Stopping terrorism means understanding how terrorists think. In the years since 9/11, public institutions, from government agencies to private firms, increasingly rely on trained counterterrorism experts to keep the public, the government and the business community safe. A degree in counterterrorism, whether a bachelor's, masters or doctorate, can open many career doors.
Intelligence Production and Analysis
Intelligence production and analysis experts at the National Counterterrorism Center perform in-depth analyses for policymakers, members of the intelligence community and law-enforcement agencies. They gather political, cultural, intelligence and historical information to identify possible threats against the United States. This job requires an ability to see patterns and connections amid various sources of information and a thorough knowledge of terrorist methods, weapons and tendencies. It also requires well-honed critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
A watchlister identifies potential terrorists based on information received from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and other intelligence agencies. He compares this information to federal terrorist records and databases and shares any findings about a suspect's identity, whereabouts and possible connections or plans involving other terror suspects. This job takes strong organizational skills and the ability to conduct thorough research, as well as the ability to compile reports so that law-enforcement agencies can take action.
A degree in counterterrorism could be the key to a career at the FBI's Counterterrorism Division. The bureau has several career paths within the division, from tracking international and domestic terror cells and tracing terrorist financing to identifying and countering terrorist weapons and tracking encrypted or foreign language communications. The bureau also has fly teams -- counterterrorism experts who act as first-responders to terrorist actions or threats.
Counterterrorism careers don't just exist in the government. Private firms and corporations employ counterterrorism experts as security agents and protection personnel. Corporate anti-terrorist careers include physical security, such as scanning visitors, to corporate offices and designing crash barriers or other deterrents at entrances; business continuity planning, which helps companies continue operating in the event of a terrorist action, such as biological attacks or suicide bombers; and counter-terrorism compliance, which ensures that security measures and information access is in line with federal anti-terror laws.