Closing Date: 13th July, 2022


This position is located in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The General Counsel, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the Department's chief legal advisor and principal legal advisor to the Secretary of DHS and, has final authority and responsibility for legal policy determinations within the Department and its components.

The incumbent of this position serves as the Associate Chief Counsel Trade and Finance for the Office of Chief Counsel (OCC), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a part of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Incumbent serves under the general direction of the Chief Counsel and the Deputy Chief Counsel, the incumbent serves as the principal legal advisor to CBP headquarters on all matters involving Customs laws as they impact trade. Additionally, the position serves as a subject matter expert on trade matters for the Associate and Assistant Chief Counsels in the field.

Provides overall policy guidance and assures a consistent legal position in all matters relating to handling the revocation/suspension or other disciplinary actions instituted by CBP against private entities licensed or authorized to engage in Customs or Customs-related business.

Develops and advocates the agency's legal position in all CBP cases in the U.S. Court of International Trade and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Serves as the legal liaison with Department of Justice on all trade, tariff, and other non-enforcement Customs litigation.

Serves as the principal legal advisor to CBP and, when requested, DHS, on matters involving the entry of carriers or cargo-carrying conveyances; the entry of commercial merchandise; rules of origin, classification, appraisement and the liquidation/reliquidation of entries of merchandise; marking and the admissibility of merchandise; the assessment and collection of Customs duties, taxes, and user fees; the assessment of liquidated damages under Customs bonds; the refund of duties under drawback, section 1520 (c) petitions and other authorities; the handling of protests under 19 U.S. C. 1514; initiatives to improve the administration of other agency requirements such as antidumping and countervailing duty laws, food and drug laws, consumer product safety laws, quota administration, coastwise trade laws and actions taken pursuant to unfair trade laws; and the effect of the Customs laws on international agreements, as well as any legal action necessary for CBP to fully implement such agreements.

Serves as the principal legal advisor within the Office of Chief Counsel, CBP, on the preparation, review, and publication of Customs regulations pertaining to the foregoing matters. Assures that participation in the rulemaking process is provided as required by law.

Serves as the principal lawyer for CBP on matters involving federal procurement law, fiscal law and policy, debt collection, and tort liability. Responsible for advising CBP management on the following matters: real and personal property acquisition and use; contract review; budget issues and the use of appropriated funds; debt collection, including collection of Customs duties, penalties, liquidated damages, and suspension and debarment; Customs bonds; bankruptcy; environmental issues; and claims against CBP under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act, and the Small Claims Act.

Manages and directs staff both at Headquarters and in the field. Supervises the Assistant Chief Counsel (International Trade Litigation) in New York and the Assistant Chief Counsel (Finance) at CBP's Financial Management Services Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Implements the President's Management Agenda within a specific area of responsibility.

Conditions of Employment:
  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this position.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered for Selective Service.
  • You must successfully pass a background investigation.
  • You must submit to a pre-employment drug test.
  • Applying to this announcement certifies that you give permission for DHS to share your application with others in DHS for similar positions.
  • You will serve a one-year probationary period unless you previously completed the probationary period in the SES.
  • Selectee will be required to complete form OGE-278, Executive Personnel Financial Disclosure Form.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement as required by Executive Order 14043, for further details, refer to additional information below.
  • You must possess a professional law degree (e.g., J.D., LL.B.) acquired through graduation from a School of Law accredited by the American Bar Association.
  • You must be an active member in good standing of the Bar of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States.

As a basic requirement for entry into the SES, applicants must provide evidence of progressively responsible executive leadership and supervisory experience that is indicative of senior executive level management capability and directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under Executive Core Qualifications and Technical Qualifications listed below. Typically, experience of this nature will have been gained at or above the GS-15 grade level in the federal service or its equivalent in the private sector. As such, your resume should demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully fulfill responsibilities inherent in most SES positions such as:
  • Directing the work of an organizational unit;
  • Ensuring the success of one or more specific major programs or projects;
  • Monitoring progress toward strategic organizational goals, evaluating organizational performance and taking action to improve performance;
  • Supervising the work of employees; and
  • Exercising important policymaking, policy determining, or other executive functions.

