The recent shooting at Fort Hood in which Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army Major psychiatrist, opened fired on other American service men and women, helped highlight the importance of having a homeland security presence at the state level in Texas. It is believed that Hasan had been radicalized through interactions with Yemeni cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki. This mass-shooting incident, which was the worst to ever to take place on a U.S. military base, resulted in the death of 13 individuals and more than 30 injuries.
In another incident in 2010, Andrew Joseph Stack flew his small engine airplane into the Echelon office complex of Austin. He killed himself and one IRS manager, while injuring more than thirteen others. Stack had been involved in an audit by the IRS due to failure to report income. In his suicide note, he decried the IRS’ elimination of tax status for contractor engineers.
In a horrific incident in 1959, Paul Orgeron detonated six sticks of dynamite on the grounds of Poe Elementary School in Austin. The blast killed Orgeron, his son, and four others. Eighteen others were injured, including two seven-year-olds who each lost a leg.
Texas has established the Texas Homeland Security Office to protect residents from this kind of violence. In addition to implementing initiatives that prepare state and local agencies for nuclear, biological, chemical or explosives attacks, Texas Homeland Security is also actively engaged in border security initiatives designed to limit illegal entry along its Mexican border.
How to Become a Homeland Security Professional in Texas
Homeland security professionals are employed at all levels of government within Texas. The city of Richardson recently posted a job vacancy for a Preparedness and Mitigation Coordinator with the following minimum requirements:
- Possession of a bachelor’s degree with significant course work in emergency management or a related field
- Possession of a valid Texas driver’s license
- Certification in National Incident Management System
- Must possess certification as a Certified Professional Continuity Practitioner- level 1
- Must obtain a Master Continuity Practitioner-level 11 with two years of hiring
- Must obtain a Texas Emergency Manager Certificate within one year of hiring
- Must have at least three years of experience in emergency management
- Knowledge of local, state and federal laws, procedures and policies regarding homeland security
- Knowledge of the Homeland Security Grant Program
Homeland Security Certification Options
Many homeland security professionals in Texas obtain certification through local or national universities. These programs may be accessed through campuses or online, and offer valuable training and expertise for prospective homeland security professionals.
There are also several private industry associations that credential homeland security professionals. These include:
- The American Board for Certification in Homeland Security
- Certified in Homeland Security I-V
- Sensitive Security Information, Certified
- Certified National Threat Analyst
- Certified in Disaster Preparedness
- Intelligence Analyst Certified
- National Disaster Preparedness Coalition
- Certified Homeland Protection Professional
- Certified Homeland Protection Associate