During the devastating attack of 9/11, America lost 3,000 human lives. There was also much damage to critical infrastructure, and the nation suffered from trauma and loss. Within eleven days of the attack, the Department of Homeland Security was born. Later, the United States Congress passed the Homeland Security Act to quell the fear and strengthen the security within and outside the borders.
Through this initiative, the government wanted to reduce the effect of terrorism and protect its national borders. It also started to work on immigration laws and cybersecurity. America also needed a quick response to emergencies and natural disasters. Initially, the Director of the Office of Homeland Security worked alone. However, by 2002 the Department of Homeland Security official came into being. It is a stand-alone Cabinet department that tries to unify the homeland security effort. The end goal of the office is to plan a comprehensive strategy. They also want to regulate the response against future attacks of any kind.
Since the mission is to prevent attacks on the land, sea, and air, the seal symbolizes this sentiment. The white eagle on the seal holds a branch in one talon and arrows in the other. It shows that the department will work unlike other agencies to secure the nation.
This whole scenario brought a considerable demand for candidates who can work in this field. So, those who want to work in this must have the right skills and education to fulfill their needs.
But, what is homeland security?
Four components of Homeland Security:
There are four components of homeland security as it is a holistic concept. The Department of Homeland Security aims to strengthen all of these components to safeguard the nation.
Terrorists are using complex methods and strategies to infiltrate nations. The threats are evolving, and their modus operandi is changing.
So, the fundamental goals of counterterrorism hinge on five points.
- The first one is to gather intelligence on the enemy and then share the information with respective authorities.
- The second priority is to identify terrorist plans and how to prevent them from taking place.
- Thirdly, the agents have to defend leaders and higher rank officers first.
- Later they move on to securing soft targets, such as commercial centers and government facilities.
- Lastly, they must try to neutralize rogue nations and non-state actors. These individuals should never get their hands on weapons of mass destruction.
- Immigration, Border Security and Human Trafficking:
Any nation without a strict border enforcement agency is unsafe. Therefore, homeland security controls the air and maritime borders of the country. They try to intercept illegal goods and immigration and prevent criminal activity. Along with physical barriers, the government uses technology to crack down on the narcotics trade.
If you look at any country, you will realize it relies on its security system. Cyberspace is where countries conduct transactions worth billions of dollars. So, an attack on this platform can hypothetically make any nation handicapped. Therefore, the homeland security department tries to secure the database and keeps it confidential.
- Disaster preparedness:
Once disaster strikes, a nation must know how to handle it. Therefore, government agencies must know how to respond in these situations to limit the damage. They must also minimize the loss of lives and mitigate the risks.
Protecting a whole nation is a challenge. The way to a career in homeland security is not straightforward.
How to join Homeland Security?
- Get the skills and training: The first step is to get the necessary training and education. Recent grads and students can intern with the department to get a taste of things. Go through their website and apply for a position.
- Take a course in a relevant subject: Criminology, criminal justice, and forensics are some of the most popular for the DHS. Enroll in a post-secondary program and then include this information in your application.
- Get experience in law enforcement: Although it is not mandatory, prior experience in law enforcement will improve your chances of getting recruited. Such positions also help you polish your skills and train you for the job.
- Choose your roles according to your goals: It is time to narrow your job search according to your goals. For a human resource position, look into mission support roles like budget planning and medical studies. Law enforcement is ideal for those who want to work in security. Consider a role in travel security for a job in immigration.
- The application process: Now, you must apply for a job. Open the Homeland Security Website and look for positions based on agency and job category. Match your qualifications and training with the advertisement to confirm that you meet their requirements. Then apply for the role.
- Interview for the position: You will be invited for an interview if your application is successful. Remember to dress professionally and have a calm demeanor.
You may have to pass a security clearance test before you start your job. Remember that the test may take up to 3 months to complete depending on the level of clearance. After that, you will get approval for hiring and get started.
Protecting the nation is not an easy job. It requires a lot of grit, perseverance, and commitment. And unlike other careers, you cannot leave this profession any time you feel like it. Therefore, think long and hard before you make any decisions. Once you have made up your mind to work in this sector, focus on your profile.