The professionals at the National Security Agency (NSA) have one common goal: to protect our nation. The mission requires a strong offense and a steadfast defense. The offense collects, processes and disseminates intelligence information derived from foreign signals for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. The defense prevents adversaries from gaining access to sensitive classified national security information.
The National Security Agency (NSA) Office of General Counsel (OGC) is seeking superior Honors Program applicants who are interested in joining its elite team of lawyers who provide legal advice to the Agency as it carries out its missions. At NSA OGC, you will analyze cutting-edge technical and intelligence issues and will frequently provide legal advice that relates to high-profile current events affecting our national security. Attorneys working in NSA OGC apply their expertise, skills, and education to solve a variety of challenges not found in the private sector or at any other government agency. You will have the opportunity to make a global impact on a daily basis as you work with other top caliber professionals at the highest levels of the Agency and across the U.S. Government. This critical work ensures that Agency operations comply with the law while also protecting both our national security and our civil liberties.
NSA is the only entity in the U.S. Government charged with collecting foreign signals intelligence in support of the nation's efforts to counter the increasingly dangerous threats to U.S. security posed by terrorism, cyber actors, weapons of mass destruction, and hostile foreign governments. In addition, NSA is also charged with the protection of U.S. national security systems, including Department of Defense worldwide computer networks and other systems. In conducting these vital missions, NSA relies upon personnel with world-class technical and professional expertise.
Because the twin missions of NSA - signals intelligence and cybersecurity - are two of the most important and dynamic challenges our Government faces today, there is rarely a typical day for an NSA attorney. We are routinely presented with exciting and novel legal issues at the intersection of technology and law. In tackling these challenges, our attorneys work directly with senior officials at the Department of Justice's National Security Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council at the White House, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Defense, as well as other agencies in the Executive Branch and relevant committees of Congress.
NSA attorneys work in a highly classified setting and are entrusted with tremendous responsibility as they advise the Director and other senior leaders at the Agency on a diverse and complex spectrum of issues related to gathering the foreign intelligence information needed to fight international terrorism, espionage, transnational crime, and narcotics, to defeat foreign cyber adversaries trying to steal national secrets, and to provide intelligence support to critical military overseas tactical operations, all while protecting our civil liberties and ensuring strict compliance with the Constitution and our laws. Because the NSA is a Department of Defense agency, our attorneys have a unique opportunity to be directly involved in national security operations working alongside military and civilian colleagues, as well as to interact with the private sector in cybersecurity and other matters.
In short, many OGC attorneys say they can't imagine working in a more exciting and important position.
Description of Position
NSA OGC is looking for highly motivated entry-level attorneys to join its Legal Honors Program in Fall 2020. The Legal Honors Program is NSA OGC's exclusive entry-level attorney hiring program. The Program is a three-year term appointment that includes rotations in both operational and support practice areas. NSA OGC has seven legal practice groups, which provide legal advice on the full breadth of legal issues confronting NSA, including legislation, intelligence operations, cybersecurity, ethics, procurement, research and development, litigation, environmental law, patents, personnel security, and employment issues. For additional information on NSA OGC, please refer to the OGC webpage on NSA.gov. With appropriate training and supervision, NSA Honors Program attorneys are entrusted with immediate responsibility, working directly with clients and Agency leadership. Attorneys selected for the Legal Honors Program will also have special opportunities, available only to Honors Program attorneys, to attend high-level briefings, meetings, and congressional hearings on national security issues, liaise directly with intelligence community partners and other federal agencies, and tour facilities throughout the intelligence community, all while working under the guidance and mentorship of a senior attorney assigned to them from among the leadership of NSA OGC. Honors attorneys will be well positioned at the close of their three-year term to apply successfully for a full-time attorney position within NSA OGC or to utilize the skills acquired during the Program to launch a career outside of the Agency in national security law or other legal disciplines.
