Homeland security is still a booming business, and its annual revenue now exceeds that of mature industries such as filmmaking and music.
Although airport security was initially the primary focus of this multibillion-dollar industry, it has evolved into a diverse range of companies hawking a variety of products and services for securing nearly any imaginable terrorist target in recent years. Border, rail, seaport, industrial, and nuclear plant protection, as well as chemical, biological, and radiological detection, are now included in the homeland security industry.
One of the field’s largest customers is a post-9/11 creation, the United States Department of Homeland Security. This is a federal agency tasked with the primary responsibility of assisting in the prevention, protection against, and response to acts of terrorism on US soil. Apart from its “traditional” responsibilities, the US Department of Homeland Security was authorized by Congress to waive all legal requirements necessary to expeditiously install additional physical barriers and roads along the border to deter illegal activity.
“Criminal activity at the border does not pause for endless debate or protracted litigation,” Secretary Chertoff stated. “Congress and the American public have been unequivocal in their desire for and expectation of border security. We’re committed to delivering it, and these waivers will allow critical security projects to proceed.” This expansion of activities will stimulate the job market once again, and those interested in working in this field should consider jumping on board. Indeed, there are over 20,000 jobs posted online, and the trend is upward.
Climate change is another issue that will necessitate additional investment in homeland security in the future. According to an article published in the Washington Post on March 22, 2008 by Joshua W. Busby of the University of Texas at Austin, the US government needs to take action on risk reduction and adaptation, greenhouse gas emission mitigation, and institutional changes within the US government in order to prepare the US to deal with the threat posed by global climatic disruption.
“Climate and security concerns do not receive the attention they deserve in the United States of America’s government due to a dearth of high-level champions. A new deputy undersecretary of defense position for environmental security should be established to address the Department of Defense’s insufficient institutionalization of climate and environmental concerns. Having said that, we should not confuse national defense with the capabilities of the military. As the risk reduction agenda makes clear, additional national instruments of power will be required. To that end, the US National Security Council requires several senior positions devoted to environmental security, including a Deputy National Security Advisor for Sustainable Development to oversee the interagency process. The connections between climate and security may continue to receive insufficient attention. Additionally, a special advisor to the president on climate change with budgetary authority could be beneficial.”
To summarize, homeland security is a thriving job market for job seekers, and the trend is expected to continue for at least another five to ten years. According to Tomer Amit, vice president of Homeland Security Research, a major terrorist attack in the United States, Europe, or Japan in 2015 could increase the global market to $730 billion, more than a twelvefold increase from its current level. “The majority of growth over the next decade will come from developing what Homeland Security Research refers to as a “homeland defense infrastructure,” with growth areas likely including surveillance and detection technology for nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction,” Amit says.
All indicators point in the direction of a promising and highly interesting career in this industry.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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