Norfolk, Virginia is one of the nation’s most important defense centers with the world’s largest naval base in Naval Station Norfolk as well as one of NATO’s Strategic Command headquarters. The naval station can house up to 75 ships and 134 aircraft simultaneously and regularly houses the nation’s largest concentration of naval vessels and personnel. This facility services more than 3,100 ships annually.
Due to its strategic importance to America’s defense, Norfolk is home to a wide variety of federal and local homeland security agencies. The Norfolk Homeland Security Division is one of the most robust in the country with a bomb squad, K-9 unit, harbor patrol unite, hostage negotiation team, traffic unit, and special operations team. The Special Operations Team is composed of two ten-man teams with expertise in hostage rescue, high-risk arrests, maritime operations and Weapons of Mass Destruction response.
Federal Presence in Norfolk
In order to protect vital national security assets in the city, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has established the Tidewater Joint Terrorism Task Force (TJTTF) in Norfolk after the attacks on 9/11. Headed by the FBI, the TJTTF includes law enforcement and intelligence personnel from across the spectrum of federal, state and local agencies. The group is supported by the Norfolk Field Intelligence Group which collects intelligence related to the Norfolk area. The TJTTF maintains a constant vigil on the area’s transportation systems, tourist centers, military installations and critical infrastructure.
How to Become a Homeland Security Professional in Norfolk, Virginia
Professionals that possess expertise in information technology, law enforcement, special operations, public policy and intelligence hold homeland security jobs in Norfolk, Virginia. Standard qualifications for these jobs include:
- U.S. citizenship
- Security clearance and the ability to pass a comprehensive background check
- Experience in military or law enforcement settings
- Ability to work effectively with a variety of private sector and government personnel
- A bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in
- Homeland security
- Criminal justice
- Public administration
- Intelligence analysis
- Information technology
- Knowledge of homeland security policies, programs and laws
Homeland security professionals in Norfolk may obtain training from several state and federal agencies. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management regularly conducts training exercises based on federal templates of past or possible terrorist incidents. This agency also offers an array of training courses including
- Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Training Course
- Incident Command System and Emergency Operations Center Interface
- Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings
- Mass Fatalities Incident Response
- Recovery from Disaster: The Local Government Role
- Managing Land Search Operations
Many Virginia universities also offer rigorous certificate programs in homeland security studies that can assist professionals in obtaining employment and advancing their careers. These certificate programs usually include courses similar to those found in graduate degree programs and may require months of intensive study to complete.