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  • Any of the Dec 2020 applicants hear anything regarding OA invite?

    Comment


    • Vonsey
      Vonsey commented
      Editing a comment
      Nope. Just notified moved to QEP and been waiting patiently ever since. The timeline on the hiring process is discouragingly long but not much else to do. One silver lining, I applied before this last cycle and they notified me was out of the running fairly early.

  • Question for current Special Agents out there, particularly with DS.

    I want to become a well-read and informed Agent.

    Military Officers will often read military history to understand military strategy and read military memoirs and biographies to enhance their leadership skills.

    Are there books out there that will help me to become a better Agent? What books or kind of books should I be reading to build a better knowledge of Security in a Diplomatic environment? If I were a military officer, I'd know what books I'd need to be looking at but it doesn't seem so clear cut to me.

    Would it make sense to be reading books about say events such as Black September or Benghazi or The Beirut Bombings? Or would this be mostly fruitless to the profession?

    Any book recommendations would be great. I have read some books by DS Agents, but I'm wondering what else is out there.

    Thanks

    Comment


    • mdcudt
      mdcudt commented
      Editing a comment
      AFSA has a recommended reading list that is of general nature to the Foreign Service, which is a great place to start, especially when you consider that you’re being hired as a diplomat first. DS itself doesn’t have a formal reading list but the DSCLL does periodically upload published literature on various topics of interest to agents.

  • All- I recently accepted the offer to join the Sept 13 orientation for the DS SA position and I'm looking to meet some of my future colleagues. Are there any group chats set up yet or other ways to connect?

    I received the class invite on 6/30 and am still waiting on the final salary offer.

    Comment


    • Milan922
      Milan922 commented
      Editing a comment
      Congrats man Im in the same boat! Sometimes there are google groups for this sort of thing but I haven't seen anything of the like. PM me we can organize something.

  • Calculating your projected pay in the FS pay is complicated given all the different allowances. For all of those excel nerds, here is a really good break down of how all of the allowances are calculated:

    https://pathtoforeignservice.com/for...hensive-guide/

    This article does not address LEAP calculations and/or overtime which is more specific to DS.

    Enjoy!

    Comment


    • rellimgo
      rellimgo commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for sharing. How sizable could OT be for DS? Assuming you came in at FP6-4, so $60,695 (base in DC) + LEAP @25% ($15,174)=$75.9k. How much more would OT add to the total gross comp?

    • S/A Cupcake
      S/A Cupcake commented
      Editing a comment
      Unfortunately, as a DS agent the highest you can start is a stepped out FP-6. Assuming you are ambitious and volunteer for a TDY or two, you can expect a substantial amount of OT especially if you're at NYFO or WFO. I think it is a good bet if you're north of step 6 or so that you'd clear 100k your first full year after graduating BSAC. You earn no LEAP or OT during training.

    • Shadowtrain
      Shadowtrain commented
      Editing a comment
      rellimgo - OT will depend on your office and if you volunteer for things.
      Your first year isn't a good measurement due to the prolong training and other administrative items that come up. It's going to be CITP, BSAC, in the office for a hot few months, and then off to high threat.

      It's not unheard of for most agents to clear $100k their first year. Personally, my first year after training, I cleared over $100k, but it was mostly from raising my hand for a ton of different assignments and I was not at WFO/NYFO. Other junior agents in my office made about $80-90K and they avoided things.

    • Deathcrown
      Deathcrown commented
      Editing a comment
      Just a point of clarification; candidates do earn LEAP while in training (FLETC/BSAC) now. That change happened fairly recently, like in...2019, I believe.

  • Glad to say i am officially medically cleared! Received the email today.

    Comment


    • Anyone know if we can expect any more "moved to QEP" emails in the near future from this last announcement? Fingers crossed I'm still in the running. I know nothing's final till notified, but it's been pretty quiet since saying I've moved to minimum qualifications review.

      Comment


      • NYC1175
        NYC1175 commented
        Editing a comment
        I actually emailed them last week asking for an update. They said they will be letting applicants know whether or not they passed the QEP "within the next several weeks."

      • bondman007
        bondman007 commented
        Editing a comment
        So it sounds like the QEP list is set already, so they're not moving anyone else to it. Bummer

      • Vonsey
        Vonsey commented
        Editing a comment
        Don’t get too down. Someone here said they never heard back after online testing until invited for interview. Also, I applied before and they were pretty quick to let me know I out of the running. So keep the hope until you know for certain

    • I recently passed the OA and submitted my SF86. How will I know that my background investigation has started? Will it take 2 weeks or 2 months before I hear anything back?

      Thanks!

      Comment


      • Army101
        Army101 commented
        Editing a comment
        HR will get back to you about any corrections needed to be made or HR will email you saying all your documents were forwarded to PSS. PSS will open a file on you at that point.

    • Just kind of an FYI to those waiting on QEP...take it from a 2019 applicant informed of QEP pass in June 2020 and recently scheduled for OA...the road is a long one. Patience is key

      Comment


      • NYC1175
        NYC1175 commented
        Editing a comment
        I got the email that I was moved to QEP in May 2020. How long was it between your QEP email and the email scheduling the OA?

