22 CFR § 501.6 - Appointment of Overseas Specialists.
(a) General. Members of the Board's Foreign Service appointed as Overseas Specialists serve on rotational U.S.-overseas assignments in the following types of positions: General Administration; Publication Writers and Editors; Exhibit Managers; Printing Specialists; English Teaching Specialists; Correspondents; Engineers for the Voice of America; Regional Librarian Consultants; and Secretaries. Appointees serve a trial period of service as Specialist Candidates under Foreign Service limited appointments (or redesignation) for a period not to exceed five years. Appointments are made to F.S. classes 8 through 1. Specialist Candidates are given career appointments as Overseas Specialists based on the recommendations of Specialist Selection Boards. Specialist candidates not recommended for tenuring will be separated from the Foreign Service, or reinstated in the Civil Service.
(b) Sources of applicants. Qualified Broadcasting Board of Governors domestic employees comprise a significant recruitment source for Overseas Specialist appointments. Such employees will be given priority consideration over outside applicants when applying for Overseas Specialist positions, when qualifications are otherwise equal.
(c) Eligibility requirements. All applicant must be citizens of the United States, and must be at least 21 years of age and no more than 58 years of age at the time of appointment. The 21-year age requirement may be waived by the Director, Office of Personnel (M/P or VOA/P) when she or he determines that the applicant's services are urgently needed. Broadcasting Board of Governors employee applicants must also have at least three years of Federal government experience and occupy a position at the GS-11 level (or equivalent) or above (GS-10 for Electronic Technicians in the Voice of America). All applicants must be available for worldwide assignment to positions in their occupational category.
(d) Application procedures.
(1) Applications for all specialties except secretarial should include a current SF-171, Application for Federal Employment; a DSP-34, Supplement to Application for Federal Employment; university transcripts; a 1,000 word autobiographical statement which should include mention of the qualifications the applicant would bring to the job and reason for desiring to work for the Board; and a statement affirming willingness and capacity to serve at any post worldwide.
(2) Special requirements for Foreign Service Secretaries. Secretarial applicants must submit a current SF-171, Application for Federal Employment, and a 250 word essay on a commonly understood subject to demonstrate grammatical competence. The following specific requirements must be met by applicants: Ability to type accurately at 60 words per minute; four years of secretarial or administrative experience (business school or college training may be substituted for up to two years of required work experience); and attainment of an acceptable score in verbal ability and spelling tests. Applicants will subsequently be given a written examination to measure administrative aptitude.
(e) Examination process -
(1) Application review. All applications are to be sent to the Special Recruitment Staff, Office of Personnel (M/PDSE), or to the Foreign Personnel Advisor (VOA/PF) for Voice of America positions.
(2) Qualifications Evaluation Panel. A Qualifications Evaluation Panel will evaluate the applicant's qualifications including his/her performance and administrative files (or equivalent), claimed language proficiency and other background or factors which may be related to the work performed by an Overseas Specialist Officer in the relevant specialty.
(3) Oral examination.
(i) Applicants who are passed on by the Qualifications Evaluation Panel to the Board of Examiners will be given an oral examination to evaluate the applicant's total qualifications for service as an Overseas Specialist in the desired functional specialty.
(ii) The Board panel examining all candidates except those of the Voice of America will consist of one Broadcasting Board of Governors Overseas Specialist and two BEX Deputy Examiners. For VOA candidates, the panel will consist of the Foreign Personnel Advisor, a BEX Deputy Examiner assigned to the Voice of America, and a Deputy Examiner assigned to the Board of Examiners.
(iii) The panel will examine each applicant through questioning and discussion. Hypothetical problem-solving exercises, a writing exercise and an in-basket test may also be required. The panel will also recommend the F.S. entry level for appointment. If the panel's recommendation is unfavorable, the application process will be discontinued. An unsuccessful applicant may apply again in 12 months.
(4) The same medical and security requirements applicable to FSO Candidates pertain to Specialist Candidates.
