Homeland Security Careers – The Lowdown

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), formed in 2003, has at least 180,000 employees! DHS personnel work in a variety of disciplines, from federal protective services and border protection to coast guard, intelligence and cyber security. “As a Homeland Security employee, you will help secure our borders, airports, seaports and waterways; research and develop the latest security technologies; respond to natural disasters or terrorists assaults; and analyze intelligence reports,” states the DHS website. “Securing our homeland requires our constant vigilance, hard work, and determination to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other threats”.

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The DHS website’s “Day in the Life of Homeland Security” page provides the lowdown and some impressive stats on what the entire department accomplishes on a daily basis. Here’s a sneak peak:

Customs and Border Patrol Agents: On any given day, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents confiscate over 12,000 pounds of illegal drugs and narcotics, process up to one million travelers entering the country via all access points and inspect over 47,000 trucks, ships and trains. A law enforcement, homeland security or criminal justice degree can help you prepare for this profession.

IT and Cyber Security Specialists: The DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate employs various professionals including IT and cyber security specialists and analysts. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team must process up to 15,000 alerts, potentially harmful, each day. This transforms into approximately 18 major incidents a month that must be dealt with to safeguard the nation’s cyberspace. A cyber security or information security degree will equip you with the skills and experience needed for such a vital career.

Emergency Management: FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is one of the major federal components (just like the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and others) within DHS. On an average day, FEMA personnel will save the lives of 13 individuals, will assist with 64 search and rescues, train over 950 emergency workers and mitigate $260,000 worth of property damage. If this type of vocation intrigues you, consider completing an emergency management degree or certificate program.

Nuclear Detection: On any given day, the DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is responsible for monitoring 100% of all cargo and vehicles coming from Canada and Mexico to detect nuclear and radiological materials. Additionally, each day the DNDO trains about 12 officials from both local and state agencies. An educational background in sciences or security, depending on the position, is an asset for working in this department.

This is just the beginning of the types of jobs that the hundreds of thousands of DHS employees practice every day. Which one will you pursue?