The homeland security operations in Charleston, West Virginia are administered by the Charleston Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). This agency is tasked with preventing, mitigating and responding to terrorist incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) weapons of mass destruction, civil unrest, cyber terrorism, and disease outbreaks.
West Virginia was recently ranked 36th among U.S. states with the greatest number of homeland security organizations and 22nd among states with new counterterrorism organizations following the September 11, 2001 attacks. This state is also 36th in terms of federal homeland security spending, but 20th in per capita federal funding. Since 9/11, West Virginia is one of only 15 states without a terrorism conviction.
West Virginia does host a strong national security workforce, however. The Federal Bureau of Investigations opened its Criminal Justice Information Services Division in the state in 1995, which now supports more than 2,500 staff. This division houses criminal and terrorist files for the entire FBI. The FBI Biometric Center of Excellence was also founded in partnership with a major West Virginia university and provides biometric services for government operations around the world.
Terrorism Incidents in Charleston
Vivek Shah was arrested in 2012 for acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, identity theft and identity fraud. Shah was accused of attempting to extort millions of dollars from major figures in West Virginia Society including coal empire executive Christopher Cline. He also sent threatening letters to Harvey Weinstein, the head of one of Hollywood’s major studios.
How to Become a Homeland Security Professional in Charleston, West Virginia
The professions that offer the most homeland security jobs in Charleston, West Virginia include hazardous materials management, information security, law enforcement, public policy and intelligence analysis. While employers may have requirements that are unique to their job demands, most homeland security careers require applicants with qualifications similar to the following:
- Ability to obtain a top security clearance
- Knowledge of federal and state homeland security laws and policies
- U.S. citizenship
- Knowledge of homeland security training programs
- Ability to work with homeland security professionals from a diverse group of government and private sector organizations
- A bachelor’s degree in
- Homeland security
- Emergency management
- Information technology
- Public administration
- Business management
- Public health
Training for many homeland security professionals may be obtained through their employing organization, but for more comprehensive or in-depth training, the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management offers an array of training courses including:
- Planning for the needs of children in disaster
- Debris management
- Multi-hazard planning for schools
- Incident Command System and Emergency Operations Center Interface
- Emergency planning and special needs populations
In addition to degree and certificate programs offered by local and national colleges, there are several important homeland security organizations which offer accreditations to qualified professionals. The National Domestic Preparedness Coalition and the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security offer several prestigious certifications.