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Career in national security

  1. Aug 28, 2008 #1
    I'm an EE major and I kind of want to go into a job where my skills can be used to make this country safer against terrorism. I understand that the risk of terrorism is small, but the consequences of a chemical, biological, or radiological strike would be unspeakable. I want to prevent such nightmarish scenarios.

    So what could I do for a career? I mentioned sensing. Would that be a good career choice? Developing sensors that can pick up on gamma rays or use spectroscopy to detect harmful chemicals before they're released sounds pretty good.

    I especially want to work to prevent nuclear terrorism. So what could an EE major do? What technologies are being developed? What about airborne or space-based sensor systems?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    There's all kinds of options- the FBI, National Labs, Military labs... get thee to your career office and inquire.
  4. Aug 28, 2008 #3
    Another possible route might be to consider working for the International Atomic Energy Agency who are related to the UN, its not such a direct path to your own national security, but is still very important work, for the world as a whole.
  5. Aug 28, 2008 #4
    You could always sign up for the terrorist groups, then sabotage them from the inside...
  6. Aug 28, 2008 #5
    The CIA,NSA,DoD..etc. has a very high demand for engineers.

    You could get a M.S or Ph.D and get some work at say LANL or LLNL.
  7. Aug 29, 2008 #6
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone here know what developments are being made in nuclear detection technology? Is there anything like, say, an airborne sensor that can detect the tiniest amount of highly enriched uranium, even if its shielded behind a large amount of lead, in a bustling metropolis like NYC from thousands of feet in the air? Are any developments being made towards that kind of technology?
  8. Aug 29, 2008 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    I would be remiss in pointing out that the armed services would be delighted to have you.
  9. Aug 29, 2008 #8
    Government-wise, look into the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and (especially) the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; you should just list all their open positions on usajobs.com and see what the generic engineering jobs look like. DHS also has a Nuclear Detection Office, and State I believe has a counterproliferation office, but most things there aren't entry-level. The Homeland Security Institute (DHS's think tank) does a lot of work on domestic CBRN threats, but they're mostly PhD level and not doing technology development. And as others have mentioned, the relevant national labs (in particular, PNNL and Sandia, plus LLNL, LANL, probably others).

    There are undoubtedly dozens if not hundreds of contractors out there competing for dollars from congresspersons whose constituents have bought into the "unspeakable" rhetoric on CBR; I can't give you specific names offhand, but some creative Googling should show some (and maybe look at the web sites of the various offices I listed above and see if they have reports or mention of contractors).

    Oh, and detecting alpha decay behind a few sheets of paper is nigh on impossible, to say nothing of lead.
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