Senior Executive Service

Senior Executive Service

Learn How to Apply. Click here.Play a critical role in securing our nation in the areas of counterterrorism, border security, immigration, and preparedness, response and recovery by becoming a leader in Homeland Security’s Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian workforce.

About the Senior Executive Service

The Senior Executive Service was established by the Civil Service Reform Act and went into effect on July 13, 1979. The SES 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 SES 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 (ECQs). These ECQs define the competencies needed to build a corporate culture within Homeland Security that strives for results, serves customers, and builds successful teams and coalitions both within and outside the Department. ECQs are required for entry to the SES and are used in selection, performance management, and leadership development for Homeland Security’s executive positions.

Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program

DHS is seeking to develop a cadre of leaders standing ready to step into executive positions to address evolving mission-related challenges. The DHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP) prepares high-performing GS-14/15 (or equivalent) individuals for positions in the Department of Homeland Security’s Senior Executive Service through an intensive 12-18 month leadership development program. The program focuses on:

  • Developing the Executive Core Qualifications required by the Office of Personnel Management for appointment to the Senior Executive Service;
  • Strengthening competencies necessary for effective leadership in executive positions within the department;
  • Enhancing familiarity with homeland security at the executive level; and
  • Broadening individuals' understanding of the department's programs, mission and challenges through cross-department exposure and developmental activities.

Candidates certified by the Office of Personnel Management are eligible for appointments to the Senior Executive Service without competition. Certified candidates are not guaranteed placement into the SES.

Program Details

The SES CDP program 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 Classroom Training 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 that is 120 continuous days in length and at the executive level. These are ‘stretch’ assignments that hone leadership skills identified in the 360-degree assessment gap analysis.
  • An SES 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. These types of activities are generally developed by Components and may be required of candidates to complete the program.
  • The integrated SES CDP will help the department develop a highly skilled, diverse cadre of future Homeland Security executives.

The integrated SES CDP will help the department develop a highly skilled, diverse cadre of future Homeland Security executives.

Eligibility and Selection

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. Department of Homeland Security employees, current Federal government employees may apply. Current Federal employees outside of the department, who are selected, remain on their current agency roles.

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