Back to Job Board

Senior Chemist, Arlington, VA, US, #16310

The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.  

Job Description:

Within the DEA is the Operations Division (OC), which establishes and articulates policy for all DEA operational areas. Within OC is the Diversion Control Division (DC), with the mission to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources while ensuring an adequate and uninterrupted supply for legitimate medical, commercial, and scientific needs.

Due to the increase in the diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical controlled substances, the DEA has a need for the knowledge, skills, and experience of highly qualified scientific professionals to evaluate drugs and chemicals in order to determine whether these substances are being abused or potentially involved in illicit traffic to assist DEA’s DCP in fulfilling its functional responsibilities, to include preventing, detecting, and deterring the diversion of licit controlled substances and listed chemicals while also ensuring an adequate supply of such substances for legitimate need.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provides expert support on drug scheduling decisions in relation to neuropharmacological and neurotoxicological actions of the substance under review and provides scientific expertise in the formulation of agency policy based on evaluation of existing domestic and international laws of control.
  • Conducts studies and evaluations pertaining to all aspects of drug control including the development of methodologies to predict and confirm the abuse potential of substances and combinations of substances.
  • Initiates studies to increase and apply scientific knowledge concerning the scheduling and rescheduling of controlled substances and the regulation of essential chemicals and precursors.
  • Reviews, appraises, and summarizes published information from world scientific literature and from information sources within DEA, as well as other federal, state and local sources.
  • Interprets and organizes the information and develops reports to support decisions on the scheduling of drugs under the provision of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
  • Provides basic information and recommendations for decisions bearing upon drug scheduling petitions including determination of the status of controlled, excepted, excluded or exempted drugs and drug products and for those decisions bearing on the regulation of analogs, essential chemicals and precursors.
  • Supports DC staff in disseminating information on drug control, essential chemicals, and precursors and provides appropriate scientific guidance and assistance to law enforcement agencies, health research oriented groups, the scientific community and state scheduling authorities.
  • Analyzes and interprets data collected, including various prescription data sources and scientific research projects.
  • Serves as a technical advisor in chemistry and related physical and biological sciences.
  • Reviews and assesses information from world-wide scientific literature and from sources within DEA, as well as from other federal, state and local sources.
  • Conducts reviews of drugs, chemicals and drug synthesis methods and recommends chemical control actions under the CSA.
  • Advises the agency on scientific matters pertaining to organic chemistry, regulatory and operational aspects of drug and chemical control.
  • Maintains liaison with scientists and experts in other government agencies, academia, research institutions and industry to promote exchange of information related to drugs and chemicals.
  • Prepares a variety of memoranda, letters, opinions, reports, position papers, and other written documents to support findings and recommendations relating to chemistry for audiences in industry, Congress, Government officials and others. Responds to inquiries and prepares written reports and oral presentations.
  • Serves as a senior scientist and technical expert in implementing and evaluating complex and innovative scientific projects.
  • Serves as an authoritative source of information for other scientists and program specialists and performs a key role in resolving issues that significantly affect the scientific programs.
  • Reviews, advised on, and conducted complex analysis and studies in support of major organization programs, including areas where technical issues and/or data were controversial, or uncertain.
  • Serves as a technical authority, providing scientific advice to professionals within and outside the agency on uniquely demanding and challenging scientific and/or technical issues.
  • Processes research, evaluation, and reporting requests in accordance with established guidelines.

Supervisory/Management Authority:

This position does not have mgmt. authority or supervisory capacity.

Education and/or Experience:

  • Master's Degree in Chemistry or related science discipline required
  • Doctorate Degree in Chemistry or related science discipline, preferred;
  • The demonstration of the ability to gather, analyze and evaluate extremely complex scientific and drug related data against current scientific standards;
  • The preparation of comprehensive technical reports which demonstrate the ability to collect and disseminate extremely complex controversial scientific issues relating to the control of drugs and chemicals;
  • Service as committee or working group chairperson that recommends scientifically defensible positions regarding complex chemistry issues;
  • The utilization of scientific expertise in preparation of office positions;
  • Evaluation of existing scientific data sources as to their adequacy in independently formulating office positions on complex issues;
  • Advanced expertise of new and current organic chemistry techniques, synthesis methods;
  • Experience demonstrating service as liaison with high level scientists and drug and chemical control officials on a national and international level;
  •  The independent preparation of written reports and studies on highly complex issues;
  • Conduct of scientific briefings and presentations on a national and international level to industry, the scientific community or other government agencies.
  • Expertise in federal laws, international treaties, guidelines and regulations pertaining to the control of drugs that demonstrates knowledge of CSA;
  • Work illustrating service as a senior chemist in a specialty and interdisciplinary area that includes drug and chemicals which are subject to the CSA;
  •  Expertise in the review of scientific literature and other data sources regarding the legitimate use, production, and potential illicit use of chemicals;
  • Publication of scientific papers in peer reviewed journals;
  • Prior experience in the regulation of drugs of abuse and/or chemicals used in illicit drug synthesis.
  • Previous employment experience at the DEA is preferred.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: 

  • Proficient in research techniques with respect to available DEA databases
  • Proficient at using Windows based desktop computers and MS Professional Suite of applications, specifically, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and SharePoint.
  • U.S. Citizenship required
  • Ability to successfully pass a drug screening test and federal background check

Work Environment:

This position is primarily performed in a controlled office environment.

With $400 million in annual revenue, 20% growth per year, approximately 950+ active contracts serving 60+ government agencies in 25 countries, 47 states, 2 territories and 2000+ employees, Cherokee Nation Businesses’ (CNB) group of Federal Contracting Section 8(a) companies is well positioned to deliver expertise needed to solve complex technical issues. Federal Solutions provides an array of services for 12 of the 15 cabinet-level departments and agencies – from applications and data services to cybersecurity and national defense.

Why consider Cherokee Nation and our Federal Solutions business? Here are some great resources highlighting what we do and compelling reasons for joining our team!

Applicants selected may be subject to a U.S. Government security investigation and may need to meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.

We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected Veteran status, gender identity and sexual orientation. If you’d like more information about your EEO rights as an applicant under the law, please copy and paste the links to the following two sites: EEO Statement | EEO Poster

If you are an individual with a disability and require a reasonable accommodation to complete any part of the application process, or are limited in the ability or unable to access or use this online application process and need an alternative method for applying or interviewing, you may email  for assistance. This email address is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the application process or status.

For Pay Transparency Non Discrimination provision, please copy and paste the following link: Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

We maintain an Affirmative Action Plan for the purpose of proactively seeking employment and advancement for qualified protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. Upon request, we will schedule time to make our Affirmative Action Plan accessible. If you are interested, please submit a written request with the email subject line: 2018 Request to View Affirmative Action Plan to the Compliance Administrator at “” This email box is not for resumes or follow up on job applications.