“WHERE THE FEDERAL JOBS ARE”
FEDERAL AGENCY SERIES PART 3 – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS)
Secretary: Jeh Johnson (2013 – present)
Headquarters: DHS is located in a number of facilities throughout Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. Certain DHS components also maintain Regional, Field and/or International Offices.
Future Headquarters: A consolidated DHS headquarters to be located in Washington, D.C. has been plagued by construction and budget delays. At this point, only the U.S. Coast Guard has moved in; other DHS agencies are still located at more than 50 sites across the D.C. area. As many as 17,000 DHS employees are expected to eventually work at the site. The campus may be completed by 2021, five (5) years ahead of the long-delayed schedule. On the other hand, continued delays may leave the eventual completion uncertain.
Mission: DHS has five (5) Homeland Security missions:
- To prevent terrorism and enhance security
- To secure and manage the Nation’s borders
- To enforce and administration Nation’s immigration laws
- To safeguard and secure cyberspace
- To strengthen national preparedness and resilience to disasters
DHS’s Fiscal Year 2014-2018 Strategic Plan focuses on implementing the goals laid in it its 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. The agency identified specific mission priorities and performance measures for each of its homeland security missions.
Number of Civilian Employees: Over 230,000 federal civilian employees.
Creation of DHS: In 2002, The Homeland Security Act created a new integrated Cabinet agency – bringing together 22 diverse federal departments and agencies into DHS. The intent was to better coordinate and reduce redundancies associated with the federal response to law enforcement, disaster preparedness and recovery, border protection and civil defense, and communications that contributed to the September 11 attacks.
The DHS Organization Structure: DHS has many operational and support components. When DHS was created, specific functions formerly performed by other federal agencies and departments were integrated into it. For example, certain responsibilities formerly within the Departments of Treasury, Justice/FBI, Defense, Agriculture, Energy, and GSA were integrated or dispersed into new DHS components. Responsibilities of the U.S. Customs Service (formerly a part of the Department of Treasury) and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (formerly part of the Department of Justice) were integrated into various DHS components. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Secret Service were also wholly integrated into the new agency. For more details, see https://www.dhs.gov/who-joined-dhs/.
- U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION (CBP). Safeguards the Nation’s borders; protects the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel. Responsible for inspection, border and ports of entry. CBP has more than 60,000 employees nationwide and overseas.
- U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (ICE). Enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety. ICE has more than 19,000 employees in 400 offices around the world.
- U.S. CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS). Oversees lawful immigration to the U.S. USCIS has approximately 19,000 employees in 223 field offices across the U.S. and international offices in 24 foreign countries.
- TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA). Protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce; formerly with the Department of Transportation. TSA has more than 56,000 employees.
- FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA). Ensures building, sustaining, and improving Nation’s capability to prepare for, protection against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards. Formerly an independent agency, with the following offices/teams added from other agencies. FEMA has approximately 18,000 employees.
- U.S. COAST GUARD (USCG). One of the five (5) U.S. Armed Forces. Safeguards the Nation’s maritime interests and environment around the world. Formerly with the Department of Transportation during peacetime and the Navy’s force in times of war.
- U.S. SECRET SERVICE (USSS). Protects the Nation’s leaders and the financial and critical infrastructure of the U.S. Formerly an independent federal law enforcement organization.
- FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING CENTER (FLETC). Trains those protecting the Homeland.
- SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY DIRECTORATE. Primary research and development arm of DHS. Monitors technology and threats (e.g., chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear), developing solutions to deliver effective insight for critical needs. The Directorate also manages DHS’s two (2) Federally Funded Research and Development Centers.
- NATIONAL PROTECTION & PROGRAMS DIRECTORATE. Leads the national effort to protect and enhance the resilience of the Nation’s physical and cyber infrastructure. Its components include:
- Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. The Office has 5 divisions, including The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. The Center is a 24/7 cyber situational awareness, incident response, and management center that is a national nexus of cyber and communications integration for the federal government, intelligence community, and law enforcement.
- Office of Cyber & Infrastructure Analysis. Provides consolidated all-hazards consequence analysis ensuring there is an understanding and awareness of cyber and physical critical infrastructure interdependencies and the impact of a cyber threat or incident to the Nation’s critical infrastructure.
- Federal Protective Service. Protects Federal Facilities, their occupants, and visitors by providing superior law enforcement and protective security services and leveraging our access to the intelligence and information resources of our network of federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.
- Office of Infrastructure Protection. Leads and coordinates national programs and policies on critical infrastructure security and resilience and has established strong partnerships across government and the private sector.
- Office of Biometric Identity Management. Provides Biometric identify services to DHS and mission partners that advance informed decision-making by producing accurate, timely, and high fidelity biometric identity information while protecting individuals’ privacy and civil liberties.
- OFFICE OF OPERATIONS COORDINATION. Monitors the security of the Nation coordinating activities within DHS, governors, law enforcement partners in states and urban areas.
- DIRECTORATE FOR MANAGEMENT. Responsible for budget, appropriations, expenditure of funds, accounting and finance; procurement; human resources and personnel; information technology systems; facilities, property, equipment, and other material resources; and identification and tracking of performance measurements.
- OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS. Provides Homeland Security Enterprise with needed intelligence and information to keep the homeland safe, secure and resilient.
- OFFICE OF POLICY. Principal source of thought leadership, policy development, and decision analysis for DHS senior leadership, Secretarial initiatives, and for other critical matters arising in a dynamic threat environment.
- OFFICE OF HEALTH AFFAIRS. Provides medical, public health, and scientific expertise in support of the DHS mission to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all threats.
- DOMESTIC NUCLEAR DETECTION OFFICE. Prevents nuclear terrorism by continuously improving capabilities to deter, detect, respond to, and attribute attacks, in coordination with domestic and international
Department Challenges: DHS is a large and complex organization. Since its inception, it has been the subject to a massive number of Congressional oversight hearings. By some accounts, DHS answers to over 100 different congressional committees and subcommittees, perhaps resulting from the oversight structure that existed prior to merging the various entities into the new Department. A 2014 Report of the DHS Office of Inspector General identified major challenges in the Department and individual components – the majority arising from the effort to combine and coordinate diverse legacy agencies into a single organization capable of a broad, vital mission. A 2015 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report concluded that DHS made progress in improving and integrating its management areas, but continues to face mission-related acquisitions, human capital, and financial management challenges.
In 2015, DHS was rated in “last place” among the 19 large federal agencies in recent Partnership for Public Service’s “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.” While its score as a parent agency was the lowest among large federal agencies, several DHS subcomponents received high scores. For example: among 320 agency subcomponents, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office scored 53; the U.S. Coast Guard scored 80; and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service scored 86. At the lower end of the rankings, 9 DHS subcomponents scored lower than #300 of the 320 rankings for subcomponents. Those entitles included: The Office of Intelligence and Analysis (#320); Secret Service (#319); Immigration and Customer Enforcement (#318); Science & Technology Directorate (#316); Customs and Border Protection (#314); Transportation Security Administration (#313); Federal Emergency Management Agency (#309); and the Directorate for Management (#306).
Civilian Career Fields:
“The Department of Homeland Security has unique career opportunities that will challenge your mind and reward your skills and talents…. No matter where you are in your career – at the very beginning, transitioning to the federal government mid-career, or another stage In your professional life – the Department of Homeland Security has a place for you.” Source: http://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/get-homeland-security-job.
DHS components often have vacancies for candidates with education and experience in a number of fields, e.g.:
- CPB: Customs and Border Protection Officers (Job Series 1895); Border Patrol Agents (Job Series 1896); Operations Research Analysts (Job Series 1515); Pilots (Job Series 1881); Marine Interdiction Agents (Job Series 1801).
- ICE: Mission Support Specialists (Job Series 0301); Agriculture Specialists (Job Series 0401); Operations Research Analysts (Job Series 1515); Attorneys (Job Series 0905); Medical Officers/ICE Health Service Corps (Job Series 0602).
- USCIS: Investigative Specialists and Immigration Officers (Job Series 1801); Immigration Services Analysts (Job Series 0301); Attorneys (Job Series 0905); Management Assistants (Job Series 0303).
- TSA: Transportation Security Officers and Specialists (Job Series 1800); Federal Air Marshals (Job Series 1801); Transportation Security Inspectors (Job Series 1801); Behavior Detection Officers (Job Series 1802); Intelligence Operations Specialists (Job Series 0132); Program Managers (Job Series 0340).
- FEMA: Program Managers (Job Series 0340); Program Analysts (Job Series 0343); Logistics Management Specialists (Job Series 0346); Emergency Management Specialists and Assistants (Job Series 0089 and 0303); Environmental Protection Specialists (Job Series 0028); Systems Engineers (Job Series 0801).
TIP 2: The skills and training veterans acquired while serving our country may be well suited for jobs at DHS. The Department has Human Resources points of contact throughout the Agency for veterans to reach out to for information. See http://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/work-us for more specifics.
TIP 3: Link to the DHS webpage “How to Turn Your Education and Experience into a Career with DHS.” It organizes fields of interest and provides candidates with the types of positions they may want to focus on. See http://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/turning-education-and-experience-career.
TIP 4: DHS actively recruits cybersecurity professionals. The Department often uses the more streamlined “Schedule A” Hiring Authority to attract these candidates. There are also special Student, Recent Graduate, and entry-level cybersecurity programs. See http://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/dhs-cybersecurity.
Current Vacancies: There are currently over 200 General Schedule (GS) vacancies for civilian positions posted in USAJOBS. Many are between the GS-5 and GS-15 levels. In addition to the component-specific opportunities referenced above (such as inspection and investigation positions), DHS often hires Engineers (Job Series 0801), Contract and Procurement Specialists (Job Series 1101/1102); Quality Assurance Specialists (Job Series 1901); Criminal Investigators (Job Series 1811); IT Specialists (Job Series 2210); and Law Enforcement Specialists (Job Series 1801).
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The NEXT BLOG IN THE FEDERAL AGENCY SERIES WILL FOCUS ON The Department of JUSTICE (DOJ).
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