South Dakota’s homeland security operations are headed by the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security (OHS). This agency provide all hazard prevention and responses to state, local, tribal and private agencies in all 66 counties and nine Native American tribal jurisdictions. It currently operates a variety of programs including the Emergency Response Teams as well as the Special Weapons and Tactics teams.
The OHS also operates a Fusion Center, which collects, analyzes and distributes intelligence from police, fire, public health, and private security personnel. Fusion Centers are part of the national Fusion Center system, and are intended to permit closer coordination with local and regional partners.
Major Terrorist Targets in South Dakota
Although South Dakota does not present the major metropolitan areas that are most likely to attract the attention of domestic or international terrorists, this state does offer some intriguing targets for enemies of the U.S. Most notably, Mount Rushmore is located in the state. This is the world’s largest mountain carving with the faces of past Presidents Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. This has long been a global symbol of the U.S.A. and could present a remote risk of attack.
In a much more conventional sense, South Dakota has become a major center for finance and commerce. Because of the state’s exceptionally low corporate tax rates, many major corporations have moved their headquarters to the state. Companies including Wells Fargo, CitiBank and Capital One have strong presences in the state and present a significant risk to cyber-terrorists.
How to Become a Homeland Security Professional in South Dakota
The Transportation Security Administration is a major employer in the state for homeland security professionals. In a recent job posting for a Transportation Security Officer, the salary range was between $29,131 and $43,697 per year, and the minimum requirements included:
- Ability to pass a credit and criminal background check
- No delinquencies of $7,500 or more
- Ability to pass a drug test and medical evaluation
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must hold a high school diploma or GED
- Must have at least one year of experience in security, X-ray maintenance or operation, or aviation screening
- Proficiency in English
Training programs for homeland security professionals in South Dakota are provided by the Office of Emergency Management. These courses include instruction on:
- Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Toolkit and Exercise Design
- Emergency Planning for Access and Functional Needs Populations
- Emergency Management 101
- Resource Unit Leader Course
- Mitigation for Emergency Managers
Homeland security professionals and students may obtain accreditation in the field through several industry organizations. One of the most prestigious of these is the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security, which offers courses and certification exams in the following professions:
- Certified in Homeland Security I-V
- Certified in Disaster Preparedness
- Certified National Threat Analyst
- Intelligence Analyst Certified