West Virginia’s homeland security operations are overseen by the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM). While West Virginia presents less high profile targets than other states in the region, there are points of interest on the state’s borders that could present attractive targets for terrorists or criminals. The Beaver Valley Power Station is found just five miles outside of the state in Pennsylvania; a terrorist attack or severe failure could endanger the lives of West Virginia residents. In preparation for a possible meltdown, the DHSEM has implemented a Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program for state and county agencies within the area.
Within the DHSEM is the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center. This intelligence and command center is part of the National Fusion Center network, and facilitates communication and information sharing with local, state and federal agencies. The Fusion Center actively monitors criminal and terrorist organizations, analyzes information and disseminates credible intelligence to partners.
One of the primary responsibilities of DHSEM is to enhance prevention and response abilities for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive attacks (CBRNE). In order to maximize operational efficiency and readiness DHSEM works closely with local personnel to provide protective equipment, current training methodologies and specialized equipment for terrorist incidents. DHSEM is also actively engaged in improving laboratory capabilities for the detection and analysis of CBRNE agents.
DHSEM has implemented a program to improve public health structures to help in the detection and response to a public health attack. These initiatives include development of a public health network that is capable of providing the public with vital information in the wake of an attack or disease outbreak. DHSEM is working to stockpile vaccines and antidotes to possible biological threats.
Qualifications for Homeland Security Personnel in West Virginia
Many West Virginia companies are actively involved in the defense of the nation. One of these is KS International, an engineering and development services provider to the U.S. government. In a recent job posting for a Program Manager, KS International stipulated the following minimum qualifications:
- Possess a bachelor’s degree
- At least four years of experience in program management or six years of management experience
- Ability to manage multiple tasks
- Plan, organize and monitor the deployment of contractors
- Certification in DAU Level III Program Management
- Possess a valid US passport
- Willingness to deploy to Afghanistan
- Ability to obtain and maintain Secret security clearance
- Proficiency with Microsoft office
DHSEM periodically conducts training exercises that help improve operational effectiveness of state and local homeland security personnel. Using funding and expertise from the federal government, DHSEM has implemented the Multi-Year Training and Exercise Program. Many of the modules utilized to train state homeland security personnel are sponsored and designed by federal agencies. These courses include:
- Recovery from disaster
- Multi-hazard planning for schools
- Rapid assessment workshop
- Debris management
- Mitigation for Emergency Managers
- Incident Command System
- Emergency Operations Center Management