Careers in Homeland Security Undercover Operations

Undercover operations through the Department of Homeland Security are carried out by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and by Homeland Security investigators. These professionals are called upon to conduct undercover operations and investigations as to prevent terrorism and other activities, such as illegal immigration and human trafficking.

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Investigators working in undercover operations generally work in the Office of International Affairs, which is housed within the Homeland Security Investigations division of ICE. These professionals are tasked with enhancing national security by conducting investigations involving criminal organizations. ICE has 75 offices in 48 countries and more than 380 employees. Investigators in undercover operations work may be employed by the federal government or may work as contract personnel.

The objectives of undercover operations include:

  • Determining if a violation of the law has occurred or is in progress
  • Identifying a specific violation of the law
  • Disrupting or dismantling criminal organizations
  • Locating the violation sites and the equipment used
  • Obtaining evidence for prosecution and asset seizure
  • Determining the safest way to make arrests, execute search warrants and make seizures
  • Identifying violators and their conspirators
  • Identifying witnesses
  • Checking the reliability of sources of information
  • Gathering intelligence as to best evaluate threats and to place or reallocate sources


Homeland Security Undercover Ops: Job Opportunities

There are a number of investigative professionals involved in homeland security undercover ops. Positions may include:

  • Undercover Project Manager
  • Case Agent
  • Undercover Operatives
  • Special Agent in Charge (SAC)
  • Unit Chiefs
  • Deputy Assistant Director, Investigative Services
  • Director of Operations

The undercover project manager is responsible for coordinating all activities of an undercover operation. This job also includes providing supervision for the daily operational and strategic decisions and for ensuring that the undercover policies and procedures are carried out.

The undercover operative job within homeland security undercover ops may be carried out by any number of individuals, including special agents, air enforcement officers, marine enforcement officers, patrol officers, or any officers within a local, state or federal law enforcement agency.

How to Pursue Jobs in Homeland Security Undercover Ops

An undercover ops job within a federal agency (at the GL-7 level) requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate curriculum and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in required courses related to the major; OR
  • One full year of graduate-level education (18 semester hours)
  • At least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level directly related to the position

Further, individuals in this line of work usually possess specialized experience in:

  • Carrying out investigations
  • Conducting surveillance and undercover activities and operations
  • Apprehending and arresting individuals suspected of violations
  • Organizing evidence for presentation to prosecution officials

Individuals at the GL-7 level earn a salary of between $38,511 and $48,708.

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