Veteran Employer Background – Government – U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security  |  |  |

Published in the March/April 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a federal cabinet department created in response to the September 11 attacks. Its primary responsibilities are to protect the territory of the United States and protectoratesfrom terrorist attacks and to respond to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters. While the Department of Defense is charged with military actions abroad, the Department of Homeland Security works in the domestic sphere, protecting the United States within, at, and outside its borders.

The DHS employs more than 240,000 men and women in jobs ranging from aviation and border security to emergency response, cybersecurity analysis, and chemical facility inspection. The department includes:

*  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

*  U.S. Customs and Border Protection

*  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

*  Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

*  United States Coast Guard

*  United States Secret Service

*  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

*  Advisory councils

*  Other components such as the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and  the Office of Health

Lawrence Orluskie is a director of communications for the DHS. He directs internal and external communications activities for the Management Directorate, and is the department’s spokesperson for matters involving budget, technology, procurement, and human capital.

Orluskie retired from the Air Force in 2001, after 24 years of service. He last served as an air staff action officer in the Pentagon, responsible for all public release of information regarding activities within the Air Force directorates of Personnel and International Affairs.

As a veteran, Orluskie understands how valuable his fellow veterans are to the DHS and why veterans will enjoy a career in which they still get to keep America secure. “The Department of Homeland Security has unique career opportunities that will challenge the mind and reward a prospective employee’s skills and talents,” he said. “Department employees help secure our borders, airports, seaports, and waterways; conduct research on and develop security technologies; respond to natural disasters and terrorists assaults; and analyze intelligence reports.”

He pointed out that veterans can pursue a variety of DHS jobs. “For example, our law enforcement operations offer positions in protection of the President, Vice President, their families, heads of state and other designated individuals; securing the nation’s borders; interagency law enforcement training; and enforcing economic, transportation, and infrastructure security,” he said. “One of our most important missions is safeguarding and securing cyberspace. Our National Protection and Programs Directorate is looking for skilled individuals with experience in engineering, information security technology, computer science, and program and technical management. Our acquisition workforce recruitment team is seeking people to fill challenging contract specialist positions. Veterans can be part of a team that procures more than $20 billion worth of goods and services annually in support of the department’s mission.”

The DHS has lofty goals when it comes to hiring veterans. “Because veterans play such an important role in our Department’s mission, Secretary Janet Napolitano set a goal to employ 50,000 veterans at DHS by the end of 2012,” Orluskie said. “We are proud that, thanks to the commitment of individuals across the department, we have reached that goal – more than a year ahead of schedule. Veterans now comprise 25 percent of our civilian workforce, in addition to the 49,000 active duty and reserve members of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Veterans are a natural fit for the DHS. “Our nation’s veterans possess unique talents, experiences, and dedication that are invaluable to our mission of securing the homeland,” Orluskie said. “As a department, we are committed to improving and increasing our veteran procurement opportunities and growing and sustaining our veteran workforce. They bring their talent and dedication to every corner of DHS. We have veterans serving as transportation security officers (TSO’s), Border Patrol agents, and headquarters support staff. Many of our department’s leaders are veterans, including Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, an Army veteran and the highest ranking veteran at DHS.”

Orluskie recommends that servicemembers begin thinking about their post-military career long before leaving active duty. “I began to think about my next career about mid-way through my military career,” he said. “I aligned my education and training for what would come after military service. Veterans should realize how the talents, skills, and abilities developed during their military careers relate to business and industry. We leave the military with an abundance of leadership skills – at all ranks.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers