Friday, October 4, 2013

On The Register!

I'm officially on the register!  This simple little exclamation means I'm on the waiting list for an orientation class to become a Foreign Service Specialist with the State Department.  More specifically, I'm waiting to become an Information Management Specialist (IMS).  If you're wondering what an IMS is then you can read the full details on the State Department's job announcement page. The vacancy for new applicants opens up one or more times a year so sign up for the email updates if you're interested.  There are a variety of specialties available to become a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) or Foreign Service Officer (FSO). Here's the summary for my IMS specialty:
The U.S. Department of State is the lead foreign affairs agency formulating and implementing the President’s foreign policy and representing the interests of the United States throughout the world. The Department carries out this mission at over 270 embassies and consulates around the world, offices in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area and other locations in the United States.
Foreign Service Information Management Specialists (IMS) are responsible for the Department’s Information Resource Management programs and Information Technology (IT) systems world-wide. The work is diverse and challenging. At overseas posts, IMS manage both staff supporting these programs and perform hands-on duties themselves. IMS provide customer support, knowledge management, application support, and manage a world-wide telecommunications network, computer networks, telephone systems, radio networks, and the Diplomatic Pouch and Mail program. At embassies and consulates abroad, IMS are expected to perform other duties, such as supporting visits of high-level officials, including the President of the United States, in support of U.S. foreign policy.
Department of State Foreign Service IMS must have the ability to adapt to changing cultural and physical environments, work with differing levels of technology, follow developments and innovations in the IT field and successfully apply emerging technology solutions to the art of diplomacy.
This is the type of work I know I'll enjoy doing along with the opportunity for us to live abroad while I do it!  I'm starting this blog as a place for the personal side of my upcoming career change and our travels.  This is setup to share with our family and friends back home as well as our new foreign service friends we meet along the way.  I won't share much about the job itself except the usual things other prospective foreign service employees want to see like the timeline for processing.

Processing Timeline

My own timeline was pretty fast compared to other timelines I've seen.  I think it helped that I'm a current federal employee with an active clearance and already live here in the DC area where the State Department is located.  We were required to go to the State Department's medical office for evaluation so it was a one-stop shop providing the clearances after they personally saw us for our physicals and tests.  Applicants outside the DC area see their own doctors and the State's medical office reviews the results so that adds some time.  Additionally, my security investigation was mostly a local area reinvestigation of my existing clearance so it may have been easier to process. They still interviewed most people I know here but that's what they do every 5 years to maintain my clearance anyway. Here's my timeline so far:
  • Vacancy Announcement Closed - Apr 10, 2013
  • Passed Qualification Evaluation Panel (QEP) - Jun 24, 2013
  • Scheduled for Oral Assessment (OA) - Jul 5, 2013
  • Passed OA (Conditional Job Offer) - Aug 9, 2013
  • Medical Clearance Complete - Sep 17, 2013
  • Security Clearance Investigation Complete - mid Sep, 2013
  • Security Clearance Adjudicated - late Sep, 2013
  • Final Review Panel - late Sep, 2013
  • Added to the IMS Register - Oct 2, 2013
  • Job Offer/Training Assigned - TBD (edit: Dec 2, 2013)
  • Orientation/Training Begins - TBD (edit: Feb 10, 2014)

Ramble On

I served 20 years in the Air Force and I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to the nomadic lifestyle and rambling on around the world.  That's why this blog is called Ramble On FSS... of course basing it on a Led Zeppelin song with lyrics referencing Lord of the Rings doesn't hurt either.  :-)


Led Zeppelin – Ramble On

Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it's time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way.
Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do...


Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
I'm going around the world, I got to find my girl, on my way.
I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On,
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.


Got no time for spreading roots, The time has come to be gone.
And to our health we drank a thousand times, it's time to Ramble On...