(5) Overseas Specialist Candidate register. If an applicant is successful in the examination, and medical and security clearances have been successfuly completed, his/her name will be added to the appropriate Overseas Specialist register for a period of 18 months, or completion of an inside candidate's current tour of duty overseas, whichever is longer, at the Foreign Service class determined in the examination process and based on previous experience. Inclusion on the register does not guarantee eventual assignment and appointment as an Overseas Specialist Candidate.
(f) Appointment as a Specialist Candidate.
(1) When the Office of Personnel identifies an overseas vacancy which cannot be filled from the existing ranks of Overseas Specialists, applicants on the Overseas Specialist register will be considered for the assignment. An applicant will not be appointed unless an overseas position has been identified and a need for the individual in the Foreign Service has been certified by the Director, Office of Personnel (M/P or VOA/P). Any applicant selected from the register who refuses an assignment offer will be dropped from the register and precluded from reapplying for a period of seven years.
(2) Applicants will be given a Foreign Service limited appointment (or redesignation) for a period of four years at the Foreign Service Class determined in the examination process. The purpose of this untenured appointment is to allow the Board to evaluate and assess the Specialist Candidate's abilities and future potential prior to offering career appointment as an Overseas Specialist. The limited appointment may be extended for one additional year, but must be terminated at the end of the fifth year if the Candidate does not obtain career tenure.
(3) The Candidate will receive the orientation and training necessary to serve overseas and will be assigned overseas in a position in his or her specialty. Broadcasting Board of Governors Civil Service employees selected as Overseas Specialist Candidates will be appointed only if the Board element to which they are currently assigned is willing to affirm in writing that a position at the appropriate level will be made available for the employee should the candidacy end unsuccessfully. Broadcasting Board of Governors Civil Service applicants will be appointed as Overseas Specialist Candidates on or about the date of their departure for post of assignment or upon assumption of an assignment (which has been identified and will follow a period of orientation in Washington). The Board may also assign a Candidate to a U.S.-based position for an initial assignment of up to 24 months when the Candidate will spend the majority of his/her time traveling overseas and will, except for the U.S. basing, be fully functioning as an Overseas Specialist. Specialist Candidates will compete for promotion by the Annual Overseas Specialist Selection Board with other officers in the same specialty and at the same class level. Specialist Candidates at the Class 1 level are ineligible for promotion into the Senior Foreign Service.
(g) Career appointment as an Overseas Specialist. In accordance with section 3946 of title 22 United States Code, the decision to offer a Specialist Candidate a career appointment will be based on the recommendation made by the Annual Overseas Specialist Selection Board which reviews all employees in the Candidate's occupational category and class level.
(1) Eligibility. Specialist Candidates who have performed at least two years of overseas service will be eligible for review for career status at the time of the Candidate's third Board review. Candidates serving an initial tour in the U.S. but spending the majority of time working overseas will be credited with up to one year's overseas service, but no more than half of the time based in the U.S. If a Specialist Candidate is not recommended for career status during the initial review, the Candidate may be reviewed again when the next Annual Overseas Specialist Selection Board convenes if the initial Board so recommends.
(2) Selection Board Review. The Selection Board(s) will review the official performance file of the eligible Specialist Candidates and in accordance with established precepts, will determine whether the Candidates should be recommended for career appointment as Overseas Specialists. Recommendations by the Board will be based on the Candidate's demonstrated aptitude and fitness for a career in the Foreign Service in their occupational specialties. No quota or numerical limit is placed on the number of positive career status decisions that can be made by Selection Boards. The Specialist candidacy will be terminated if the Candidate fails to be recommended for career status after a second Board review for tenuring. Candidates may be terminated earlier than the expiration of their limited appointment if so recommended by the Board and approved by the Director, Office of Personnel (M/P or VOA/P). Specialist Candidates recommended for career status by the Selection Board will be given Foreign Service career appointments (or redesignation) as Overseas Specialist, to take effect within one month of the Board's recommendation.
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