What is a Mission Support Specialist in Homeland Security?

Mission support specialists work for the Department of Homeland Security in a variety of positions. They usually provide technical, operational and administrative support to assigned business units and personnel. Mission support specialists have a lot of different job duties, but they almost always help leaders manage operational functions related to projects, budgets, scheduling, procurement and IT systems.

Mission Support Specialist – General

A general mission support specialist will be an important member of an administrative team who manages and enforces various policies, practices and programs. They provide advisory support, technical services, organizational insight and operational functions to field staff. They may create new or modify existing work methods, policy procedures and administrative programs.

They generally spend a large portion of their day developing and sharing reports, briefings and correspondence with coworkers and leaders to promote understanding, cooperation and implementation of recommendations. They may analyze programs to measure budget, employee, and departmental efficiency and performance. On any given day, they may process personnel action requests, update and share budget spreadsheets, train new employees, monitor vehicle programs and analyze workflows to identify problems.

Mission Support Specialist – Project Management

A mission support specialist who deals with project management will regularly create and share planning updates, duty requests and follow-up communication with staff. They will coordinate assigned team visits by being the primary point of contact for external partners and facilities. Depending upon the scope of the assessment, they may join field teams who are working on assigned projects outside the office. For example, they may help coordinate and set up a temporary office for a specific mission.

These mission support specialists may prepare travel arrangements and accommodations for visiting Homeland Security professionals. In order to accomplish this, they must use programs like the Defense Travel System (DTS) and follow departmental travel policies and restrictions. They may be asked to transmit security clearances for government and contractor employees for assigned missions. They may assist in preparation of routine documents, administrative reports and training requests.

Mission Support Specialist – Information Technology

An IT mission support specialist will handle a variety of computing duties. They may be involved with system information tasking, surveying, configuring and analysis. For example, they may interpret server and network system performance parameters and indicators. They may review information sharing activities to ensure compliance with confidentiality and privacy regulations. They provide value, security and performance assessments based on data collection trends.

These mission support specialists must maintain knowledge of departmental strategic objects and prioritized mission needs. They may partner with system designers and engineers to integrate and deploy enhanced system functions and capabilities. They are expected to have experience in technical areas like system analysis, telecommunications, network systems, telephone switching programs, Internet communication protocols and mobile technology. They may develop operational strategies and policy recommendations to optimize and streamline data collection.

Related Resource: 5 Careers in Security Management

Mission support specialists may be assigned to work for Customers and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and even the United States Secret Service.