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Strategic Communications Advisor

Solicitation Number: PSC-12-073-INL
Agency: Department of State
Office: Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Location: Grants, Acquisitions, Procurement and Policy Division (INL/RM/GAPP)
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Combined Synopsis/Solicitation
Added: Sep 21, 2012 1:49 pm
You have received this "Personal Services Contractor" (PSC) solicitation through the Department of State (DOS) Internet site. If you have any questions regarding this PSC, you may contact the DOS Official named in this solicitation. The Department is not responsible for any data and/or text not received when retrieving this document electronically. Amendments to solicitation documents generally contain information critical to the submission of an application.

Strategic Communications Advisor
Mexico City, Mexico

Issuance Date: 09/21/2012
Closing Date: 10/21/2012

A solicitation for a Personal Services Contractor (PSC), Department of State (DOS), Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)

The United States Government (USG), represented by the DOS, seeks applications from US citizens interested in providing PSC services as described in this solicitation.

Offeror's proposals shall be in accordance with the requirements stated in this solicitation at the place and time specified. A proposal will be determined non-responsive and ineligible for consideration unless all required documents and information are included in the submission. Offerors shall ensure their resume demonstrates their possession of the minimum qualifications outlined in this Solicitation, as well as their ability to fulfill all required duties.

Proposals must include the following:
1) Form OF-612 (Completed and signed)
2) Resume
3) Three letters of reference or three references, including contact information

Submit all proposals via e-mail or facsimile to the attention of:
INL/Amy Kara
Fax: 202.776.8686

Direct questions regarding this solicitation to:
INL/Amy Kara

INL will not accept late proposals unless it can be determined DOS mishandled the proposal.

2. ISSUANCE DATE: 09/21/2012
3. CLOSING DATE: 10/21/2012
5. POSITION TITLE: Strategic Communications Advisor
6. MARKET VALUE: $80,728 - $118,552 (FS-02 Equivalent)
7. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: One year from date of award and four option years
7. PLACE OF PERFORMANCE: Mexico City, Mexico

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) manages and funds bilateral narcotics control and law enforcement professionalization programs in Mexico that total over $50 million in budget annually. INL is responsible for the development, supervision, coordination, and implementation of international narcotics control assistance activities and international criminal justice issues for the Department of State (DOS).

INL's foreign assistance programs are designed to complement Mexico's efforts to bolster its public security system and to enhance its criminal justice institutions. These program activities include law enforcement enhancement projects with the Government of Mexico administered by the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) of the U.S. Embassy Mexico City, Mexico.

A complex, sensitive program of this size requires strong operational management and oversight to fulfill U.S. foreign policy goals. NAS Mexico City requires a Strategic Communications Advisor (SCA) with significant public affairs skills in addition to expertise in planning, developing and implementing, strategic communications efforts, preferably in Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America.

The Strategic Communications Advisor will work closely with the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy as well as with the Washington, D.C. PAS/INL team and provide advice and assistance to Embassy and Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) Front Office (FO) leadership to ensure the successful implementation of strategic communications programs in Mexico. Recognizing that engaging citizens is key to societal change, initial efforts of this program will develop standard themes and messages, as well as identifying various target audiences.

The Advisor is the principal advisor to the NAS Director and Deputy Director on strategic communication strategies and opportunities. The Advisor is the expert on communications for the Merida Initiative, counter narcotics and the rule of law. This includes a strong advocacy and a leadership role on public affairs with Merida implementers.

The Advisor will serve under the day-to-day direction of the NAS Director and Deputy Director and will coordinate with all employees under Chief of Mission authority assigned Merida duties to ensure oversight and non-duplicative efforts in the Mission. The Strategic Communications Advisor will be rated by the NAS Deputy Director and reviewed by the NAS Director.

Duties and Responsibilities:
a. Develop and disseminate public affairs positions and plans for NAS and the Merida Initiative.
b. Work with other Mission sections/agencies such as Public Affairs Section, USAID, and law enforcement agencies to develop coordinated media campaigns and messages.
c. Coordinate NAS responses to regional and national media queries.
d. Coordinate equipment delivery and capacity building events and activities that detail the goals and objectives of the Merida Initiative.
e. Manage the Strategic Communications portfolio for the Merida Initiative. This program assists Mexico with the development of a comprehensive strategy to ensure target audiences-whether they are citizens of Mexico, residents of the border region, members of the press, or political office holders-are adequately and correctly informed regarding successes in disruption of criminal activities, and to communicate the long-term goals in their effort to restore security and rule of law, implement justice system reforms, and build resilient communities.
f. Enhance public messaging, to ensure continued public and bipartisan political support for law enforcement and institutional reform.
g. Review existing communication strategies and propose and develop appropriate plans and strategies enhance support for training and capacity building.
h. Serve as the liaison with various U.S. Government agencies and international entities working on the Merida Initiative and ensure all messaging is accurate and up to date.
i. Work at the senior level of the bi-national Merida team to build unity of effort across all agencies and across national boundaries.
j. Work effectively under pressure, within short time constraints, and during times of rapidly developing events.
k. Develop strategic goals and objectives for outreach programs and other public affairs events, campaigns, and programs that support the Merida Initiative's goals and objectives.
l. Write speeches for NAS Director and Deputy Director and Embassy Front Office as required.
m. Draft press releases and media advisories for all NAS-related and Merida Initiative events.
n. Research, develop, and maintain facts sheets for the overall Merida Initiative and specific Merida programs.
o. Serve as communications advisor to all NAS units and programs.
p. Serve as the liaison with all U.S. Consulates in Mexico, providing them information/updates on Merida programming as well as identifying Merida-related public affairs opportunities in their geographical area.
q. Utilize various methods and techniques in achieving communication goals such as feature articles, short news stories and publications and social media.
r. Provide advice and assistance in the preparation of weekly and monthly NAS reports, responses to Congressional inquiries, and fulfillment of other reporting requirements.
s. Prepare Merida Initiative briefings for State Department, Congressional and other visiting officials.
t. Attend Embassy meetings and bi-national meetings, as required by the NAS Director, briefing the Director and reporting on major issues covered.
u. Oversee Strategic Communication "one pager" to INL to insure linkage between performance metrics and program outcomes.

