Homeland Security Degrees and Certification in Tennessee

Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the federal government has distributed more than $230 million to Tennessee to augment its homeland security organization. This money has been spent on high powered robots capable of defusing bombs, shearing automobiles in half or entering a hazard zone to provide first hand video or intelligence about conditions.  Federal funds have also helped public health officials analyze and evaluate biological risks like disease outbreaks, as well as allow the state to implement a street camera surveillance network.

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The lead agency on these initiatives has been the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security (TOHS). The TOHS is dedicated to protecting the residents of the state as well as critical public and private systems intrinsic to the public welfare.  Among the industries most important to the state are the defense industry, energy, telecommunications and transportation.  These industries have been targeted by state and federal agencies for enhanced protection and monitoring.

Vulnerabilities in Tennessee

On  April 21, 2013, a man, traveling in a boat, walked up and fired upon a security officer at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant before fleeing the scene.  Although the security officer was uninjured and security at the nuclear facility was not compromised, many authorities have treated the incident as a terrorist attack.  Government surveillance aircraft and helicopters monitored the site continuously following the incident.  No suspect has yet been identified, but the FBI and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are investigating the incident.

Training and Requirements to Become a Homeland Security Professional
in Tennessee

The private sector employs a large number of homeland security professionals to assist in security strategy development and implementation.  Sword & Shield Enterprise Security Inc. recently posted a job opening for a Security Analyst position with the following requirements:

  • Possession of a Bachelor of Science degree in a technical field
  • At least one year of experience in IT security
  • Proficiency with well-known security assessment tools
  • Knowledge of Nessus, Nmap, or Metasploit
  • Competencies in information security management including wireless security assessments, social engineering, VoiP security, penetration testing or vulnerability assessments
  • Proficiency using Unix or Windows
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of web server, applications, or database design and implementation
  • Certification in SANs, GPEN, or GIAC
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional preferred

TOHS offers a wide selection of courses for budding homeland security professionals including:

  • Introduction to Terrorism
  • Overview of Domestic Extremism
  • Sovereign Citizen Movement
  • Tennessee Fusion Center’s Consolidated Records Management System
  • Tennessee Office of Homeland Security Liaison Officer
  • Sudden Violence- Surviving an Active Shooter

Tennessee has several universities that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in homeland security studies.  Many of these schools also offer shortened, intensive certification programs for professionals already working in the homeland security field. There are also a number of private organizations that offer accreditation in a field of homeland security.  The most reputable of these are American Board for Certification in Homeland Security, which offers the following certifications:

  • Certified in Homeland Security I-V
  • Sensitive Security Information, Certified
  • Certified National Threat Analyst