Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

bureau of diplomatic security-opening

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Looks like the post-QEP process is a little different this time than last. Last time, I believe that anyone who passed the QEP was invited to the OA. This time, it seems that invites are going out in groups based on a possible QEP ranking. The earliest invites included choices across an entire week, while the later ones were given choices across a couple days. And the invite email stated that it’s a first come first serve basis for the OA slots, which I imagine is their way of narrowing the QEP pool even more.
    Last edited by Co0311; 05-06-2019, 06:27 PM.

    Comment


    • r0802l
      r0802l commented
      Editing a comment
      Where did you get this information from? Have a lot of invites been going out? I have only seen a few so far on this forum.

    • Co0311
      Co0311 commented
      Editing a comment
      That's just based on the interview invites that a friend and I received for the same testing location. And I might be wrong about the December 2016 opening, but the QEP was added that year, according to those who applied in 2015.

  • I got my invite two weeks ago to test out of Philly in July. Before that they sent two or three “congrats you are deemed qualified” emails before they sent an invite.

    Comment


    • I just got my date confirmed for Philly in July. If our BEX dates have us overlap, would you like to meet in Philly?

      Comment


      • I received my locked bex date for the end of June. What are y’all using to prepare?

        Comment


        • Co0311
          Co0311 commented
          Editing a comment
          Did you receive an OA Information Guide?

        • DSS-SA
          DSS-SA commented
          Editing a comment
          There is a wealth of information throughout this forum. Have you tried to search and look for previous recommendations from agents and fellow applicants?

      • Successfully completed another BEX - will be taking the job this time.

        On a side note, HR confirmed that your score on the PRT doesn't impact your ranking on the register - it's pass/fail. They specifically said "Don't burn yourself out on each category, because you only need to achieve the minimums." Your score is determined at the BEX.

        They did, however, stress that you needed to adhere to the specific ways of performing exercises for the PRT.
        JAN 08 - Online assesment
        MAR 08 - BEX/COE
        JUN 08 - FOE/Deferral

        OCT 18 - Online assessment
        MAY 19 - BEX/COE

        Comment


        • r0802l
          r0802l commented
          Editing a comment
          Congrats! What city did you BEX in? Last email I got was over 2 months ago saying I passed QEP...no BEX date yet.

        • Thriller
          Thriller commented
          Editing a comment
          Dang 10 years later....awesome job

        • CavLT
          CavLT commented
          Editing a comment
          I BEXed in DC.

          And yeah, 10 years apart with 3 sets of conditional offers (the last two got derailed by life). I'll be good to go this time!

      • Just received my dates for BEX. I was given a few days and times to choose from towards the end of July. Location is Greensboro, NC.
        Last edited by r0802l; 05-14-2019, 09:58 AM.

        Comment


        • blok2400
          blok2400 commented
          Editing a comment
          I’m in Florida so maybe they will keep working their way south

        • Lovetocamp
          Lovetocamp commented
          Editing a comment
          Aww my old hometown . Looks like they're moving from the very top of the east coast down to the bottom. It'll be a while before they hit Texas then.

        • darkriver
          darkriver commented
          Editing a comment
          Lovetocamp, I'm also in TX and have not yet received anything. Any updates on your end?

      • Could I get an invite for the Google group? Just made it on to the register

        Comment


        • SPkid
          SPkid commented
          Editing a comment
          ..........
          Last edited by SPkid; 05-27-2019, 05:26 PM.

      • Ok, granted my profile is out of date. I can't even remember when I first registered for the forum; and yes at one time I was a student in California but I've been working as an 1811 for a bit now. But hey your sandbox you can invite whoever you want. Don't worry about it, forget I asked. I'm too old for weird internet drama

        Comment


        • Co0311
          Co0311 commented
          Editing a comment
          Also, was your OA from the December 2016 opening? Any thoughts on why you process took this long? One guy who was placed on the register last December mentioned that his medical paperwork was stopped for some reason and he had to call to restart that process.
          Last edited by Co0311; 05-27-2019, 08:46 PM.