Minimum Requirements:
1. U.S. citizenship, and able to obtain/maintain a Department of State (DOS) security and medical clearance.
2. Bachelor's Degree, from an accredited university.
3. Eight to ten years of combined experience in the area of public affairs or public relations, with experience in planning, implementing, and reporting on strategic communication plans.
4. Excellent oral and written English communication skills.
5. Level Two, oral and written Spanish communication skills. Incumbent must possess a moderate degree of proficiency in Spanish to be able to converse with his/her GOM contacts or to draft correct correspondence in Spanish.
6. Proficient in Microsoft office Suite.
7. Ability to complete the FSI Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) course within the first 90 days of assignment successfully.

Preferred Knowledge and Skills:
1. Five to ten years experience working in international environments.
2. Knowledge of the Merida Initiative and GOM efforts to enhance law enforcement and judicial sectors.
3. Experience working at a U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Department of State or other development organization.
4. Understanding of U.S. foreign policy and interagency process.
5. Knowledge of U.S. foreign policy regarding the continued development of justice reform and law enforcement capacity-building, institutional development and demonstrated experience working on U.S. assistance programs.
6. Ability to work effectively with host-nation counterparts, departments, and ministries to further U.S. program goals and objectives and communicate those issues in a timely and concise manner.

Evaluation Factors:
Factor 1: Design / Development 40 points
Designs and develops communication strategies for the Merida Initiative, counter narcotics, and rule of law programs. Monitors the implementation of said strategies, recommending adjustments and changes according to relevant circumstances and issues.

Factor 2: Communication 30 points
Coordinates communication issues and activities with U.S. agencies/sections at Post such as PAS, USAID, and Law Enforcement agencies, NAS program coordinators, GOM counterparts and INL Washington D.C. personnel. Exercises a leadership role in crosscutting communicative/education/behavior changes activities related to counter-narcotics, anti-crime, and rule of law policies and programs. Maintain relationships to create an information dissemination system for approved success stories or targeted Merida information to the following amplifiers:
o Mexico's federal government officials: including the President and key leaders supporting Merida (Bilateral Partners).
o PAS for targeted journalists when appropriate (or inclusion in speeches/statements).
o NAS Project Coordinators: for story/information dissemination in target areas to community leaders (including local government).
o Consulates: PAOs and Reporting Officers for story/information dissemination in target areas to community leaders (including local government).
o Washington/U.S. government communicators: for inclusion in speeches/statements and complementary communications efforts by State, Homeland Security, Justice, DOD, Congress, and the White House.

Factor 3: Public Relations: 20 points
Performs public relations and advocacy activities in order to enhance and enlarge the network of allies for the Merida Initiative, counter narcotics, and rule of law policies and objectives. In coordination with PAS, U.S. Consulates in Mexico and Mexican counterparts, designs and coordinates conferences, seminars, workshops and other outreach activities. Acts as official NAS representative for communications and advocacy activities and is a member of interagency communications teams.

Factor 4: Past Performance 10 points
Past Performance of applicant's ability to perform duties assigned related to the position. The Government reserves the right to utilize all evaluation information available at the time of evaluation, whether provided by the applicant or obtained from other sources.

For award, INL will negotiate for this contract based on the following:
• Entry-level salary is at Step 1 of the grade range assigned to solicitation
• Consideration given for experience relevant specifically to the solicitation requirements
• Level and extent of experience dictates the salary level within the grade range



• Employee's FICA Contribution
• Contribution toward Health and Life Insurance
• Pay Comparability Adjustment
• Annual Increase
• Eligibility for Worker's Compensation
• Annual & Sick Leave
• 401K Plan

• Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance
• Living Quarters Allowance
• Post Allowance
• Supplemental Post Allowance
• Separate Maintenance Allowance
• Education Allowance
• Education Travel
• Post Differential
• Payments during Evacuation/Authorized Departure
• Danger Pay

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Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
Posted Date:
September 21, 2012
OF-612.pdf (143.57 Kb)
Description: To be considered responsive to the solicitation, you must submit a completed and signed OF-612. Otherwise, your submission is considered non-responsive and will not be considered.
2430 E Street, N.W., South Building
SA-4 Navy Hill
Washington, District of Columbia 20520
US Embassy
Mexico City,
Amy M. Kara ,
Contract Specialist