Mar 08

Position description

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a scientific agency within the US Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere. NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conducts research to provide understanding and improve stewardship of the environment.

The International & Interagency Affairs Division of NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data & Information Service (NESDIS) develops strategic and sustained partnerships that enable NESDIS to meet our Earth observation mission goals; advocates for full and open data sharing policies globally, supports the coordination of global Earth observations; and advances U.S. policy abroad. We also help partners in Less Developed Countries and Small Island States access and use Earth observation data and information to help make decisions to protect lives and promote sustainable development.

Want to combine your love of international affairs and space policy? As an International Relations Specialist, you will perform the following duties:
- Serve as a focal point for assigned countries, regions and/or organizations in coordination with the Division Director, Deputy Director and any team leads as appropriate, including negotiating and monitoring international and/or interagency agreements.
- Analyze and provide advice on implications for NESDIS partnerships, programs and goals of changes in partners' Earth observation policies and resources.
- Support NESDIS participation in NOAA and U.S. government international and/or intergovernmental science and technology efforts.
- Coordinate and consult with officials of other agencies and across NOAA to refine objectives, develop strategies, and coordinate negotiating tactics.
- Coordinate across NOAA and with other agencies, to prepare briefing materials and presentations for senior leadership, advise on protocol, and ensure timely preparation of reports.


This position will be filled under the DOC Alternative Personnel System (CAPS). This system replaced the Federal GS pay plan and structure. Under CAPS, positions are classified by career, pay plan, and pay band.

The ZA- 2 is equivalent to the GS-07/09

The ZA- 3 is equivalent to the GS-11/12.

* A one-year probationary period may be required.
* Payment of relocation expenses is not authorized.
* This position is not in the bargaining unit.
ZA-2- This position requires a Moderate-Risk Security Clearance.
ZA-3- This position requires a Moderate-Risk Security Clearance.

Key Requirements:

  1. Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
  2. Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  3. Must be suitable for Federal employment.
  4. Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (
  5. Qualifications requirements must be met by closing date of announcement.



Specialized Experience: Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level in the Federal Service. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. This experience need not have been in the federal government.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations e.g., professional; philanthropic, religious; spiritual; community, student, social). 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.

To qualify for the 0131 series:


A. 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.


B. Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major, or a combination of related courses totaling at least 24 semester hours, in one or more of the social sciences, or in the humanities, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


C. Experience: 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.


To qualify at the ZA-2 or GS-07 level:

ZA-2 SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZA-1 or GS-05 in the Federal service. Specialized Experience will must include ALL of the following:

  • Working with international partners;
  • Researching international policy;
  • Supporting planning international meetings; and
  • Writing clear and concise reports.


SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION: 1 year of graduate-level education or superior academic achievement. S.A.A. is based on (1) class standing, (2) grade-point average, or (3) honor society membership. Class standing -- Applicants must be in the upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Business Administration, based on completed courses. Grade-point average (G.P.A.) -- Applicants must have a grade-point average of: 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on their official transcript.


COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Combination of education and experience as described above.

To qualify at the ZA-3 or GS-11 level:
ZA-3 SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZA-2 or GS-09 in the Federal service. Specialized Experience will must include ALL of the following:

  • Assisting in development and implementation of international partnerships, including supporting negotiations, coordinating and tracking contributions, and drafting reports;
  • Monitoring international policies;
  • Supporting planning for international meetings including foreign visits and travel; and
  • Assisting in the development of policy positions and briefing materials.


SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION: 3 years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.


COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Combination of education and experience as described above.


College Transcript: If you are qualifying based on education, submit a copy of your college transcript that lists college courses detailing each course by the number and department (i.e., bio 101, math 210, etc.), course title, number of credit hours and grade earned. You must submit evidence that any education completed in a foreign institution is equivalent to U.S. education standards with your resume. You may submit an unofficial copy of the transcript at the initial phase of the application process. If course content cannot be easily identified from the title of the course as listed on your transcript, you must submit an official course description from the college/university that reflects the content at the time the course was taken.

Application instructions

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