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Vacancy Details


Announcement Number:
Hiring Agency:
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
Position Title:
External Affairs Specialist (External Affairs Officer)
Open Period:
06/09/2017 - 06/26/2017


This vacancy is limited to a certain number of applicants and may close before the close date listed here if that limit is reached.
AD - 0301 05
(USD) $112,028 - (USD) $124,110
Promotion Potential:
Duty Location(s):
Herndon, VA, US
For More Info:
Jessica Willard


Who May Apply:
This announcement will close at 11:59 pm EST on Monday June 26, 2017 OR at 11:59 pm EST on the date the 200th application is received, whichever comes first.
Security Clearance Required:
Public Trust - Background Investigation
Duration Appointment:
Temporary - Not to Exceed 4 Years
Marketing Statement:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling on those who want to help protect American interests and secure our Nation. DHS Components work collectively to prevent terrorism; secure borders and our transportation systems; protect the President and other dignitaries; enforce and administer immigration laws; safeguard cyberspace; and ensure resilience to disasters. We achieve these vital missions through a diverse workforce spanning hundreds of occupations. Make an impact; join DHS.

When disaster strikes, America looks to FEMA. Now FEMA looks to you. Join our team and use your talent to support Americans in their times of greatest need. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prepares the nation for all hazards and manages Federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. We foster innovation, reward performance and creativity, and provide challenges on a routine basis with a well-skilled, knowledgeable, high performance workforce. Please visit for additional information.

This position is located on a Type I, National Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) in the Office of Response and Recovery and starts at a salary of $112,028 to $124,110; however based on performance, the maximum salary possible over the 4-year appointment is $161,900.  Apply for this exciting opportunity to become a member of the National IMAT East team within FEMA.

EMERGENCY ASSIGNMENT:  IMAT employees are subject to a 24-hour on call work schedules in the event of an emergency and be willing to be relocated to emergency sites with little notice.  The teams deploy as soon as notified to respond and are on the scene within 12 hours.  Once on scene, the teams operate and function under intense physical and mental stress until the response mission is accomplished.  This service will require irregular and/or long working hours which may be under austere environments that include living and working in temporary facilities such as tents, warehouse, or other expediently established facilities, significant damage to critical infrastructure that prevents ready access to potable water (other than for drinking), other than basic medical care, and other routinely available services.  Work may include duties other than those specified in the employee’s official position description to include performance of manual labor to support the establishment of team facilitated, subsistence of team members, and distribution of commodities to incident survivors; and may involve some physical exertion including activities such as long periods of standing; walking over rough, uneven, or rocky surfaces; recurring bending, stooping, stretching, reaching, or similar activities; carrying and lifting of moderately heavy items (up to 50 pounds).

This is a temporary appointment in the Excepted service, not to exceed 4 years in duration. Veterans’ preference does not apply to the IMAT program selection process.

Supervisory Position:
Relocation Authorized:

A relocation bonus may be authorized.
NOTE: Relocation must be requested upon receipt of tentative offer.

Travel Required:
50% or less

IMAT members will deploy to emergency sites.
Non-emergency travel may be required.

Conditions of Employment:

You must be a U.S. citizen to be considered for this position. You must successfully pass a background investigation. Travel will be required. You must be able to obtain and maintain a Government credit card. Selective service registration is required for males born after 12/31/59. Please review "Other Information" section for additional key requirements.


When deployed, the External Affairs Officer reports to the Federal Coordinating Official (FCO) and manages all external affairs elements under the strategic guidance of the ESF-15 Operations Director and in accordance with the established ESF-15 standard operating procedures. Typically duties may include:

  • Establishing and maintaining mutual communication among federal, state, local, tribal and territorial authorities.
  • Coordinates with the DHS National Joint Information Center and communications resources from other participating agencies, political offices, and private concerns.
  • Works with external affairs specialists at all levels of government, as well as with appropriate representatives in private organizations to implement effective plans and policies.
  • Establish work assignments, monitor and evaluate performance and set priorities for subordinates that are qualified to perform assigned positions.
  • Direct and oversee public information, congressional, intergovernmental, private sector, and community engagement programs as well as development and release of incident information.
  • Monitor reports from various sources to identify emerging potential external affairs issues.
  • Review communications products, including social media outreach, for publication or release.
  • Provide communications counsel and strategic advice to the FCO and Command and General Staff.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for FEMA in responding to media inquiries from national, regional and local media; providing information to broadcast, print and online reporters on controversial or sensitive topics related to the disaster.
  • Through ESF-15 Concept of Operations, participate in all relevant National Incident Communication Conference Line (NICCL), State Incident Communication Conference Line (SICCL) and Private Sector Incident Communication Conference Line (PICCL) calls.
When not deployed, during steady state, the incumbent reports to the IMAT Team Leader and will work in full coordination with FEMA HQ and National External Affairs leadership to:
  • Participate in weekly FEMA HQ External Affairs conference calls to provide updates in EA activities as well as exercises at the national, regional and state levels; EA Division management; all training as required by the position; development of national catastrophic planning and designing exercise events to test plans and policies;
  • Provide input for the development of and participation in the execution and documentation of functions and plans for critical aspects of FEMA's mission, operational responses and programs;
  • Evaluate and provide recommendations to improve effectiveness of existing programs and activities and management EA components of any Lessons Learned/Continuous Improvement plans resulting from disaster field operations.
  • Represent EA leadership on task forces, work groups, councils, etc. related to incident communications and disaster operations.

