Commandant (DCMS-DPR-5)
U.S. Coast Guard
2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE
Stop 7907
Washington, D.C. 20593-7907

DHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP)

About the Course

The DHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP) is designed to develop the talents and skills of individuals with executive potential in order to create a cadre of candidates who can assume senior management positions at the SES level as vacancies occur. Candidates who successfully complete the program and receive certification of their executive qualifications by an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualifications Review Board (QRB) under the criterion of 5 U.S.C. 3393(c)(2)(B), will be eligible for initial noncompetitive appointment to the SES.  Click to see more information on the brochure.


**Participation in the program does not guarantee placement in an SES position**




The DHS SES CDP prepares high-performing GS-14/15 (or equivalent) individuals for positions in the Department’s Senior Executive Service through an intensive 12-18 month leadership development program. The program focuses on:


  • Developing the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) required by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for appointment to the SES
  • Strengthening competencies necessary for effective leadership in executive positions within the Department
  • Enhancing familiarity with Homeland Security at the executive level
  • Broadening individuals' understanding of the Department's programs, missions, and challenges through cross-department exposure and developmental activities

Eligibility Requirements

This program is open to all qualified individuals within the civil service who have at least one year of supervisory experience at the GS 14-15 (or equivalent).  Qualified individuals are those who have demonstrated through their performance and experience the potential to assume executive positions within the Federal Government.


Application Procedures

All DHS SES CDPs are announced via USAJOBS. To be notified of future programs, you can set a search of by using the following steps:


To create a saved search:

  • Log into
  • Go to My Account/Saved Searches/Create New Search
  • Enter "DHS Candidate Development Program" in the Title Search field
  • Select the appropriate Yes or No response under the Applicant Eligibility field
  • Enter a name for your saved search in the Name Your Saved Search field
  • Select how often you want to receive email notifications (i.e. daily or weekly)


For additional TIPS for applying, check out the following:


Accomplishment Record (AR) - applicants will be asked to submit written information on accomplishment to best illustrate proficiency on critical job competencies.

  • ECQ#3 Results Driven
    • Entrepreneurship
  • ECQ#4 Business Acumen
    • Financial Management
  • ECQ#5 Building Coalitions
    • Political Savvy


Situational Judgment Test (SJT) - applicants will be presented with a scenario and may be asked to identify how he/she may handle the situation.

  • ECQ#1 Leading Change
    • Flexibility
  • ECQ#1 Leading Change   
    • Strategic Thinking
  • ECQ#2 Leading People   
    • Developing Others

Structured Telephone Interview (STI)

(Note: The resume cannot be more than 5 pages.  If your resume was completed on the resume builder on USAJOBS, transfer it to a word doc and upload it.)

Selection Process

Candidates will undergo a rigorous Department-wide review process prior to selection.


Additional Resources


Accomplishment Records (AR) - is a systematic procedure used to collect information about applicants training, education, and past achievements related to critical job competencies (

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) - OPM has identified five executive core qualifications.  The ECQs were designed to assess executive experience and potential - not technical expertise.  They measure whether an individual has the broad executive skills needed to success in a variety of SES positions - not whether they are the most superior candidate for a particular position (  

Qualifications Review Boards (QRBs)  - OPM convenes weekly Qualifications Review Boards (QRBs) to provide an independent peer review of applications for initial career appointment to the Senior Executive Service.  The Board consists of three executives; at least two members must be career appointees.  Board members review each application and decide if the candidate's experience meets the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) requirements.  The QRB does not rate, rank, or compare the candidate's qualifications against those of other candidates.  Rather, Board members judge the overall scope, quality, and depth of a candidate's executive qualifications within the context of the five ECQs.

Quick Tips for Writing Competencies - Visit

Situational Judgment Test (SJT) - Applicants are presented with a description of a work problem or critical situation related to the job they are applying for and ask them to identify how they would handle it (

Program Manager

Mr. Kin Szeto, phone 202-475-5515, email