FEDERAL AGENCY SERIES PART 1: Overview OF FEDERAL AGENCIES and WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE Department of Defense (DoD)
The Resume Place is pleased to launch a series of blogs focusing on major federal agencies.
Kathryn Troutman, Resume Place Founder and CEO, speaks widely about how essential it is for federal job applicants to match their skill sets and expertise with agency missions and opportunities. These articles will provide you with valuable information on many of those federal agencies – including their missions, components, occupations and current vacancies.
TIP: Increase your odds by applying for vacancies with agencies that employ a large number of federal civilian workers in the job series that you are most qualified for. And tailor your FEDERAL RESUME to each Announcement you apply for; include relevant KEYWORDS and ACCOMPLISHMENTS. This approach will increase the likelihood of your successfully joining or moving up in the federal civilian workforce.
The first articles will each focus on a specific Cabinet Department, from largest to smallest. Future articles will overview select independent, legislative and judicial agencies.
Federal Agency Overview
Federal agencies employ over 2.7 million civilian workers, many at the fifteen (15) Cabinet-level Executive branch departments. Did you know that the five (5) largest departments employ close to half of the federal civilian workers? Other civilian employees work for independent agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Legislative branch agencies (such as the Library of Congress, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Budget Office), and Judicial branch agencies (such as the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Federal Judicial Center).
The Cabinet includes the Vice-President and fifteen (15) department secretaries who advise the President. Listed below, in order of size from largest to smallest, are the 15 executive departments.
- Department of Defense
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of Justice
- Department of Treasury
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Interior
- Department of Health & Human Services
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Commerce
- Department of State
- Department of Labor
- Department of Energy
- Department of Housing & Urban Development
- Department of Education
Department of Defense (DoD)
Secretary: Ashton B. Carter (2015 – present)
Headquarters: The Pentagon. DoD also has installations and facilities at more than 5,000 other locations throughout the Nation and overseas.
Mission: To provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.
Strategic Goals: DoD’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review focused on the following long-term strategic goals to advance its mission:
- Defeat our Adversaries, Deter War, and Defend the Nation
- Sustain a Ready Force to Meet Mission Needs
- Strengthen and Enhance the Health and Effectiveness of the Total Workforce
- Achieve Dominant Capabilities through Innovation and Technical Excellence
- Reform and Reshape the Defense Institution
DoD established the following five (5) priority goals for Fiscal Year 2016-2017:
- Financial Statement Audit Readiness
- Improve Energy Performance
- DoD Institutional Reform
- Reform the Acquisition Process
- Transition to Veterans (improve the career readiness of Service Members’ transitioning to Veteran status).
Number of Civilian Employees: DoD employs over 740,000 federal civilian personnel in multiple departments and sub-agencies. That is in addition to over 1.4 million active duty service members and more than 1.1 million National Guard and Reserve forces.
DoD is the Nation’s #1 Employer of Veterans
TIP 1: If you are transitioning from the active military service, your military training and experience is likely to be directly applicable to a future civilian DoD career. Make sure to include all relevant and recent experience on your federal resume. Complete your Bachelors or Masters degrees while in the military. Network with your current and former military colleagues. And make sure to include references from senior military personnel.
TIP 2: There are special DoD civilian opportunities for spouses and other family members of military service members. For information about the Preferred Placement Program for Military Spouses, see http://www.cpms.osd.mil/Content/Documents/PPP-Program%20S.pdf. For information about “derived preference” where spouses, widows/widowers, or mothers of veterans may be eligible to claim Veterans’ Preference when the veteran is unable to do so, see https://www.vets101.org/a/81/.
The DoD Organization Structure
The top echelon of the Department of Defense includes the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the 3 military branches:
- Department of the Army
- Department of the Navy
- Department of the Air Force
DoD’s organization includes 17 sub-agencies and combat support agencies; the four (4) largest are noted first.
- Defense Logistics Agency. Supplies critical resources to accomplish worldwide missions.
- Defense Commissary Agency. Operates a worldwide chain of nearly 280 commissaries
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). DoD’s finance and accounting organization with over 15,000 civilian employees.
- Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). Manages DoD and NASA contracts for Nation’s defense.
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DOD’s agency for high-level research and development.
- Defense Contract Audit Agency. Provides contract audit and financial services.
- Defense Legal Services Agency. Provides legal advice and services for all DoD agencies and organizations.
- Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Directs and oversees security cooperation programs supporting national security and foreign policy objectives.
- Defense Security Service. Safeguards Nation’s interests protecting U.S. and foreign classified information and technologies by proving professional risk management services.