Qualifications and Evaluations

You qualify for this position at the AD-05 level (starting salary $112,028 to $124,110) if you possess the following:

One full year of specialized experience at the AD-04, equivalent of the GS 11/12 level in Federal Service, that demonstrates the following:
  • Advising managers and decision makers on public information strategies and complex issues relating to communications during major incidents or disasters.
  • Serving as a principal spokesperson within an incident to lead disaster communications and emergency management communications.
  • Supervising and developing subordinates and training peers and managers to provide effective leadership to accomplish program objectives. 
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 provides valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Your application must show that you meet all requirements for this position. You may be found “not qualified” if you do not possess the minimum competencies required for the position.
To determine if you are qualified for this job, a review of your resume and supporting documentation will be made and compared against your responses to the occupational questionnaire. Applicants whose assessment score rates 90 and above, may be considered for further review by subject matter experts, in regards to the criteria defined in the vacancy announcement.

We recommend that you preview the online questions for this announcement before you start the application process.

The qualification requirements listed below must be met within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

NOTE: Qualifications are based on breadth/level of experience. In addition to describing duties performed, applicants must provide the exact dates of each period of employment (from MM/YY to MM/YY) and the number of hours worked per week if part time. As qualification determinations cannot be made when resumes do not include the required information, failure to provide this information may result in disqualification. Applicants are encouraged to use the USAJOBS Resume Builder to develop their federal resume. For a brief video on How to Create a Federal Resume, click here.

Current or former FEMA Reservists/DAE employees: To accurately credit your experience for these intermittent positions, make sure to list the dates (from MM/YY to MM/YY) of each deployment, along with the job title and specific duties you were responsible for during each deployment.  Failure to provide this information may result in disqualification.

Benefits and Other Info

DHS offers competitive salaries and an attractive benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life, and long-term care insurance; retirement plan; Thrift Savings Plan [similar to a 401(k)]; Flexible Spending Account; Employee Assistance Program; personal leave days; and paid federal holidays.  Other benefits may include: flexible work schedules; telework; tuition reimbursement; transportation subsidies; uniform allowance; health and wellness programs; and fitness centers. DHS is committed to employee development and offers a variety of employee training and developmental opportunities. For more information, go to the DHS Careers website and select “Benefits.”
Other Information:
  • To ensure the accomplishment of our mission, DHS requires every employee to be reliable and trustworthy. To meet those standards, all selected applicants must undergo and successfully pass a background investigation for Public Trust as a condition of placement into this position. This may include a credit check after initial job qualifications are determined (Mythbuster), review of financial issues, such as delinquency in the payment of debts, child support and/or tax obligations, as well as certain criminal offenses and illegal use or possession of drugs.  For more information on background investigations for Federal jobs please visit the OPM website at
  • DHS uses E-verify, an internet based system, to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities.
  • This announcement may be used to fill one or more vacancies.
  • STAFFORD ACT EXCEPTED SERVICE APPOINTMENTS: Cadre On Call Response Employee – Incident (CORE-I) is an appointment type granted under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Section 306 (b), which authorizes FEMA to appoint such temporary employees as necessary to accomplish work authorized under the Act. Appointments under this authority within FEMA are made to the excepted service and are nonpermanent in nature.
  • All candidates must be able to deploy with little or no advance notice to anywhere in the United States and its territories for an extended period of time. Deployments may include working in excess of eight hours a day, or in excess of 40 hours per week, including weekends and holidays, and under stressful, physically demanding, and austere conditions. When activated and deployed, you serve in a federal travel status and are entitled to lodging, transportation, and per diem reimbursements for authorized expenses in accordance with federal travel regulations.
  • If selected for this position you will be required to attend a two week Emergency Manager Orientation (EMO) in Anniston, AL or Emmitsburg, MD. Travel is at FEMA’s expense and will occur from Sunday to Friday.
  • Performance Based Awards: IMAT members may be eligible for awards annually based on their performance individually as well as a team. Awards may be up to 10% (5% individual, 5% team) of their salary and up to a $6,000 bonus. 


How to Apply

How to Apply:
To begin your online application, click the Apply Online button and follow the prompts to register or sign into USAJOBS, take the online questionnaire, and submit the required documents. See Required Documents section for more detail.

We strongly encourage you to apply online. If you cannot apply online or do not have access to the internet (e.g., applicant experiencing documented system issues, applicant does not have access to the internet, etc.), you may be able to submit a paper application and the required forms.  To do so, please contact the Human Resources Specialist listed in the Agency Contact Information prior to the close of this announcement.
Required Documents:
  1. Your resume
  2. Your responses to the job questionnaire 
  3. Are you a current or former federal employee? Submit a copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, that verifies the Federal service indicated on your resume e.g., length of time you have been in your current/highest grade (examples of appropriate SF-50s include promotions or within-grade/range increases); your current promotion potential; proof of permanent appointment, etc.
  4. Are you qualifying based on education?  Submit a copy of your college transcript (unofficial is acceptable) or a list of coursework with hours completed. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal qualification requirements if you can show that your foreign education is comparable to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States. For example, specific courses accepted for college-level credit by an accredited U.S. college or university, or foreign education evaluated by an organization recognized for accreditation by the Department of Education as education equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. college or university. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence with your application. See Recognition of Foreign Qualifications for more information.
What to Expect Next:
Once you submit your application, we will assess your experience and training, identify the qualified applicants, and refer those applications to the hiring manager for further consideration. If you are selected, we will conduct a suitability/security background investigation. We expect to make a job offer within 30 days after the deadline for applications.

View more information on applying for federal employment.

Any offers of employment made pursuant to this announcement will be consistent with all applicable authorities, including Presidential Memoranda, Executive Orders, interpretive U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance, and Office of Management and Budget plans and policies concerning hiring.  These authorities are subject to change.