National security is never far from the public consciousness: between the recent stand-off over a proposed American border wall with Mexico, controversy over refugees and immigration here in Canada and even popular media like 24 and Jack Ryan, it remains one of the most visible responsibilities of government. The apparatus responsible for our protection is maintained by many interlinking organizations, each with a constant need for driven, imaginative employees versed in the latest strategies and techniques. Wilfrid Laurier University’s first-of-its-kind online Master of Public Safety degree offers an optional specialization in National Security and is attracting some of the brightest undergraduates and mid-career professionals in the field as they seek to rise to leadership roles.
In today’s article, we’ll be exploring some of the organizations currently seeking Canadian national security degree graduates, and the roles and responsibilities of the positions available.
Who hires national security degree graduates?
Online national security degree graduates acquire a firm foundation in key field concepts, such as:
“Rule of Law” and the role of justice systems in its maintenance, including how legal systems and sociopolitical context impact its health
- Understanding of present global threats from terrorism, hostile states and organized crime, and the methodological tools governments apply to stymie them
- Evidence-based decision-making
- The role of technology and analytics
- Innovative and creative leadership and policy-making
These skills are broadly applicable to many roles within Canada’s security agencies. These agencies include:
- Public Safety Canada (PSC): The government ministry charged with coordinating public, private and community stakeholders to facilitate emergency response and prevention. Roughly analogous to the American Department of Homeland Security, degree holders are often hired to fill PSC roles as analysts.
- Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Forces: The DND is a military organization which nonetheless offers a wide variety of civilian jobs for analysts and other experts. The DND has direct responsibility for armed response to foreign aggression and has a well-respected counter-terrorism unit (CTU). It also collects and maintains security data.
- Communications Security Establishment (CSE): CSE is charged with protecting Canadian government telecommunications from being intercepted by foreign powers, as well as the gathering of intelligence captured from foreign signals.
- Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS): The Canadian equivalent of the CIA, CSIS activities are perhaps the most heavily-classified of any governmental body. From espionage to border security screening programs, CSIS is intimately involved with Canada’s national security.
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP): The national police force, RCMP officers enforce the law and investigate crimes (which may have serious national security implications). There are many positions in the RCMP related to international crime, espionage or terrorism where a national security background is integral.
- Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada (CISC): Working closely with the RCMP, CISC maintains a vast database of criminal intelligence on organized crime, and helps law enforcement access information relevant to public safety. It also operates local bureaus in each province.
Please see the bottom of this article for links to each agency’s website.
What kinds of jobs can national security degree graduates obtain?
Per Monster.ca, the most common national security jobs include the following:[i]
Intelligence Gathering and Analysis: These roles include analysts, researchers and investigators, as well as more specialized positions involving cryptanalysis, psychology and translation.
- IT/Technology: Candidates who are able to combine the skills conferred by a national security degree with expertise in data mining, cryptology and network management will find many opportunities.
- Support and Administration: These jobs include human resources, administration and communications duties, some of which will require strong familiarity with national security concepts and procedures.
- As of early 2019, listings via the Government of Canada’s GC Job Search[ii] included calls for Information Analysts; Emergency Management Analysts; External Communications Centre Operators; Training and Recruitment Coordinators; Program and Planning Officers and many other roles.
Starting your national security career
Laurier’s Master of Public Safety and National Security graduate diploma programs provide a unique entry point to the field. Please contact us today to chat with an enrollment advisor and browse our brochure, which includes an overview of the curriculum and learning goals.