The federal government has designated Columbus as being a high-risk site for potential terrorism. Ohio has a history of terrorist activity, with eleven convictions for terrorism between September 2001 and March 2010. Recently, three men from the Columbus area pled guilty to terrorism charges related to a bomb plot targeting a Columbus shopping mall. Fortunately, U.S. authorities intercepted the Al-Qaida operative before he could carry out his plan.
The city is home to a large number of agencies employing homeland security specialists who work to prevent terrorism and mitigate potential crises of great magnitude, such as natural disasters and hazardous materials spills. The release of hazardous waste is a continual problem in Franklin County, and almost 400 spills in the county were reported to Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency in 2008.
Homeland Security Degrees and Training in Columbus
People seeking training in homeland security in Columbus do not have far to go. They can choose between the convenience of obtaining a homeland security degree through one of the many online schools that offer such degrees or by attending one of the three schools in Columbus that offer degrees in homeland security.
Homeland security degrees available in Columbus include:
- Certificate in Homeland Security
- Associate’s Degree in Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science
- Bachelor’s degree in International Studies Major with Security and Intelligence Specialization
Professionals who currently hold homeland security jobs in Columbus are encouraged to become certified through the Ohio Certified Emergency Manager (OCEM) Program.
Homeland Security Careers in Columbus
In addition to obtaining employment as homeland security specialists in the private sector in Columbus, there are thirty different entities in the city that provide homeland security jobs to residents. Some of these include:
- FBI. This organization has a resident agency in Columbus in which detectives and surveillance teams work to protect homeland security in the area. In addition, FBI agents are constantly monitoring cybercriminals and employ cryptologists and cyphers.
- Central Ohio InfraGard Chapter. The FBI pioneered this program that is a partnership between the agency and the private sector, including businesses, law enforcement agencies, and academic institutions. Intelligence analysts based in Columbus share information to prevent hostile attacks.
- Ohio Division of Homeland Security. This division of the Ohio government employs a variety of homeland security specialists to prevent terrorism in the state. Its employees collaborate with private and public partners to develop protective programs.
- Ohio Emergency Management Agency. The EMA has developed the emergency operations plan for the state. It employs homeland security experts to coordinate training and exercise programs in homeland security and emergency management.
- Strategic Analysis and Information Center. This fusion center facilitates the sharing of intelligence between federal, state, and local authorities to protect the public. One of the partners is the Columbus Police Terrorism Early Warning Group.