As the seventh largest city in the United States, San Antonio could be an attractive target for terrorists. The agency responsible for preparing city residents and organizations for potential technological disasters or terrorist incidents is the San Antonio Office of Emergency Management (SAOEM). The SAOEM heads a number of initiatives to optimize readiness and response planning including the AlertSA which provides warnings and information to city residents through emails, texts, and phone calls.
Requirements to Become a Homeland Security Professional in San Antonio, Texas
Homeland security jobs in San Antonio, Texas are held by professionals with backgrounds in public health, business administration, information security, criminal justice, and emergency planning. The requirements for these jobs are dependent upon the employer, but many have criteria similar to the following:
- U.S. citizenship
- Ability to pass a background check and acquire a security clearance
- A bachelor’s degree or post-graduate degree in
- Homeland security studies
- Terrorism studies
- Business management
- Public policy
- Information technology
- At least two years of experience in homeland security or emergency management
- Experience supervising homeland security programs and personnel
- Knowledge of federal, state and local homeland security laws
Many national and local colleges offer degree and certification programs for current and prospective homeland security professionals in the San Antonio area. These programs may be found in a variety of specialties including:
- Intelligence Analysis
- National Security Studies
- Security Management
- Competitive Intelligence
Training for homeland security professionals may be obtained through a variety of organizations. The Texas Division of Emergency Management Training Unit is responsible for many of the homeland security courses in San Antonio, Texas as well as regular training exercises modeled on past or potential terrorist incidents. These courses include:
- Evacuation and Re-Entry Planning
- Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction Training
- Community Emergency Response Team Training
- Incident Command
- Infrastructure Damage Assessment
There are also several nationally recognized professional organizations that offer accreditations including the National Defense Preparedness Coalition and the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security.
Incidents of Terrorism in San Antonio
While there have been no major terrorist incidents in San Antonio, there are a variety of high profile arrests that could be linked to terror organizations. In 2011, five French Moroccan nationals were arrested attempting to break in to a San Antonio courthouse. After a search of the men’s vehicle, documents showing details of high security facilities were found along with maps and computers. Investigators did not disclose if bomb making materials were found.
In May of 2013, a former Hezbollah commander was arrested in San Antonio while attempting to infiltrate the Defense Department. Wissam Allouche was arrested following an investigation that revealed he had provided false information on his visa application and other government documents. He had already obtained a position in the U.S. Army as a linguist and was attempting to secure a position with access to sensitive information.