The Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) is responsible for preventing, mitigating and responding to incidents involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, civil unrest, and technological emergencies. HSEM utilizes a variety of programs to protect the city’s residents, businesses and infrastructure including iWatch Austin. iWatch Austin is a terrorism awareness program that allows the public to report incidents that could be related to criminal or terrorist activity. This may include suspicious packages, individuals photographing or filming public structures, or acquisition of unusual supplies.
Requirements for Homeland Security Jobs in Austin, Texas
Professionals with backgrounds in information technology, law enforcement, public administration, intelligence analysis or public health are likely to find many homeland security jobs in Austin, Texas. The majority of these careers have requirements similar to these:
- Bachelor’s or advanced degrees in
- Criminal justice
- Security management
- Business administration
- Public health
- Terrorism studies
- Emergency management
- U.S. citizenship
- Ability to pass a background check and obtain a security clearance
- Two years of full time experience in homeland security or emergency management
- Familiarity with HSEEP, NRF, NIMS or ICS
- Demonstrated ability to work with homeland security officials from federal and state agencies as well as the private sector
There are a number of schools in the Austin area that offer certification programs for homeland security professionals. Many of these programs may be completed on campus or online, and require completion of courses similar to those found in graduate degree programs.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) offers a wide array of homeland security courses in Austin, as well. These include:
- Effective communication
- Decision making and problem solving
- NIMS resource management
- Mass fatalities
- Evacuation and re-entry planning
- Basic public information officers
TDEM also regularly conducts training exercises that are modeled on federal terrorist incident templates.
The American Board for Certification in Homeland Security and the National Domestic Preparedness Coalition are among the leading professional organizations who offer accreditation programs.
Terrorist Incidents in Austin
One of the most noteworthy terrorist incidents in recent years occurred just outside Austin at Fort Hood military base. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist at the base, opened fire on November 5, 2009 and killed 13 people while injuring 30 others. This shooting produced the most casualties of any shooting on a military installation in the nation’s history. Hasan reportedly had become radicalized following the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In another high profile terrorist incident was suicide attack of Andrew Joseph Stack III on the Echelon office building in Austin. Stack had been involved in a longstanding dispute with IRS over taxes and debts. Stack flew his Piper Dakota airplane into the building in February 18, 2010. He killed himself and one other IRS manager while injuring thirteen others. In his suicide note, Stack voiced a call for violent revolt against the federal government.