Diplomatic Security: Foreign Service Security Technical Specialist – Canada

The U.S. Department of State is hiring Security Technical Specialists (STS). The salary listed is from the FS Base Schedule Payscale. In most cases, new-hires are paid at the FS Overseas Comparability Pay rate ($49,108 to $72,117). The Department of State offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package. Joining the Foreign Service is more than just salary. For more information, visit the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Careers’ website or the Department of State’s Careers site.

Security Technical Specialists (STS) provide support for and assist in worldwide technical security programs to maintain and provide protection for Department of State personnel and facilities from technical espionage, acts of terrorism, and crime.

The duties of a Security Technical Specialist (STS) vary according to the size of the post and the requirements of the specific diplomatic mission. The following are examples of the types of duties and responsibilities assigned to a STS at posts around the world, or in domestic locations. This list is neither exhaustive, nor in priority order:

• Install and troubleshoot technical security equipment and components.
• Assist with and/or perform technical surveys, system specifications, and equipment installations.
• Conduct evaluations of security designs.
• Conduct inspections and compare security equipment designs to established standards.
• Prepare “As-Built” drawings.
• Ensure vehicle barriers, X-ray machines, forced entry ballistic resistant (FEBR) doors, walk-through metal detectors, vehicle arrest systems, explosive detection equipment, and other technical security systems are fully operational.
• Repairs failed systems and performs preventative maintenance of technical security systems.
• Service facility imminent danger/emergency notification systems.
• Verification-of-operation tests of technical security systems.
• Travel to overseas embassies and consulates and coordinate technical support trips.
• Use sophisticated electronic test equipment: oscilloscopes, time domain reflectometers, etc.
• Manage equipment logistics – shipping, receiving, Bill-of-Materials (BOM) preparation.
• Oversee and supervise the explosive detection program (EDP).
• Maintain electronic and electro-mechanical systems.
• Use computer networking to monitor equipment and share information and data.
• Conduct radiation safety checks.
• Manage equipment inventory – tracking, spare parts, ordering.
• Organize workshops, shop tools, equipment, parts, and supplies.
• Work with host country personnel (local nationals) when required.
• Test new-generation technical security equipment.
• Provide technical security support to high level USG officials and Foreign Dignitaries.
• Manage training programs for various technical security systems.
• Train security personnel at posts as required.
• Takes training to maintain and upgrade technical skills.
• Write technical reports, including engineering security services reports (ESSRs), evaluations of equipment and/or systems, maintenance and/or installation activities, technical field notices, and other documentation as required.
• Assist in the administration of security contracts. Serve as Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) and as Government Technical Monitor.
• Supervise regional security technicians when so assigned.
• Assist in mentoring and evaluating junior STS personnel when so assigned.

Essential Physical Requirements:

Some of the essential functions of the Security Technical Specialist (STS) job have a physically demanding component. In the execution of the duties and tasks listed above, an STS may be required to:
1. See objects that are near, far, or at night.
2. Hear speech or other sounds including sufficient sensitivity to hear sounds of low volume or in noisy environments.
3. Speak clearly enough so others will understand, including speaking to groups.
4. Lift, push, pull, carry, climb ladders, or balance. Move heavy objects, such as crates, building materials, motor generator that may be oversized and weigh in excess of 70 lbs.
5. Manipulate small objects with hands or fingers. Perform manual installation operations to include hammer drilling, core drilling, pulling wire, installing conduit and terminating cable.
6. Perform movements repeatedly or continually including ability to stand for extended periods, bend and stretch to reach equipment for prolonged periods, and take frequent extended trips by plane or car.
7. Exhibit the mental endurance to concentrate for long periods, learn complex information and procedures, and think effectively after extensive travel and jet-lag.
8. Tolerate extreme environmental conditions, i.e. heat, cold, noise and pollution. Travel and work in hostile environments such as war zones, areas of civil and political strife and in regions of the world having extreme climates.
9. Climb stairs, ladders and other inclines. Work from heights to include rooftops, ledges, bucket trucks, scaffolding and extension ladders.
10. Crawl under, around or over objects. Work in confined areas such as crawlspaces, attics, utility pits, tunnels, manholes and other confined space.

Travel Required

50% or less – An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State’s overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.


Conditions of Employment

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.**
  • Be at least 20 years old and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).***

Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application.  Please refer to the Education Requirements section for more information.

