The Department of Homeland Security wouldn't be a full-fledged Cabinet department unless there were a few plum jobs to pass around. So, perhaps in an indication that the new agency is taking shape, the Office of Personnel Management last week published the first list of lower-level political appointments available in the new department.
Unlike the top political jobs -- such as undersecretary or bureau director -- these "Schedule C" positions can be filled by presidential appointment without Senate confirmation.
Many of the jobs, such as assistant press secretary to the assistant secretary for public affairs, don't sound glamorous. But they can be important stepping stones for young aides trying to build Washington careers, said Paul C. Light, a government scholar at the Brookings Institution.
"Schedule C is often where you see the 25-year-old junior staffer who 40 years from now will be the secretary of the department -- or so he or she dreams," Light said. "What you are doing is building your resume. That credentials you to be something bigger in the next life."
Pay in political jobs varies, but usually is comparable to similar positions within the General Schedule system, experts said.
All the ability and ambition in the world, however, aren't enough to land one of these jobs. It's mainly about connections, past relationships and the right recommendations from people in power.
"You don't get a Schedule C job unless you are [politically] connected," Light said. "There's no political job in the federal government now, no matter how low level, that does not go through the White House personnel process."
Here is the list released by OPM last week. Additional positions will be published in the Federal Register on the fourth Tuesday of each month. A comprehensive list of all jobs is slated to be published this summer.
* Travel aide to the chief of staff.
* White House liaison to the chief of staff.
* Executive assistant to the deputy secretary.
* Speechwriter to the assistant secretary for public affairs.
* Executive assistant to the chief of staff.
* Assistant press secretary to the assistant secretary for public affairs.
* Executive secretariat to the undersecretary for border and transportation security.
* Special assistant to the undersecretary for border and transportation security.
* Executive assistant to the inspector general.
* Receptionist to the secretary of homeland security.
* Executive assistant to the secretary of homeland security.
* Scheduler to the secretary of homeland security.