In times of crisis, we need people like you: Post University launches Emergency Management and Homeland Security program

With the countless threats facing our nation, from ISIS to Ebola, and many more, there’s never been a greater need for individuals with emergency management and homeland security training.

An emergency situation on a close street. Post University’s new Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security program offers students the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to start an exciting career in the interrelated fields of emergency management and homeland security.  The program covers “all hazards” that threaten the safety and security of our nation, including natural disasters and terrorism.  These threats are examined within the context of the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

To ready our students for a career in these demanding fields, students are challenged to make critical decisions in simulated disaster scenarios, take part in an internship at an emergency management or homeland security related agency, and, as part of the senior year emergency planning project, write a comprehensive emergency plan addressing a defined hazard.  As a result, graduates will not just possess a diploma upon completion of the program, but, more importantly, they will be career ready.

In these increasingly turbulent times, there is a growing job market and high demand for individuals with this skillset.  Here are five reasons why a degree in emergency management and homeland security is so relevant today:

  1. Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the fields of emergency management and homeland security have been intertwined and the two remain critical to the safety and security of our nation.  The events of that horrific day proved the need for the two fields to work closely together to secure our nation.  Shortly after these events, the Department of Homeland Security was organized with part of its mission to prevent terrorism and enhance security and maintain the nation’s resiliency to disasters (Department of Homeland Security, 2012).  Emergency management and homeland security professionals make up the nation’s local, state, and federal efforts to help ensure that mission is carried out.
  2. Our country remains more vulnerable than ever.   Our enemies are not willing to engage in conventional warfare with the U.S. military, so they must attack us asymmetrically, using terrorist tactics or by engaging in cyber-attacks on our nation’s information infrastructure.  The Boston Marathon bombing was a prime example of how a terrorist act could disrupt life in an entire metropolitan area.  Further affecting the nation’s vulnerability, illegal immigrants are crossing our southern border on an increasing basis.  Lastly, there is a deep concern in our government that terrorists groups are partnering with transnational criminal organizations to share resources and further profit from illicit activity (Rollins, 2013).  This increasing vulnerability has underscored the need for emergency management and homeland security professionals to help keep our nation secure.
  3. There have been consistent terrorist attacks or attempted terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001.  Most alarming are the recent news accounts of the brutal tactics of terrorist groups such as ISIS, who are more determined than ever to kill U.S. citizens (Levs, 2014).  Of course, there is always a concern that weapons of mass destruction have fallen into the hands of these terrorist groups.  This has created more of an urgency to secure the homeland from the terrorist threat.
  4. Studies have shown a connection between global climate change and the increasing impact of natural disasters in the United States (Karl, 2009).  Hurricane Katrina came ashore in 2005, devastating the Gulf Coast region and exposing the harsh reality that government at the local, state, and federal levels were wholly unprepared to respond to a disaster of its magnitude (The Senate Commitee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2006).  Seven years later, in 2012, Superstorm Sandy struck the New England and Mid-Atlantic states causing widespread devastation and loss of life.  The cascading effects of the resulting storm surge caused widespread flooding, failures in the power, fuel supply and transportation systems, and, consequently, major business disruption throughout the region (Kunz, 2013).  Most importantly, Sandy reiterated the need for a robust emergency management system at the local, state, and federal levels.
  5. As the recent Ebola outbreak has shown, our increasingly global society, with frequent travel between countries and continents, may hasten the spread of viruses (MPR News, 2014).  Whether it is an Ebola outbreak or a bioterrorism attack involving Anthrax, Emergency Management and Homeland Security professionals play a key role in mitigating, preparing for, responding to and recovering from these types of crises.

References

Department of Homeland Security. (2012, December 17). Our Mission. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from Department of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov/our-mission

Karl, T. M. (2009). Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Cambridge University Press.

Kunz, M., Muhr, B., Klunz-Plapp, T., Daniell, J., Khazai, B., Wenzel, F.,…Zschau, J. (2013). Investigation of superstorm Sandy 2012 in a multi-disciplinary approach. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2579-2598.

Levs, J. &. (2014, September 22). Western allies reject ISIS leader’s threats against their civilians. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from CNN.com: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/22/world/meast/isis-threatens-west/

Rollins, J. &. (2013). Terrorism and Transnational Crime: Foreign Policy Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service.

The Associated Press. (2014, October 15). MPR News. Retrieved October 17, 2014, from Obama: Ebola monitoring must be ‘more aggressive’: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/10/15/ebola-cdc-monitoring-passengers

The Senate Commitee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. (2006). Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared, Executive Summary. The Senate Commitee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

 

David Jannetty is the Academic Program Manager for the John P. Burke School of Public Service B.S. in Emergency Management and Homeland Security program at Post University, and is a retired assistant deputy police chief with the Waterbury, CT Police Department.  Jannetty has 22 years of experience in law enforcement, emergency management, and school and workplace safety.

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