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Legal Careers

Deputy Section Chief

Hiring Organization
National Security Division (NSD)
Hiring Office
Office of Intelligence - Operations Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530 - United States
Application Deadline:
About the Office

The mission of the National Security Division (NSD) is to coordinate the Department's efforts in carrying out its top priority of preventing and combating terrorism and protecting the national security. NSD provides legal and policy advice on national security matters, litigates counterterrorism, counterespionage, and foreign intelligence surveillance matters, represents the Government before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and other federal trial and appellate courts, and conducts oversight of the activities of various Intelligence Community agencies.

Attorneys in the Operations Section of the Office of Intelligence (OI) handle in large measure NSD's intelligence operations workload, including representing the Government before the FISC. The Operations Section is responsible for preparing and filing applications for Court orders pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The mission of the Operations Section is to ensure that the FBI and other Intelligence Community agencies have the legal tools necessary to conduct intelligence operations in adherence with the requirements and safeguards of the law. The Operations Section is currently divided into three operational units: the Counterterrorism Unit, the Counterintelligence Unit, and the Special Operations Unit. The Operations Section also works with OI's Oversight Section in various matters, including overseeing compliance with FISC orders. In addition, the Operations Section closely coordinates with the FBI and other Intelligence Community agencies on intelligence operational matters and provides legal advice to other government agencies on matters relating to FISA and other national security laws and governing authorities.

As the federal agency whose mission is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans, the Department of Justice is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. To build and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences and perspectives of the American people, we welcome applicants from the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, religions, and cultures of the United States who share our commitment to public service.

Job Description

The Operations Section is seeking a Supervisory Attorney Advisor to serve as a Deputy Section Chief. Major duties include:

·Work closely with the Section Chief, other Deputy Section Chief(s), and other supervisors in the management of the Operations Section;

·Support the Operations Section unit chiefs in their operational work and ensure effective coordination among Operations Section units;

· Ensure effective coordination between the Operations Section and other OI and NSD components;

· Supervise and support unit chief(s), including by providing them with timely and constructive feedback on their work;

· Provide legal advice to Department leadership and the Intelligence Community regarding FISA and other relevant legal authorities;

· Represent the United States before the FISC and interact with FISC judges and legal staff;

· Review FISC filings and other documents prepared by Operations Section attorneys; and

· Work on special projects and other assignments as requested by the Section Chief.


Applicants must possess a J.D. degree with at least three years of post J.D. experience and be an active member of a bar (any jurisdiction). Applicants also must have strong management and leadership ability and solid analytical, legal, and writing skills. Applicants also must have the ability to work independently and exercise sound judgment, as well as be able to work collegially in a fast-paced operational environment. Applicants also must have detailed knowledge of FISA and other relevant intelligence community legal authorities.

Applicants must be able to qualify for the highest and most sensitive security clearances.

Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the National Security Division.

Application Process

Please submit a cover letter highlighting your relevant skills and experience. Please include in your submission a copy of your current resume and a current performance appraisal (if a current performance appraisal is available). Materials must be mailed to:

U.S. Department of Justice
National Security Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 6150
Washington, D.C. 20530
ATTN: Aprel Thompson/Operations Deputy Section Chief Vacancy

Alternatively, you can submit your application via e-mail to: with the subject line "Operations Deputy Section Chief Vacancy."

No telephone calls please.


(GS-15) $126,245- $158,700 per annum

Number of Positions
Occasional travel may be required.
Relocation Expenses
Relocation expenses are not authorized.

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex - including gender identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status - or because of age (over 40), physical or mental disability, protected genetic information, parental status, marital status, political affiliation, or any other non-merit based factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. For more information, please review our full EEO Statement.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:  The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC) to express an interest in being considered for a position. See list of DPOCs.   

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement. This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that their retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that they were transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

USAO Residency Requirement:  Assistant United States Attorneys must reside in the district to which appointed or within 25 miles thereof.  See 28 U.S.C. 545 for district specific information.

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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

Updated April 7, 2016