College to offer security degree

Tied to war on terrorism, AACC program breaks new ground in Maryland


Anne Arundel Community College will unveil a homeland security degree program this fall, one of several new courses of study designed to train workers for the region's growing law enforcement and security industries.

The associate's degree in homeland security management aims to prepare students for jobs as police officers, emergency responders, port security personnel and other security positions, as well as for university degrees that could lead to careers in the FBI and other federal agencies.

So far, 60 students have registered for the degree's inaugural class, "Introduction to Homeland Security." Because the program is unique in the state, any Maryland resident can take the courses at the in-county tuition rate of $86 per credit hour, according to college officials and a spokeswoman for the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Fall classes start Aug. 28.

Several panelists will speak tonight about the growth of homeland security and intelligence job opportunities in the region at the college's Arnold campus.

Tyrone Powers, director of the school's Institute for Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Public Service, said homeland security training should be required for anyone entering law enforcement or related fields after the Sept. 11 attacks because those officers are now "first responders in the war on terrorism.

"Unfortunately, this is not going to go away," said Powers, a former FBI agent. "At some point, we're definitely going to experience another terrorist attack somewhere in the U.S. That's not fear-mongering, that's just a fact. ... We have to prepare the young people who are coming up. It's a matter of academics, sure, but it's also a matter of everybody being involved in securing the nation."

Past and current employees at the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, and other experts will teach many of the courses. Courses will include a survey on weapons of mass destruction, border and transportation security, cyber-forensics, and intelligence analysis.

"We are here to serve the community -- that includes providing traditional transfer programs, but also programs preparing a work force in Anne Arundel County," said Kathleen Happ, dean of the college's School of Business, Computing and Technical Studies. "Because of where the county is located, with NSA here and close to Washington and Baltimore, much of that has grown into studying technology and responding to 9/11."

The homeland security degree is being added a year after a course of study was launched in information systems security, which already has enrolled 94 students.

That program is run with a grant from the National Science Foundation that funds similar programs at about 14 area institutions, including community colleges, universities and regional high schools, said Fred Klappenberger, chairman of the college's computer information systems department.

"There is a tremendous need for these skills in the country, in the federal government, state government, commercially for contractors who have contracts with the federal government, banks, insurance companies and any place where data [have] value," said

Tonight's panel discussion will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Room 219 at the Cade Center for Fine Arts. Information: 410-777-7390.

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