International Relations Specialist job in Washington, D.C. 9 views

Position description

This position is located in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office (NOAA), Office of the Undersecretary (UNSEC), Office of International Affairs, with one vacancy located in Washington, DC.


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As an International Relations Specialist you will perform the following duties:

  • Serve as the focal point for assigned countries, regions, and/or organizations in coordination with the Director and Deputy Director to support and advance NOAA priorities with government-to-government relations including bilateral and multilateral programs,
  • Serve as a policy and planning authority to evaluate, formulate, and advise on international environmental science, climate, and technology policy issues, and to negotiate international agreements of relevance to NOAA ensuring that U.S. positions are clearly and effectively represented.
  • Coordinate within NOAA and other agencies on cooperative activities with foreign government partners or organizations and represent the agency as an active participant at national and international meetings and/or conferences.
  • Work collectively with other specialists and technical experts to develop policy positions and options providing in-depth technical analyses on international environmental science, climate, and technology matters; and
  • Prepare written reports and/or oral briefings to present appropriate information in a concise and coherent manner to agency, interagency, and international partners and leadership.

These duties are described at the full performance level of the ZA-4. The ZA-3 is developmental leading to such performance.


Travel Required

Occasional travel – Up to 20% foreign and domestic travel may be required.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential

4 – If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you may be non-competitively promoted if you perform successfully and if recommended by management.


Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (
  • Qualifications requirements must be met by closing date of announcement.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment.


This position requires a Non-Critical Sensitive Clearance.

This position will be filled under the DOC Alternative Personnel System (CAPS). This system replaced the Federal GS pay plan and structure. Under CAPS, positions are classified by career, pay plan, and pay band.

The ZA-3 is equivalent to the GS-11/12.

* A one year probationary period may be required.

* Payment of relocation expenses is not authorized.

* This position is not in the bargaining unit.

College Transcript:  If you are qualifying based on education, submit a copy of your college transcript that lists college courses detailing each course by the number and department (i.e., bio 101, math 210, etc.), course title, number of credit hours and grade earned. You must submit evidence that any education completed in a foreign institution is equivalent to U.S. education standards with your resume.  You may submit an unofficial copy of the transcript at the initial phase of the application process. If course content cannot be easily identified from the title of the course as listed on your transcript, you must submit an official course description from the college/university that reflects the content at the time the course was taken.

Note: Your college transcript is used to verify successful completion of degree, or college course work.  An official college transcript will be required before you can report to duty.

Applicants must meet ALL application requirements, to include a complete online resume, by 11:59 p.m. EASTERN TIME (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.



Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards.  This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management’s website located at:

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: This position has a positive Education Requirement in addition to at least one year of Specialized Experience OR substitution of education for experience OR combination (if applicable) in order to be found minimally qualified. Transcripts must be submitted with your application package. You MUST meet the following requirements:

A. Degree: major or equivalent, or a combination of courses totaling at least 24 semester hours in international law and international relations, political science, economics, history, sociology, geography, social or cultural anthropology, law, statistics, or in the humanities; or 12 semester hours in one of the above disciplines and 12 semester hours in statistics/quantitative methods.


B. Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major, or a combination of related courses totaling at least 24 semester hours, in one or more of the social sciences, or in the humanities, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


C. Experience: four years of appropriate experience in one or more of the fields listed above in work associated with international organizations, problems, or other aspects of foreign affairs.

Evaluation of Experience:
A. Qualifying experience that provided an intimate knowledge of a foreign country or geographic area may have been gained through residence, study, teaching, business or commercial activities, military service, newspaper work, military or civil government activities, missionary or inter-national relief work, or other experience in foreign countries. It may also have been gained through teaching college-level courses in international relations or problems associated with a specific foreign geographic area.

B. To qualify for positions at grades GS-12 and above on the basis of experience, this experience must have included either (a) responsibility for the direction and coordination of research, analysis, or other professional work in one or more of the fields listed in 1 above, or (b) specialized professional work involving a high level of difficulty and responsibility in one or more of these fields.


SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level in the Federal Service.  Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position.  This experience need not have been in the federal government.

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 can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment.  You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

To qualify at the ZA-3 or GS-11 level:

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZA-2 or GS-09 in the Federal service.

  • Assisting in environmental science, climate, and technology policy guidance and coordinating organizational affairs with foreign governments;
  • Identifying and monitoring environmental science, climate, and technology issues and events which have a significant effect on international policy development, negotiations, or agreements;
  • Assisting in the development of international partnerships, including supporting negotiations, coordinating and tracking contributions, and drafting reports; and
  • Supporting the planning for international meetings including foreign visits and travel and developing position papers and briefing materials.


SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION: Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in international law and international relations, political science, economics, history, sociology, geography, social or cultural anthropology, law, statistics, in the humanities or a closely related field or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree, if related.


COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Combination of education and experience as described above. 

NOTE: Only graduate-level education in excess of two years is qualifying for combining education and experience.

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