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  1. Homeland Security Careers
  2. Hiring Paths
  3. Executive Opportunities

Executive Opportunities

At the Department of Homeland Security, Executives play a critical role in leading the Department’s ability to secure our Nation in the areas of counterterrorism, border security, immigration, and preparedness, response and recovery.

Our mission deserves an exceptional workforce, our workforce deserves exceptional leaders, and our leaders deserve exceptional development. DHS is committed to developing new, aspiring, and seasoned leaders at all levels through innovative approaches and a culture of continuous learning that supports effective leadership. DHS employees across the Department have multiple opportunities to ensure that they are supported in the important influence that leaders have on our workforce and on our world. Through the Department’s Leader Development Program, investing in leadership excellence is a mission-critical strategy.

The Senior Executive Service (SES) was established by the Civil Service Reform Act and went into effect on July 13, 1979. The Senior Executive Service is comprised of the men and women charged with leading the continuing transformation of our government. This dedicated corps of executives shares a commitment to public service and a set of democratic values grounded in the fundamental ideals of the Constitution. As the leaders of our federal civilian workforce, senior executives strive each day to create a more citizen-centered, result-oriented federal government.

The Senior Executive Service is governed by one distinct personnel system in which the same executive qualifications are required for all members. Applicants to SES positions must demonstrate that they possess Executive Core Qualifications. Executive Core Qualifications are required for entry to the SES and are used in selection, performance management, and leadership development for Homeland Security’s executive positions.

Those interested in becoming a leader in Homeland Security’s SES civilian workforce can view current job opportunities on USAJOBS.

One of the ways DHS develops a supportive culture of continuous learning is through the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. This program helps high potential leaders advance their executive capabilities, in order to play a critical role in securing our Nation in the areas of counterterrorism, border security, immigration, and preparedness, response and recovery.

The Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program is a rigorous, long-term program which includes:

  • A 360-Degree Assessment used to identify Executive Core Qualifications competency gaps.
  • An Executive Development Plan that is developed with an SES mentor to address identified Executive Core Qualifications gaps through various development activities.
  • Executive education through the rigorous American University Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program. Candidates exceed the required 80 hours of learning, attending courses that address individual Executive Core Qualifications gaps and general skills needed to succeed as a member of the Senior Executive Service.
  • Developmental Assignment of at least 120 days at the executive level. These are ‘stretch’ assignments that hone leadership skills identified in the 360-degree assessment gap analysis.
  • A Senior Executive Service mentor to assist candidates in developing their executive development plans and meet with regularly throughout the program to provide guidance.
  • Other Development Activities that may include events and projects to further develop a candidate’s understanding of the Homeland Security mission, programs and challenges from an executive perspective.

Candidates will undergo a rigorous department-wide review process prior to selection. The program is open to experienced professionals with at least one year of supervisory experience at the GS-14 or -15 level. Department of Homeland Security employees and current federal government employees may apply. Current federal employees outside of the department who are selected by DHS for sponsorship remain on their current agency rolls during the program.

This annual program, cited as a best practice by the Office of Personnel Management, is extremely competitive with up to 54 candidates selected from more than 550 applications each year. Currently, DHS is evaluating the DHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP) and has not determined the dates of the next announcement. Therefore, there are no additional cohorts scheduled at this time. Please revisit this page in August 2024 for more details about the next announcement.

Last Updated: 01/31/2024
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