Ive worked in 2 federal agencies and I've seen it all. You dont need any qualifications just as long as you are connected or related to someone there who will bring you in and take care of you.
For example, I have seen the wife of one of the bosses who had no credentials whatsoever beat out 2 PhD candidates for a job. She couldn't do the work so they hired highly skilled temps from Kelly Scientific to do her job.
Here is how it works:
They want to give or promote a federal job to a friend or relative so it is already pre-determined.
Then it is posted on the USAjobs website.
Then you go through the hassle of applying for the job making certain that all of your T's are crossed and dot the I's.
Then it goes to personnel who certifies the 3 most qualified candidates miraculously including the friend or relative who they want.
Then if you are you lucky enough to be called for an interview they will ask you the KSA questions. The KSA's are the specicific questions and deciding factors for getting the job. The person who the job is written for has already been coached on how to answer the KSA's, so you don't have a chance.
You won't have a chance because the hiring official/interviewer is usually the freind or relative of the individual that the job is written for. The hiring official has 100% power to choose who they want for the job, qualified or not.
Then you will receive a letter in the mail. The most common reason that they will give for not being hired that they use is: "You were referred for consideration but another candidate was selected."
Go ahead and apply. It can not hurt.
If you are called in for an interview call ahead and try to get the KSA questions. most importantly, ask the question that they DO NOT WANT TO ANSWER! Ask them "HOW MANY INTERNAL CANDIDATES ARE THEY INTERVIEWING" and I guarantee that they will cringe. Good luck! All federal agencies hire this way, including FDA,EPA,USDA,DOD, etc...