Other Requirements

Driver’s License: A valid U.S. driver’s license is required.

A physical examination of each applicant offered a position is required to ensure that the candidate meets the essential physical and medical requirements necessary to perform the essential functions of the job and can meet the standards required for a worldwide medical clearance. In addition, candidates must have vision that is correctable to 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other, no color blindness, adequate night vision, and good peripheral vision. In addition, candidates must have good hearing with no loss of greater than 30 decibels at 500, 1000, or 2000 Hz level. The musculoskeletal system should have no deformities, diseases, or limiting conditions that would interfere with the performance of duties. The standards for STS can be found at https://careers.state.gov/downloads/ in the Four Conditions of Diplomatic Security Employment Section.

Note: The medical examination is required only after a candidate has successfully passed the written and oral assessments. It is not part of the initial application package.


Applicants must have at least two years of specialized experience, which demonstrates the ability to troubleshoot and repair electronic, electrical, and/or electro-mechanical systems and equipment, and is supported by work experience in this discipline.

Examples of experience include, but are not limited to the following:

• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of AC power distribution systems, motor-generators
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of motors, motor controls, disconnects, relays
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of low voltage DC electronic systems
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of low voltage DC electro-mechanical systems
• Use, repair, and/or calibration of electronic test equipment – meters, oscilloscopes
• Bench repair of electronic, electrical, and electro-mechanical equipment to the component level
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of mechanical and electro-mechanical locking systems – electronic strikes, locks
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of pedestrian and vehicular access control systems – door controls, vehicle barriers / arrest
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems – monitors, cameras, switches
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of metal detectors – hand held, walk through
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of radio communications systems, voice and digital communications networks
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of Intrusion Detection Systems – alarms, detectors, sensors
• Troubleshooting, maintenance, repair and installation of Public Address Systems – emergency notification systems, intercoms
• Using computers to monitor equipment, order and track supplies, maintain maintenance records, and communicate.

Knowledge, Skills, and Other Characteristics

1. Knowledge of technology to include electronics technology, National Electrical Code (NEC), networking basics, information technology, installation practices, risk analysis techniques, basic cost analysis, basic statistical analysis, scientific method and characteristics of materials,
2. Knowledge of security systems to include knowledge of technical security systems (TSS), current industry trends, quality assurance process, and knowledge of safety standards and practices.
3. Knowledge of the logistics process and practices.
4. Technical skills in reading and interpreting building plans, interpreting schematic diagrams and electrical drawings, performing technical surveys and evaluating existing conditions, use of tools, various technical trades, use of fiber optics, fabricating use of computer software and technical guidance.
5. General skills in project management, team leading, reporting, customer service, development and implementation of training programs, evaluating, rating and reviewing the performance of others, being adaptable and resilient, maintaining awareness of working environment and self-development.
6. Superior oral and written communication skills: must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness).
7. Color vision: ability to distinguish between all colors of the spectrum in order to read resistor color codes, identify colored wires, and distinguish between warning lights of different colors.
8. Other requirements: cross-cultural awareness, tolerance of travel and being on call, tolerance for working overseas, tolerance of varying work environments, world-wide availability, tolerance of living away from family, attention to detail, dependability, integrity and willingness to perform other duties.


Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent.

Applicants may substitute educational achievements for Specialized Experience. Please see Qualifications section for Specialized Experience requirements.

Applicants may substitute qualifying educational achievement (12 semester hours or 18 quarter hours is equivalent to one year) for specialized experience as follows:

For one year of specialized experience: One full academic year of education in any electronics or electro-mechanic specialty, or the equivalent amount of vocational, military, and/or formal job-related classroom training.

For two years of specialized experience: Completion of all requirements for an associate’s degree in any electronics or electro-mechanic specialty, or the equivalent of two full academic years of vocational, military, and/or formal job-related classroom training.

Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application. Your transcript must include your name, the school’s name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

Education from a program or institution within the United States must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation, in order to be credited towards qualifications or your candidacy will not be continued

Education completed in foreign high schools, colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Only accredited organizations recognized as specializing in the interpretation of foreign education credentials that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) are accepted. If documentation from an accredited organization is not provided, your candidacy will not be continued.

For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, please refer to the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of State neither endorses nor recommends any individual evaluation service.


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