Christopher O’Halloran – Anthropology ’89

O'Halloran Chris

Department of Homeland Security

Network Operations Director

Back when I was a kid and Indiana Jones was first introduced in the movies, all I wanted to be was a whip cracking, smart talking and butt kicking Archaeologist.

I graduated from Longwood College with a BS in Anthropology in 1989 fully believing I was on my way to completing my dream. The ink was barely dry on the sheep skin when I headed out to the Southwest and worked for a number of archaeology companies on just about any project I could. Bouncing around the 4 Corners region, I worked on/off “the Rez” and eventually found myself in Panama and was offered a position with the Smithsonian a few weeks before the US invasion to remove Manuel Noriega….this put a full halt on the job offer as the entire project was full of uncertainty.

After a couple of years of contract archaeology where I trenched, scraped, surveyed, created grids/artifact topologies, drew stratum surfaces, left artifacts “in-situ” for the PHD’s to present to the project lead, researched, performed lab work and did all the grunt work of a non-masters/non-PHD archaeologist (which frankly was really the best part) – and between the numerous contracts, waited tables, bar tended, bar backed and did roofing work, I decided that Archaeology needed to take a back burner when Desert Storm continued. I enlisted in the US Coast Guard assigned to ships in the Caribbean and on shore in several coastal states for the next decade. I eventually transitioned into the reserves and still continue to serve.

I finally returned to Virginia and found other opportunities to serve applying cultural anthropology skills in DC working for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in my civilian career managing the computer networks for the Department and all the components – that is the cultural anthropology part – working for the government is no different than attempting to understand the culture nuances of a society that remained undisturbed and unknown for thousands of years. I remain in the CG reserves and am completing a tour of duty with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the Coast Guard Liaison Officer to NATO HQ in Norfolk where I was involved in several US maritime law enforcement initiatives with European allies. I am heading to the far reaches of Baltimore Maryland for a new assignment where I will direct the environmental planning and response department on duty weekends.

I went on to earn a MS in Leadership: Crisis Management/Disaster Preparedness from Grand Canyon University and am continuing my scholarship endeavors in the Joint Professional Military Education Program at the Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island.

I give a lot of credit to Jim Jordan for the focus and discipline that he encouraged in the anthropology program.

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