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs):
Unless you are currently serving under a Career Senior Executive Service (SES) appointment, eligible for reinstatement into the SES, or a SES Candidate Development Program (CDP) graduate, you must address the ECQs. Your narrative must address each ECQ separately and demonstrate the underlying competencies in the narrative. Examples should be clear, concise, and emphasize your level of responsibilities; the scope and complexity of the programs, activities, or services you managed; program accomplishments; policy initiatives undertaken; level of contacts; the sensitivity and criticality of the issues you addressed; and the results of your actions. You should use action oriented leadership words to describe your experience and accomplishments and quantify your experience wherever possible to demonstrate your accomplishments (e.g., number of employees supervised; size of budget managed; amount of money saved, etc.). Applicants should use the Challenge, Context, Action and Results (CCAR) model below when responding to each ECQ:
  • CHALLENGE: Describe a specific problem or goal.
  • CONTEXT: Describe individuals and groups you worked with, and/or the environment in which you worked, to address a particular challenge (e.g., clients, members of Congress, shrinking budget, low morale).
  • ACTION: Describe the specific actions you took to address a challenge.
  • RESULT: Describe specific examples of measures/outcomes that had impact on the organization. These accomplishments demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of your leadership skills.
  • Your narrative response should not exceed 10 pages, be typed in 12 point font with one-inch margins. It is recommended that you include 2 recent (not older than 10 years) examples per ECQ and draft your ECQs in a Word document before uploading into the system to ensure these guidelines are met. Information that exceeds these guidelines will not be reviewed. Detailed information on each ECQ, the underlying and fundamental competencies, sample narratives and a tips sheet for writing effective ECQs are available in the "Guide To Senior Executive Service Qualifications" GUIDE ( at Senior Executive Service Executive Core Qualifications

ECQ 1 - LEADING CHANGE. This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. Leadership Competencies: Creativity & Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision.

ECQ 2 - LEADING PEOPLE. This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts. Leadership Competencies: Conflict Management, Leveraging Diversity, Developing Others, Team Building.

ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN. This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks. Leadership Competencies: Accountability, Customer Service, Decisiveness, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Technical Credibility.

ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN. This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically. Leadership Competencies: Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Technology Management.

ECQ 5 - BUILDING COALITIONS. This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals. Leadership Competencies: Partnering, Political Savvy, Influencing/Negotiating.

NOTE: Those applicants currently serving under a career Senior Executive Service appointment, who are eligible for reinstatement into the Senior Executive Service, or who have successfully completed a Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program approved by OPM, need not submit a narrative statement covering each of the Executive Core Qualifications. However, those applicants must address the following Mandatory Technical Competencies.

In addition to the Executive Core Qualifications, all candidates must show evidence of the following TQs below in order to meet basic qualifications for this position. Please label and include your name on each page. Please give examples and explain how often you used your skills, the complexity of the knowledge possessed, the level of people you interacted with, the sensitivity of the issues you handled managing a large public or private sector organization that administers complex, rules-based benefits or services, etc. It is recommended that you draft your TQ(s) in a word document and then upload into the system. You must address each TQ separately and you should not exceed 2 pages per TQ. You are required to respond to all TQs. If you fail to do so, you will be rated as 'ineligible.'

TQ 1. Demonstrated knowledge and experience in federal court litigation and providing legal advice to senior leadership of private sector or government entities concerning some or all of the following: trade and tariff laws; antidumping and countervailing duty law and the administration of the Continued Dumping Subsidy Offset Act, the collection of debts owed to the government, including claims in bankruptcy; customs bonds, and surety matters; laws relating to customs brokers and other regulated entities; fiscal and appropriations law; assessment and collection of user fees; federal government procurement; real property law; and environmental law.

TQ 2. Candidates should have demonstrated management abilities involving both legal and logistical matters in an agency, law firm, or other organization and the ability to work with legal and policy professionals to evaluate and develop agency objectives, authorities and programs and have excellent legal writing skills that demonstrate clear and concise analysis.

DO NOT COMBINE THE TQ AND ECQ STATEMENTS. Failure to meet the basic qualification requirement and address all Mandatory Technical and Executive Core Qualification factors will result in your application being disqualified.

Veteran's Preference does not apply to the Senior Executive Service.

You must possess a professional law degree (e.g., J.D., LL.B.) acquired through graduation from a School of Law accredited by the American Bar Association, and be an active member in good standing of the Bar of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States. You must submit documentation supporting that you meet this qualification when applying to this job opportunity announcement.

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications; applicant's resumes and supporting documentation should only reflect education received from schools accredited by such institutions. Applicants can verify accreditation at the following Website:

If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency (a U.S. private organization's interpretation that such education has been deemed at least equivalent to conventional U.S. education programs) with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For more information regarding evaluation of foreign education for federal employment, please visit the U.S. Department of Education webpage.

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