      • Sgaexec
        Sgaexec commented
        Editing a comment
        A little over a year. Factor in COVID delays, etc. But still... brace yourself. Especially if you chose outside WDC location for the OA.

    • Hey! anyone have their TS clearance reciprocity completed by DS? if you did, were you notified via email that your BI and clearance will be transferred or notified via the monthly update? thanks!

      Comment


      • Received the unfortunately i did not make the cut for QEP for 2020 announcement, although i passed OA in may 2021 from the 2019 announcement.

        Comment


        • bondman007
          bondman007 commented
          Editing a comment
          Sorry to hear. Did you just receive this email or in the last few days?

        • Army101
          Army101 commented
          Editing a comment
          Just got it this morning. Thanks, not the end of the world i already have a conditional offer from DSS from the 2019 announcement

        • bondman007
          bondman007 commented
          Editing a comment
          Gotcha. I would imagine it's like you said it's because youre already in the process for the 2019 announcement.

          I only ask because I'm still holding out hope that I'll make it to QEP for the 2020 announcement

        • Army101
          Army101 commented
          Editing a comment
          Well you can make it through multiple times, i guess i just didnt sell myself enough this time around. Just gotta get on through the pre employment steps and get on the registry.

      • Just passed QEP. Oral Assessments begin in September according to the email.

        Comment


        • Vonsey
          Vonsey commented
          Editing a comment
          Congrats!

          I'm also now afraid to look at my email...

        • NYC1175
          NYC1175 commented
          Editing a comment
          Vonsey thanks!

        • Army101
          Army101 commented
          Editing a comment
          Congrats! Focus on learning about yourself for the OA, im pending the last couple of steps. I will apply to the 2021 announcement if they have it just in case i dont get hired off the registry when i make it. Im optimistic i will get hired when i get on the registry though

      • Could active agents articulate for me the culture within DS. For example, I'm sure there are a lot of former military law enforcement types. I'm former Military myself. What culture or mindset predominates the organization? Is there a trend to where it skews towards behavior a Diplomat might conduct themselves with or is there a trend of former door kickers trying to bring a military feel to the culture? I imagine that professionalism is set to a very high standard, which I want, that mindset attracts me. Or is DS segmented where certain departments or sections have one culture and another section has their own?

        Overseas or at Field Offices who tends to drive the shaping of the culture in their own specific organizations? Is it the RSO and the standards and culture they try to shape or is the Chief of Mission etc etc.

        Interested in thoughts from Agents out there. Thank you.

        Comment


        • Here is another book written by a DSS agent just got published in Feb 2021. Getting it today to read. Just thought I would post it here.

          https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...t_b_prod_image

          Comment


          • Originally posted by jpatriot88 View Post
            Could active agents articulate for me the culture within DS. For example, I'm sure there are a lot of former military law enforcement types. I'm former Military myself. What culture or mindset predominates the organization? Is there a trend to where it skews towards behavior a Diplomat might conduct themselves with or is there a trend of former door kickers trying to bring a military feel to the culture? I imagine that professionalism is set to a very high standard, which I want, that mindset attracts me. Or is DS segmented where certain departments or sections have one culture and another section has their own?

            Overseas or at Field Offices who tends to drive the shaping of the culture in their own specific organizations? Is it the RSO and the standards and culture they try to shape or is the Chief of Mission etc etc.

            Interested in thoughts from Agents out there. Thank you.
            At the field office the SAC. I noticed at my field office the 1811s really helped guide culture, operations, and morale. Again SACs are there for 2 or 3 years then move on. 1811 agents are really important to the continuity of operations and maintaining contacts and relationships for investigations and protection/UNGA.

            At embassies/consulates it should be the Ambo/Charge D’affaires/Consulate General. There are sometimes competing egos from section heads.

            I noticed DS agents break down into for LE, Military, lawyers, and other. Most agents are collegial and professional and are first and foremost diplomats. They need to be able to verbally communicate and know local customs and protocol. I have been in meetings with host nation counterparts and some of the DOD folks did not have the political savviness and acumen to guide the meeting. DS folk came off more professional and more welcomed but it comes with the nature of the job.

            I don’t think the type A culture dominates DSS and those that act like that outwardly are looked at differently by the majority of agents. DSS agents are very team oriented (have to be during coordination and protection) and should have a team first attitude even on the first day of BSAC.

            I remember seeing a comment a page or two ago about someone maxing their pt scores and that they should be higher priority to be hired over someone who doesn’t. Even the lowest scores are competitive and if you go into this career with that attitude you are going to have a bad time.

            Comment


            • Shadowtrain
              Shadowtrain commented
              Editing a comment
              +1 to everything DSS2501 posted.
              Teamwork is a major part of this position along with the ability to be flexible. Protection details, cases, and overseas work... you have to be able to pivot when things come up and work together.

          • Thanks for sharing that information. Good stuff.

            Comment


            • DSS2501
              DSS2501 commented
              Editing a comment
              No problem!

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