- Missile Defense Agency. Develops, tests and fields ballistic missile defense system to defend the Nation against enemy ballistic missiles.
- Pentagon Force Protection Agency. Provides basic law enforcement and security for Pentagon and other DoD facilities in the National Capitol Region.
- Defense Information Systems Agency. Transforms the way DoD users move, share and use information.
- Defense Intelligence Agency. Combat support agency providing information on forces around the world to support warfighters and policymakers.
- Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Safeguards Nation and allies from Weapons of Mass Destruction
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Provides geospatial intelligence in support of national security objectives.
- National Reconnaissance Office. Designs, builds, launches and maintains Nation’s intelligence satellites.
- National Security Agency. Monitors, gathers and decodes foreign communications signals from around the world. Protects Nation’s security and communications from exploitation. Transforms data into key intelligence.
The Department maintains nine (9) Unified Combatant Commands throughout the world as well as ten (10) Field Activities. One of the largest field activities is the Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), a Federally-operated school system planning, directing, coordinating and managing Pre-K through 12th grade educational programs on behalf of the DoD. DoDEA employs employees including teachers, school support assistants, and procurement specialists. Approximately 8,700 educators serve the more than 78,000 students.
Civilian Career Fields
Vacancies include those for candidates with education and experience in a number of fields, including:
- Accounting, Auditing, and Budgeting (Job Series 0500): Focus on positions at the DFAS. (Positions with the DFAS have a “positive education requirement.” Applicants must have a degree in accounting, business administration or finance OR a combination of experience and, 24 semester hours in accounting or auditing courses).
- Contract Administrator (Job Series 1102): Focus on positions at the DCMA.
- Scientists (Job Series 0400 and 1300)
- Engineers (Job Series 0800)
- Logistics & Supply Chain (Job Series 0346 and 2000)
- Management & Program Analysis (Job Series 0343)
- Information Technology (Job Series 2200)
- Medical/Public Health (Job Series 0600)
- Intelligence Analysis (Job Series 0132)
- Security and Protection (Job Series 0080)
DoD also has a variety of Nonappropriated Funds (NAF) opportunities within the DoD Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Program in hospitality, sports and recreation, youth programs, and retail fields.
TIP 3: Link to DoD’s publication “Civilian Personnel in the DoD” for information on opportunities for Students (including internships, scholarships and fellowships); entry level, mid level and executive level Careers; employment of veterans; and opportunities for Americans with foreign language skills. Link to: http://diversity.defense.gov/Portals/51/Documents/Resources/Docs/Civilian%20Employment/Civilian%20Employment.pdf
TIP 4: Consider CHATTING with a DoD career counselor on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12:30 – 2:30 EST. Click on http://godefense.cpms.osd.mil/absolutels/UserForm.aspx?busy=true&deptid=&userid=.
Current Vacancies: There are currently over 1,700 civilian positions at posted on USAJOBS. Over 1400 of those are for permanent positions, including over 70 internships and 24 opportunities for “Recent Graduates.” Many are between the GS-5 and GS-15 levels. Occupations with the most vacancies include:
- Medical, Dental, and Public Health (Job Series 0600);
- Management, Administrative and Clerical Services (Job Series 0300);
- Engineering and Architecture (Job Series 0800);
- Social Science (catch-all including: Intelligence, Psychology, Social Science, Social Work positions) (Job Series 0132, 0180, 0101, and 0185);
- Education (Job Series 1700). Unlike most of the other listed vacancies, DoDEA substitute teacher positions do not fall under the General Schedule (GS) pay system, but either the Teaching Position (TP) pay plan, the Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) Wage Schedule or the Administratively Determined (AD) system;
- Inspection, Investigation (Job Series 1800);
- Information Technology (Job Series 2200);
TIP 5: Increase your likelihood of success in getting hired by tailoring your Federal Resume to the specialized experience; duties; qualifications; knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs); and occupational questionnaire language. Include relevant keywords from those portions of the Job Announcement. Add relevant language from the Agency’s mission and strategic plan. Do your due diligence by researching the subcomponent (e.g., DFAS; DCMA). Read the relevant OPM position qualification standard for the series (e.g., 0500; 1102) that you are applying for and add additional keywords if helpful. Link to the qualification standards here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=List-by-Occupational-Series.
The next blog in the Federal Agency Series will focus on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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You may also be interested in Jobseeker’s Guide now in the 7th Edition, which is used in military transition centers worldwide to help military members search and apply for federal jobs. Additionally, the newly released Federal Resume Guidebook will help you write the best possible resume.
EllenLazarus is a Resume Place Certified Federal Job Search Trainer, Federal Resume Writer and Career Coach. She is a former Legislative Branch senior executive.