        • SPkid
          SPkid commented
          Editing a comment
          ..........
          Last edited by SPkid; 05-27-2019, 11:13 PM.

        • dojooh
          dojooh commented
          Editing a comment
          No hard feelings, thanks for the DM

      • Co0311, you're probably right.

        Actually, I'm on the most recent opening from October 2018. My process has been impressively fast, beyond any expectation that I had. I'm sure receiving reciprocity for my current clearance helped

        Comment


        • dojooh
          dojooh commented
          Editing a comment
          Yea, the stars definitely aligned for me. It was a long wait until the BEX but after that everything started zipping right along

        • CavLT
          CavLT commented
          Editing a comment
          If your clearance was adjudicated within the last two years they can request a re-validation, which is almost instantaneous. When I first applied in 2009, my clearance turned around much faster than I thought it would for this reason (my TS with the Army was only about 6 months old). This actually ended up working against me.

          This go round, I am in the middle of my five year periodic reinvestigation and the request for re-validation was denied. So basically I am waiting for the process to be completed now even though I have an active TS/SCI with DoS.

        • r0802l
          r0802l commented
          Editing a comment
          When did you BEX?

        • dojooh
          dojooh commented
          Editing a comment
          Did the BEX in April

      • Just received my BEX notice for Miami. Excited to go through the process.

        Comment


        • blok2400
          blok2400 commented
          Editing a comment
          I’m near Jacksonville maybe I’ll hear something soon then.

        • Lovetocamp
          Lovetocamp commented
          Editing a comment
          Seems like they were making their way down the east coast. Hopefully they get to Texas soon...

      • How does the Foreign Service retirement system compared to FERS? If you are with FERS and get hired on with DS, does the time count? Or do you start from scratch with the Foreign Service retirement system?

        Comment


        • Deathcrown
          Deathcrown commented
          Editing a comment
          Ah, I see now. The age <37 threw me off but I guess that requirement is due to there also being CS 1811 DS Agents. Thank you for the correction.

        • DaringAdventure
          DaringAdventure commented
          Editing a comment
          Deathcrown, Civil Service DS agents are covered under FERS, though, and not FSPS.

          Hangman (and others who are looking to apply to the Foreign Service DS special agent position, but who have previous federal service covered under FERS and are interested to know how this previous FERS service would transfer), I wanted to be more specific about the transfer to FSPS and provide an example.

          Let's say a new Foreign Service (FS) DS agent is hired, and that new agent has previous federal service (including perhaps with the Peace Corps, as this applies to previous Peace Corps service, as well) that was covered under FERS.

          The new Foreign Service DS agent, once hired, would now be covered under FSPS. Previous federal employment would transfer into FSPS as per the FSPS "Credit for Service" policy, found here:

          https://rnet.state.gov/cri2.htm#B

          Let's say the new FS DS agent had five years of previous employment under FERS. The typical FERS high-three multiplier is 1%. This means that, as they were working for five years under FERS in their previous job, they were accruing five years in a retirement system that would ultimately have a 1% high-three multiplier.

          However, when they transfer into FSPS, those five years of FERS service are transferred in to FSPS and are then treated as having been five years with FSPS, rather than five years with FERS. Going forward, if the new FS DS agent works another 15 years with DS in a FS position, then they will have accrued twenty years of service in FSPS, and these twenty years will all be treated as having a 1.7% high-three multiplier (even though technically five of those twenty years were worked in a FERS position that itself had a 1% multiplier).

          The upshot here is that anyone (new FSOs, DS, etc.) who transfers into the Foreign Service and thus FSPS gets to have their previous FERS service converted to time with a 1.7% high-three multiplier, rather than having it stay as time with a 1% multiplier. This makes transferring into the Foreign Service a very sound financial decision for those with previous FERS service, as your retirement benefits would be a bit less than double moving forward.