The responsibilities of an Attorney at the NSA can include:
- Advising the Agency on legal matters involving a particular subject matter (e.g., intelligence operations, procurement, research and development, information security, patents, security matters, legislation, employment/personnel issues, ethics)
- Analyzing legislation, programs, policies, regulations, or plans to determine impact on the Agency
- Representing the Agency's official position in legal and legislative proceedings
- Representing the Agency in interactions with outside customers, DoD, Congressional representatives, foreign partners, or the general public
- Conferring with/educating clients, customers, or stakeholders on legal or policy issues
- Determining the legal sufficiency of documents
- Drafting legal briefs, pleadings, etc
- Making legal determinations in accordance with laws, regulations, professional standards, or Agency policies and procedures
The ideal candidate is highly-motivated with excellent oral and written communication skills, a desire for continual learning, possesses problem-solving, analytic, and interpersonal skills, and is:
- customer and results oriented
- able to adjust to changing situational requirements
- able to build relationships across the Agency and with external stakeholders
- able to manage multiple tasks with competing timelines and deliverables
Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule
This is a full-time position, Monday through Friday.
On-the job training, Internal NSA courses, and external training will be made available based on the need and experience of the selectee.
The selected candidate may be eligible for non-competitive conversion to a permanent appointment at a later date.
Mandatory Qualification Reqs
Salary Range: $69,581 - $166,500 (Full Performance - Expert)
*The qualifications listed are the minimum acceptable to be considered for the position. Salary offers are based on candidates' education level and years of experience relevant to the position and also take into account information provided by the hiring manager/organization regarding the work level for the position.
Selections are made based on many elements of a candidate's background including: strong academic achievement, law review or moot court experience, superior writing and communication skills, past employment, a demonstrated commitment to government service, leadership, legal aid and clinical experience, and extracurricular activities.
Eligibility is limited to:
- Law students graduating at the end of 2019 or in the spring of 2020 with no prior legal experience (other than summer associate or intern positions); or
- Law school graduates from 2018 or 2019 who are seeking their first legal position following a judicial clerkship or graduate law program that commenced immediately after law school graduation.
Applicants must be graduates of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. New law school graduates must, within 14 months of the commencement of their employment, pass a bar examination and become duly licensed to practice as an attorney in a U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia. Applicants who are currently in a judicial clerkship or graduate law program must, prior to commencement of employment, be members in good standing of the bar of a U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia.
How To Apply - External
Even if you have applied through your school's career services portal, you must also apply on www.intelligencecareers.gov/nsa.
After submitting the online application, you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, please contact (see application details) to confirm that your online application was received. All candidates MUST apply on www.intelligencecareers.gov/NSA to be considered for a position in the Honors Program.
AFTER SUBMITTING YOUR ELECTRONIC APPLICATION, PLEASE EMAIL the following materials to (see application details):
- Cover letter
- Short legal writing sample (fewer than 10 pages) demonstrating your own legal analysis
- Law school transcripts
- 1-2 page personal statement that conveys why you want to work for the NSA or that communicates additional information about you or your background.
We anticipate reviewing applications and scheduling interviews on a rolling basis beginning in mid-July.
Please Note: Job Posting could close earlier than the closing date due to sufficient number of applicants or position no longer available. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
U.S. Citizenship is required for all applicants. Reasonable accommodations provided to applicants with disabilities during the application and hiring process where appropriate. NSA is an equal opportunity employer and abides by applicable employment laws and regulations. All applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a security background investigation and polygraph.
This position is a Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) position in the Excepted Service under 10 U.S.C. 1601. DoD Components with DCIPS positions apply Veterans' Preference to eligible candidates as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 USC, in accordance with the procedures provided in DoD Instruction 1400.25, Volume 2005, DCIPS Employment and Placement. If you are a veteran claiming veterans' preference, as defined by Section 2108 of Title 5 U.S.C., you may be asked to submit documents verifying your eligibility.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is part of the DoD Intelligence Community Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS). All positions in the NSA are in the Excepted Services under 10 United States Codes (USC) 1601 appointment authority.