By Claudia Ugbana
The College’s homeland security program discussed the latest security threats the U.S. faces, as well as career pathways for students interested in homeland security fields, on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. in the West Hall Parkview Rooms.
Homeland security program coordinator, Christopher Drew, introduced each speaker before their presentation.
“I organized the event to give our students the opportunity to hear from national security professionals on current topics affecting the homeland, as well as career and internship opportunities available to them,” Drew said.
Guest speakers who spoke at the event were professor of national security at New Jersey City University, Dr. Michael Krantz; director of the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC), Michael Geraghty; principal consultant at AT&T-FirstNet, John Cracolici; and Deputy Director of Center for Partnership and Innovation at National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Dr. Lynn Costantini.
Cracolici opened the summit with a presentation on secure and guaranteed communications within public safety agencies.
“Public safety has had issues for a 100 years with just radio systems. Moving forward, the transformation of public safety systems started about two years ago. Looking at all the faces here, this is probably the best time to get involved with public safety,” Cracolici said.
He said it was his response to the 9/11 attacks that helped kick-start his career in public safety.
Following Cracolici’s presentation, Dr. Lynn Costantini spoke on her experience in the cyber workforce.
Costantini said she was going to change the topic of her presentation slightly. Originally, she was supposed to speak on women in the cyber workforce.
“I’m so happy to see all the young women sitting around this table today, because there’s so few of us. But what I thought I would talk about how I became all of those things I am. I got my undergraduate degree in economics, I wanted to be an investment banker.
“But while I was getting my MBA, I worked part time at a company that also happened to be a company that wrote regulations for the power grid. I didn’t know anything about this. While I had never intended to go into cyber security, because I paid attention to what was going on around me, I found that I had an interest and decided to stay with that company,” she said.
Costantini said that she looked up to counter-intelligence expert, Richard Clarke, who mentored her in the early stages of her career.
“He was willing to be my mentor whether he knew it or not. He gave me the tools I needed to start my career. The power system is one of the most critical system of all the critical infrastructures. The power system today is much more secure than it was before,” she said.
Dr. Michael Krantz then held a presentation on current homeland security threats.
Krantz said when he was asked to speak on the current homeland security threats, what immediately came to his mind was looking at homeland-grown violent extremists, international terrorists and internal crime syndicates.
“Everything I tried to develop, write and implement has to do with human nature. What I mean by that is that in a lot of ways you don’t need me to tell you what the current homeland security threats are. You see them on the news every day, you see them on your social media, or you can look it up and the FBI will have a full report for you.
“What will separate you from other graduates will hopefully be your ability to think and demonstrate the competency that will enable you to do the things that some of the experts in this room are doing,” Krantz said.
Geraty did a presentation on cyber threats and the issues facing New Jersey and the U.S.
“NJCCIC is a component organization within the Office of Homeland Security, which is responsible for ensuring the state of New Jersey is more resilient and more prepared for cyber security attacks. My job in homeland security is not only to secure the network of the state, but also every organization within the state of New Jersey.
“When I say homeland security, when I say cyber security, five years from now instead of just having first responders that consist of just police officers, EMT’s, paramedics, medics or firemen, we are going to have cyber first responders,” he said.
Geraty said that students interested in starting jobs in homeland security could start with unpaid internships and, if retained by the company, would move on to part-time positions paying $20 per hour, and eventually gain full-time positions within the NJCCIC.
Drew said over 50 people attended the summit.