          Let's say the FS DS agent continues working in a FS DS role past the twenty year mark (because they want to/they haven't hit age 65/they haven't TICed out in their current pay grade/etc.). From then on, all service past twenty years will have a 1% multiplier, as the 1.7% multiplier only applies to the first twenty years of FSPS service. When computing a retirement benefit, the first twenty years of service would be computed with the high-three salary and a 1.7% multiplier, and the remaining years of service would be computed with the high-three salary and a 1% multiplier.

          _______

          I am happy to do my best to answer questions such as these and others. My husband and I have now done something like eleven years with him in a FS DS position. We have been posted domestically (Houston Field Office and a DC Headquarters tour) and overseas (Azerbaijan, Japan, and China). Our two sons were in middle school and high school when we first came into DS; they are now both in college in the US. My sons attended more schools than I can count between when we joined the FS and when they finished high school.

          We have seen the positives and negatives of this job, and I am happy to share what I know about pay and benefits, bidding**, EERs, what the job is like for the employee, what the job is like for the spouse/family, the pros and cons of this job as it relates to the family, moving yourselves and your pets, how the job can impact you and your family both positively and negatively from a personal and career perspective, etc.

          From a federal law enforcement position perspective, this is, in my opinion, the best job out there (for the employee). Any agency could come knocking on my husband's door (in real life this won't happen, of course, as one must apply for these types of positions, as you all well know) and he would laugh. He wouldn't even consider switching.

          From the perspective of family members, this can be a very difficult life for some and a good experience for others. If your spouse enjoys being employed, well...spousal employment is very difficult with DS (it's easier for spouses of FSOs, but not hugely so). I'm happy to discuss that, as well, because it can be a MAJOR factor with spouses. My husband and I are very happily married, however, I think it's good for applicants to be aware that this job can be very stressful on marriages. Some of our closest friends have left DS (or gotten divorced) because this job can be tough on the spouse and children. Again, some families do quite well with it all, and others struggle. Many of the issues can be mitigated, however, by the employee doing as much time as possible in DC, and this can be a sound choice for families that want/need more stability.

          **Mercifully, I cannot answer questions about and know almost nothing of ELSPEC bidding (not sure I even used the proper spelling of that), which is a form of directed bidding for first and second tour DS agents (I think- again, I know almost nothing of ELSPEC bidding). We were hired on way before that started, thank heavens.

        • Kmiech
          Kmiech commented
          Editing a comment
          @DaringAdventure
          You said this is the best federal agency out there. I would like to know why you feel that way. What does your husband like so much about the service? What are the pros and cons of the work we will be doing?

        • DaringAdventure
          DaringAdventure commented
          Editing a comment
          Kmiech, that's a fantastic question. I'll do my best to answer. Obviously, my answer and opinions will be totally different from what other people might think, though. As I said, we've known a ton of people who have left DS for various reasons...and we're still here .

          I would say that, by far and away, the biggest professional positive to being with DS is the sheer volume of different types of jobs (and locations!) one can bid on and the fact that you can change jobs frequently and do so many different things. You can work domestically or overseas, you can work different jobs in both, you can work protection, you can work investigations, you can work different types of investigations jobs, you can work in high threat posts, you can work as a desk officer, you can do so many things I'd have to literally pull up a bid list just to try to remember all of the choices.

          Sick of working consulate/embassy ARSO/ARSO-I jobs? No problem. Bid on a field office, bid on one of zillions of DC assignments, bid on MSD (they would thank you!), bid on SD (they would thank you, too!).

          With DC jobs, the variety is nearly endless. So many different types of jobs doing so many different things that, again, I'd need a bid list in front of me to remember them all. I think the huge variety of opportunities would be impossible for my husband to give up.

          It's also lovely to know that, if you're stuck with a subpar supervisor or you don't really end up liking the assignment you're in, well, likely you won't work with them/do that assignment for very long. You certainly don't have to literally apply for another job/switch agencies in order to escape.

          If you thoroughly despise a job/assignment, you can bid on a NOW spot or even attempt to curtail. My husband has pulled NOW jobs off the bid list before. We haven't curtailed from anything, but we know people who have. Again, flexibility. It's huge.

