Home Uncategorized Careers in Homeland Security: Defining the Market Place

Careers in Homeland Security: Defining the Market Place

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By Bob Jaffin

Career opportunities in homeland security are tremendous because the field —and potential threats — cover so many areas. The main segments for jobs include:

1. Federal Agencies – The goals of many agencies are to provide services for the general public. They need homeland security professionals and procedures to ensure the integrity of their offerings and continuity of operations.

2. State, county, city and other local entities, including public schools – The needs here match those at the federal level – serve the public and ensure secure and continuing operations.

3. Critical infrastructure – This area includes utility companies; transportation systems (ports and borders, as well); telecommunication providers; financial institutions; hazardous materials producers and distributors; water supplies and systems; food supply chain providers; and more.

4. Facilities – This includes athletic stadiums, shopping malls, theme parks, concert halls, large parks, university campuses, museums and tourist attractions.

5. Corporate assets – This includes large or global companies, such as fast food, retail, software and more.  

Specific areas that seem to hold the greatest opportunities include:

  • Public and private schools – The tragedies at Columbine High School and Chechnya prove that schools are targets for terrorists.
  • Health care facilities and agencies, specifically hospitals and public health agencies – Like schools, the pervasiveness of these facilities means many job opportunities for developing and managing incident command procedures.
  • Transportation sector, specifically ports and cargo and passenger facilities – The 9/11 attacks showed that transportation is an integral — and vulnerable — part of the national economy and infrastructure and that  transportation can be weapon itself.
  • Veterinary and agricultural sector – Agriculture is big business and so a target for terrorists. Plus, attacks — even small-scale ones — on agricultural facilities could result in tremendous psychological effects. Economy and world markets could even be disrupted. This sector has been vulnerable for a long time, and many of its needs are still being identified.  

Many Levels of Opportunities
There are distinct career opportunities within each of these areas as well. For example, each phase of security — pre-incident, incident management or post-incident recovery — may require a different kind of expert. And many homeland security professionals have a working knowledge of several areas.

The following table shows examples of experts required for an incident and the tasks they perform:
 
 
 
 

 

Click image to enlarge table

Building Upon Security Management
In talking about homeland security, you might draw a parallel to the old saying: “All politics is local.” A similar statement repeated in training and discussions about the topic is “homeland security starts with local security. “ It is important to understand that the federal government recognizes — and has stated repeatedly —

that homeland security is about protecting national and global economies from terrorists, domestic and foreign. If that is so, then homeland security is based on the same economic principles that have long driven the insurance and security industries. The threat has merely shifted from one group to a much larger and harder to identify group, who are driven by something other than greed. In essence, many careers in security management are, have always been and will remain careers closely aligned with many aspects of homeland security.
In fact, homeland security can be viewed as a “big brother” to security management. It expands on security management’s basic goals of deterrence, prevention, risk/loss minimization and compliance. This means there are many, many opportunities for you within this growing field — whether you’re an apprentice or a certified protection professional.
 
 Bob Jaffin is the former department chair for American Public University System’s critical infrastructure and public sector department.

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