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Head of Field Security Service


  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Security and Safety
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date:

Hardship Level

H (no hardship)

Family Type


Family Type


Residential location (if applicable)



Staff Member / Affiliate Type



Regular > Regular Assignment

Remote work accepted


Target Start Date


Job Posting End Date

December 15, 2022

Standard Job Description

Head of Field Security Service Organizational Setting and Work Relationships The Head of Field Security Service reports to the Director of DESS and, through the supervisor, to the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations. The incumbent is the principal adviser for security within UNHCR and the Organization¿s alternate security focal point. The incumbent directly leads the Field Security Service in Geneva, and through the functional line (¿Green Line¿) provides technical oversight of a field security personnel globally. The primary activities of the Field Security Service are aimed at providing advice and support to senior management and the Field on security matters; providing situational and contextual analysis in support of decision making; assisting in contingency and operational planning; supporting organizational critical incident management; ensuring a security workforce suited to the Organization's needs; ensuring appropriate security policy, oversight and governance; and ensuring that UNHCR's priorities and needs are reflected in interagency policies and practices. In accomplishing these objectives, the Service works in close collaboration with Field Operations, the Regional Bureaux, and the various Divisions and Services at Headquarters. All UNHCR personnel are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, personnel are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity. Duties - Coordinate Organization-wide efforts to strengthen a culture of security within UNHCR, through provision of security advice and support, development of the security workforce, coordination of oversight and governance mechanisms and representation in interagency and external forums. - Monitor and oversee security risk management practices globally to ensure consistency with standards. - Raise security issues to senior management that require their attention and recommend solutions. - Strengthen organizational capacity to analyse and understand security contexts. - Identify and articulate organizational requirements for profile and number of Field Security Officers. - Maintain cognizant of the global deployment of personnel, work closely with DHR on HR related matters to achieve solutions that meet organizational needs. - In cooperation with DHR and the Bureaux, work to strengthen the professional standards of the Security workforce. - Coordinate with the GLDC to ensure security training is aligned with global needs and priorities. - Institute procedures and mechanisms to ensure appropriate Organization-wide oversight of security processes and standards. - Represent UNHCR in strategic interagency and external forums, striving to ensure that interagency policies and practices suit the Organization¿s needs. - Maintain regular contact and support for security personnel in the Field and Bureaux to strengthen capacities, camaraderie and esprit, career management and retention. - Enforce implementation of organizational policy on security risk management. - Undertake or delegate missions to the Field and requests Operations to implement activities to mitigate security risks to staff. - Perform other related duties as required. Minimum Qualifications Education & Professional Work Experience Years of Experience / Degree Level For D1 - 17 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 16 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 15 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree Field(s) of Education Security Management, International Relations, Business Administration or other relevant field. (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential) Certificates and/or Licenses *Security Risk Management HCR Protection Learning Prg (Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential) Relevant Job Experience Essential Relevant work experience in a security risk management function in an international organization. Successful management of multicultural teams. Operational experience related to UNHCRs mandate, its principles and policies regarding persons of concern to UNHCR. Applied knowledge in UNHCRs activities, policies and priorities, particularly from a security risk management perspective. Desirable Training and proven skills in emergency management, communications, protection, analysis, planning, and critical incident management, psychosocial welfare, human resources, financial management. Understanding of organizational policies, procedures, structures and methods. Project design and management. Training and facilitation experience an asset. Functional Skills *CO-Cross-cultural communication *FS-Security Operation-Critical Incident Management *FS-Security Risk Management CO-Drafting and Documentation FS-UN/UNHCR Rules, Regulations and Guidelines on Security Management UN-UN/UNHCR Mandate and Global Strategic Priorities WB - Psychosocial risk assessment and recommendation of mitigating measures (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) Language Requirements For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English. For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language. For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English. All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile

Please refer to the OC.

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):



Desired languages



Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link:

Nature of the Position

As the post is for the organization¿s senior-most security risk management professional, assessing and monitoring security risk management practices globally and advising senior management, significant experience in security risk management functions at an appropriate level is an essential requirement.

As the post entails finding ways for the organization to deliver for persons forced to flee their homes even where there are risks, the candidate must have a demonstrated ability to apply security skills in support of humanitarian objectives, and ideally, understanding of UNHCR¿s specific mandate, operations and practices.

As the job requires extensive coordination with the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and other actors within the Interagency Security Management Network (IASMN), to ensure that policies and practices of the UN Security Management System (UNSMS) meet UNHCR¿s needs, in-depth understanding of UNSMS policies, procedures and practices is essential.

As the post entails advising senior-most levels of management (among others), as well as diverse external partners, excellent communication skills in English, written and spoken, are essential.

The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate successful management of multicultural teams.

Other competencies and qualities of particular importance for this job include strategic management and thinking, planning and project design, negotiation and coordination, human resource management and financial management.

Demonstrated experience and skills in the areas of critical incident management, security threat analysis, security technology and equipment, psychosocial welfare, and training facilitation and management, are strong assets.

Due to the global nature of the post, a second UN language is an asset.  French is particularly desirable given the current distribution of operations with significant security risks.

Living and Working Conditions

While the post is located in Geneva, the job requires frequent travel, including to high-risk duty stations; the candidate should have no restrictions preventing this.

Additional Qualifications




HCR Protection Learning Program - UNHCR, Security Risk Management - Other

Work Experience

Annual Budget OL in Operation/Office, Number of Persons of Concern Served, Number of Workforce in Operation/Work Setting, Workforce to Supervise


Accountability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Managing resource, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Planning & organizing, Political awareness, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

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Bi-annual Compendium 2022 Part A – November 2022

Functional clearance

This position doesn't require a functional clearance
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