          It's also really wonderful to be able to do so many different things professionally. You really have an opportunity to try to focus on the types of things you enjoy. My husband has done several overseas, accompanied tours. Others have concentrated more on unaccompanied, high threat tours. Some folks have thrown in getting master's degrees (a one year tour). Yes, the bidding process can be difficult and frustrating for sure sometimes, and you WILL NOT get what you want typically, but it really is nice to have choices, both geographically and professionally. Different assignments require different personal and professional skills from you in order to be really successful at them, which enhances your skill set professionally. You're never professionally stagnating, or if you are, it's not for very long.

          The pros and cons of the work...hmmm...

          Again, that's difficult to answer because there are so many different assignments. For my husband, the pros of being overseas at embassies and consulates include that you work with so many different FS (political, consular, public diplomacy, economic, etc.) and other agency folks that the job is extremely interesting and you're definitely working toward a goal that is admirable and rewarding. Some folks can make more money and thus save more money when they work overseas assignments. Working overseas tends to help more toward promotions. Your children can attend international schools, paid for by State, many of which are stellar. You meet what feels like everyone in the world. You can oftentimes travel. You rack up THE MOST INCREDIBLE stories, for real. Sometimes you literally cannot believe you're doing what you're doing. Who gets to do this stuff??

          The cons of overseas assignments include that sometimes you can get tired of being looked at as the killjoy (no, you CANNOT take the Ambassador to the dangerous photo op in a war zone, sorry!) or you get tired of dealing with your people not behaving well overseas, which ends up being your problem (no, you CANNOT use your local staff to facilitate your hiring of prostitutes, sorry! Bye!). You also may be in a country with subpar medical care, dangerous threats to your people and structures that are both your professional problem and not (ebola), maybe a lack of food, abysmal infrastructure, a guard staff ready to strike because of pay issues, in-country law enforcement that works only on the basis of grift (which you cannot pander to, even if that's literally the only way they will get things done or help you)...all manner of things. If you're adding in a spouse who cannot work because there are no jobs at the mission and/or no bilateral work agreement, rampant air pollution that makes you and your family ill, and a child who hates the international school at post, well...

          Pros to working domestically include, as I've said, so many different types of assignments in DC that I cannot list them all. There are also tons of field offices all over the US. Domestic assignments tend to be two years in length, though some can be one and MSD is, I think, three. Most DC assignments do not include your having to be responsible for the safety of/behavior of a huge amount of people/facilities at an overseas post, and trust me - that can be nice.

          The cons of domestic assignments is that many domestic jobs can be bodysnatch/you have less control over your day to day activities than when you're overseas/they need any warm body and guess what, today it's yours/good luck getting any time off/hope you like working at a desk type jobs. Money also can be much tighter domestically because your housing and utilities are, of course, your problem.

          DS is absolutely chock full of so many different professional opportunities that I cannot list even a tiny fraction of them. We are friends with folks in the Secret Service, FBI, etc. My husband wouldn't even think of trading places with them.

      • Evening,

        So I have never gone through a security or medical clearance (aside from TSA and the med clearance we had for Peace Corps) but those are small compared to DSS. With this in mind, I have one question about the process. Do you need to be in the US to complete both of these clearances or can you still work abroad while waiting for your clearances? I haven't gone through my BEX, yet, but I want to know the answer so I can make plans for my life after Peace Corps. I would prefer to continue working abroad until I can complete all the clearances but I don't know if this would be possible and just want some information before I make any further plans. Thanks.

        Comment


        • CavLT
          CavLT commented
          Editing a comment
          No, I am currently posted overseas and just knocked out the med clearance. You just go to local doctors to complete the process (I used our doctor at the Consulate for a lot, but still had to get referred to local doctors for some stuff). You are provided with instructions on how to get reimbursed.

          Security clearance is much the same; you get a link to fill out your SF-86 online and then PSS will run through the entire process. For friends that are posted elsewhere who listed me as a reference I have just had to skype with the investigators, or the local A/RSOs schedule meetings.

