Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
TSA continues to grow as a risk-based, intelligence-driven counterterrorism agency dedicated to securing the U.S. transportation system. Within TSA, the Office of Global Strategies works globally to identify, analyze, and mitigate risk as it pertains to international and U.S. transportation systems. The U.S. Government uses security assistance to mitigate risk to the United States and U.S. interests abroad. Security sector assistance—also referred to as “security cooperation”—is any foreign assistance that enables allies and partner nations to address shared security interests and develop their own security capacity, consistent with principles of good governance and rule of law. It is an important tool in America’s toolbox and encompasses the policies, programs, and activities to help foreign partners build and sustain effective capacity in the security sector. Providing effective security assistance builds self-reliance and in theory, reduces the need for U.S. security investments over time.
The Transportation Security Sector Assistance (TSSA) Program maintains a portfolio of various development activities that are designed to enable a foreign country to build aviation security capacity to meet or exceed international aviation security standards. Security assistance is flexible and can take the form of courses and workshops, technical assistance, program development, equipment, mentoring, and leadership engagement. TSSA Interns work out of a Washington, DC-based international office and are able to develop, hone, and practice real skills in research and analysis. At the beginning of the internship, TSSA Interns sit down with a senior subject matter expert to discuss and help shape the project they will be working on during their internship. Each TSSA Intern project is unique and directly contributes to the homeland security mission of the United States. TSSA internships offer an opportunity to develop marketable skills for careers in foreign affairs or homeland security, as well as research- and analytic-based careers. All interns must submit to a background investigation prior to onboarding with TSSA.
Requirements: U.S. Citizenship is required. If selected for the internship, perspective interns must: 1) Successfully complete background check, fingerprinting process, and internship forms; the background check process can take several weeks therefore it’s important to submit all paperwork in a timely manner 2) Provide latest official transcripts
Positions are located at TSA Headquarters in Arlington, VA – conveniently located opposite the Pentagon City Metro station on the Blue or Yellow Metro rail lines.
2017 Intern Reflection:
My internship at the TSA this summer was a fantastic learning experience. Within TSA, I worked at the Office of Global Strategy (OGS), which is involved in international aviation security and works with all airports that are Last Point of Departures (LPDs) for flights to the United States. This internship coincided with an extraordinarily busy time at OGS as Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly announced the implementation of new enhanced security measures at all LPDs in place of the so-called “laptop ban.” Although my own work did not deal with these new measures, I was able to observe the impact they had on my colleagues and see the grittier details of how policy gets put into practice.
The team I worked for at OGS is responsible for Capacity Development. This team delivers training programs across the globe, and I was tasked with evaluating these training programs and finding ways they could be better tailored to their audiences. This work was fascinating (and complicated!) as it combined counter-terrorism security and foreign assistance. TSA is constantly looking for ways to improve, so they eagerly welcomed the fresh, outside perspective I was able to provide. As the only intern in my office, I was treated as an equal and given a rather substantial project with high expectations. At the same time, my colleagues were open, funny, and easygoing. They supported me at every step and made sure I got a complete picture of what the TSA does beyond OGS. Having been given a large degree of trust, I was pleasantly surprised to find I could contribute significantly to the organization and have a meaningful impact.
Philip Terwisscha van Scheltinga '19