Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (DES) director, today announced Darin Hanson will serve as the state’s director of Homeland Security. In that role, he will provide vision, leadership and direction to a Homeland Security team of about 60 employees. The agency’s mission is to provide North Dakota with a central coordinating agency for public safety communications, prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery, including during emergencies and natural disasters.
“Darin brings a strong background to his new role as North Dakota Homeland Security director. In his previous position, Darin lead and coordinated the state’s programs and policies on critical infrastructure security. He has shown that he is able to work with a broad spectrum of partners across all levels of government, as well as nonprofit organizations and the private sector,” said Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general and DES director. “Even more importantly, Darin embraces a culture of collaboration and teamwork, the cornerstone of everything we do in emergency management.”
Hanson, of Mandan, North Dakota, has been employed with North Dakota Homeland Security and has worked within the State and Local Intelligence Center for more than eight years. As the Critical Infrastructure Program and security manager, he helped initiate a cyber security task force in North Dakota. He also was instrumental in founding the statewide CyberCon event, which is a cybersecurity and critical information conference held in partnership with Bismarck State College. Hanson has also forged relationships with school safety security partners in North Dakota, including with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. His duties also included routinely conducting site visits throughout the state to advise on critical infrastructure security measures.
Hanson succeeds former director Cody Schulz who accepted an appointment by Gov. Doug Burgum as the Parks and Recreation director on Oct. 11, 2021. Homeland Security has been guided by interim Debbie LaCombe since then.
“Darin has been a true asset to the agency over the years. I and the staff here at DES are thrilled that Darin has been named as our director of Homeland Security,” LaCombe said. “Darin has the energy and curiosity needed to successfully lead us in fulfilling our mission and vision and upholding the values of not only our agency, but the State of North Dakota, as well.”
A graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck, Hanson holds a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration. He served in the Montana Army National Guard for more than 20 years, achieving the rank of sergeant first class. He deployed to Afghanistan from 2012-2013, working at a tactical operations center while also leading an intel section within a military police unit. He also spent more than a year in Alaska working in law enforcement.
In January 2021, Hanson earned his master’s degree in Security Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS). While there, he joined Homeland Security officials from across the nation for an 18-month curriculum and authored a thesis titled, “Normalizing Cybersecurity: Improving Cyber Incident Response with the Incident Command System.”
"I am both excited and honored for the opportunity to continue my service to the State alongside a team of emergency management professionals that continue proving they are among the best in the nation,” Hanson said. “I am grateful for the opportunity and the confidence that has been placed in me. The Homeland Security team will continue our whole-of-community focus to ensure a safe and secure homeland for all North Dakotans.”
The Division of Homeland Security is part of DES, along with the Division of State Radio, which coordinates 9-1-1 services, as well as emergency medical, fire and law enforcement response. It is the primary dispatch service for the N.D. Highway Patrol and services 25 counties across the state. For more information, visit des.nd.gov.