        • Co0311
          Co0311 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the info Cav. I'll be taking off a few months after my OA and if I'm selected, I was wondering if I'd have to fly back for background/ medical processes.

          Any privacy/ security issues with accessing your SF-86 on the local internet network? Also, did local medical facilities have access to equipment for the EKG stress test? I'll be going to Eastern Europe and they might not have that tech. But, I imagine I can go to the embassy medical office if that's the case.

        • CavLT
          CavLT commented
          Editing a comment
          Let's be honest, OPM had a massive breach and all of that info is out there anyways. No issues at all submitting your clearance info via internet.

          EKGs are pretty standard in any cardiologist's office - not so much in an Embassy med unit.

      • Good afternoon,

        Wanted to thank everyone on this forum for providing so much usual information. I have a few questions I was hoping to have answered. (I see the suggestion of using “search” to find answers but I don’t seem that as a function of this forum discussion”

        I recently passed BEX out of Rosslyn with a score of 6.15, any idea of where on the register that would put me once I am placed on it. I understand this is a long road and I’m ready for that but I am curious if anyone has a break down on where scores place them.

        OCT 18: Online Assessment
        May 19: BEX/COE

        1. Does anyone know if we receive locality and LEAP pay while at FLETC? Or is it only base pay until after graduation from FLETC.

        2. When negotiating starting salary does non federal employment salary count? I have seen that if you have a federal salary higher than the class 6-14 overseas comparability that you will start as a step 6-14 but I’m a contractor not a federal employee and was wondering if my salary is considered my salary matching?

        3. Does salary matching including the additional LEAP. For example if my salary is more than the 72k overseas comparability for 6-14, do you then have to add the additional 25% for LEAP to the base 60k for 6-14 (15k) and therefore have to be earning a salary of 87k or above to qualify for a starting rate of 6-14?

        Comment


        • Lovetocamp
          Lovetocamp commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm not a DSS agent but here's my experience from FLETC with another agency and pay.

          1. You will not get locality pay while at the academy.
          2. Won't be considered as a contractor. You'll start out based on what they qualified you as. Only previous Fed LEOs or other GS positions if it was higher than what you're starting out at now, you'll just be matched with a temporary step increase, until after the academy and you'll go back to your old GS pay grade or agency equivalent.
          3. What?

        • DaringAdventure
          DaringAdventure commented
          Editing a comment
          1.) I did a search on this forum (on my browser, there's a search box for this forum toward the top of the page) for "locality leap fletc" because it's been so long since my husband was in training that I couldn't recall how he was paid during that time. My search returned the following results, which are quite helpful. I hope I linked to them correctly here:

          https://forum.officer.com/forum/empl...20leap%20fletc

          The consensus seems to be that, at flag day, you will be assigned an onward duty station. You will then be making that post's locality pay during training at FLETC. You will not receive LEAP until you graduate.

          I haven't been able to locate a 2019 Foreign Service Salary Table, but I will link to the 2018 table here:

          https://www.state.gov/wp-content/upl...Localities.pdf

          The very first salary table is the "Base Schedule." This, in its 2019 format (which would include the raise granted to federal employees in 2019 - the 2018 tables do not), is what would be used for any salary matching purposes.

          The next salary table is the "Overseas Comparability Pay" table. This is, in effect, the base salary table plus the current overseas comparability pay rate, which is the effective locality pay for people who are at overseas posts. Until a DS agent is posted overseas, this table does not apply to them.

          The following tables are the tables for various domestic locations. They reflect the base salary plus that location's locality pay.

          For a good snapshot of what one's Foreign Service pay could look like at domestic (or even international) posts, you could utilize the Foreign Service Bidding Tools calculators:

          http://calculators.fsbiddingtools.com/calculators.html

          The one most applicable to the topic of pay is the paycheck calculator:

          http://calculators.fsbiddingtools.com/paycheck.html

          A large portion of the boxes for the paycheck calculator will not be applicable to you until you go overseas; others will never be applicable to you. However, this calculator does include the option of selecting domestic assignments, and does allow you to manually input your LEAP multiplier (25%) under "Special Pay Adjustment 1 Rate." (But, as stated before, I don't believe a new FS DS agent will receive LEAP until training is completed.)

          So let's say you're a new FS DS agent who is coming in at FS-06 step 1. On the paycheck calculator, you would choose "Your FS grade" = 6, "Your FS grade step" = 1, you would only ever enter 1 for family size until you go overseas (sometimes your pay overseas is greater if you have more family members with you at post, but you can ignore that domestically, so just put 1), and then your location would be whatever domestic office you're assigned to on flag day. If you select Washington DC as your location because you've been posted to WFO, you end up with a gross salary of $53,126.

          You can then go back up to "Special Pay Adjustment 1 Rate" and enter 25 to see the results of adding your 25% LEAP pay: a $66,407 gross income. You will, of course, more than likely also end up with overtime, Sunday pay, night differential**, per diem during travels, etc., on top of this, but this gives you an idea of what your base salary + your DC locality + your LEAP will give you as a starting point.

          Now you can change your entries and see what your base + locality + LEAP will look like when you move from FS-06 step 1 to FS-05 step 1, and then FS-04 step 1 thereafter. (Mentally) add that you will more than likely also sometimes end up with overtime/holiday pay/Sunday differential/night differential/**per diem during travel - you get the drift.

          2.) Starting salary is determined by a large variety of factors. You may find that you will be offered higher than FS-06 step 1, but I don't know that any of us has the ability to help you estimate which step you might come in at. I certainly would never attempt to do so over the internet.

          That said, those who come in at FS-06 step 1 and FS-06 step 14 won't be too far away from each other come FS-03. Add in that the FS-06 step 1 agent may end up somewhere like Houston with a very healthy locality pay, and the other could end up in a place with far less locality pay, and you have even closer pay equality.

          It sounds like your current salary might potentially be between $72,000-$87,000 per year. If so, if you toy around with the pay calculator, above, you will see that you will begin making up your pay very, very soon into your career with DS...and then you will greatly surpass it, complete with the Foreign Service Pension System, the TSP, etc.

          3.) When starting salary is considered, only base pay (aka "Base Schedule" on the Foreign Service salary tables that I linked to above) - not locality or LEAP - is at issue. Your locality is only based on where you are assigned, and LEAP, I believe, is calculated on top of base + locality. The upshot of this is that the higher the locality rate where you are, the higher the LEAP multiplier is worth.

          Just as an aside, please note that when you elect your TSP contribution, if you elect it as a percentage of your salary rather than as a specific sum (beatings with wet noodles for every single one of you that doesn't at least elect 5% of your salary in order to fully capture the government's matching contributions on your behalf), that percentage is only based on your base salary + your locality pay for your location + LEAP.

          This means that if you are domestic and you have a pay period filled with all manner of extra goodies such as overtime, Sunday pay, night differential, etc., none of that will be used to calculate that pay period's TSP contribution. It's the same way overseas...when you're overseas, your TSP percentage you elect (if you use a percentage of pay rather than a particular sum) will only be based on your base pay, overseas comparability pay (the overseas equivalent of locality pay) and LEAP. It will never be based on danger pay, post differential, COLA, language incentive pay, etc.

          _______________

          ** You can get an idea of the rates of pay for these by looking here:

          https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-over...-rates-of-pay/

      • You will receive locality pay while at FLETC. You will not receive LEAP until completing BSAC.
        Last edited by Deathcrown; 06-05-2019, 06:44 PM.

        Comment


        • Just got my BEX notice for the NYC area. Dates are mid-August.

          Comment


          • Kmiech
            Kmiech commented
            Editing a comment
            Through email? I may be getting mine soon as well then.

          • FLE Candidate
            FLE Candidate commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, it came in early this afternoon.

        MR300x250 Tablet

        Collapse

        What's Going On

        Collapse

        There are currently 13791 users online. 470 members and 13321 guests.

        Most users ever online was 26,947 at 08:36 PM on 12-29-2019.

        Welcome Ad

        Collapse
        Working...
        X