Intelligence Work Protects Our Borders and the Country
This article is part of a series focusing on individuals who dedicate their careers to serving the public in honor of Public Service Recognition Week.
Frank Hooton is a Lieutenant with the Joint Operations Intelligence Center for the Texas Military Department (attached to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Ranger Division). He has been with the Texas State Guard for more than 5 years.
For the past 4 years, he has been on full-time active duty, providing intelligence analysis and intelligence coordination for a large unified command. Prior to his military service, he worked in the private sector around the southwest U.S., providing support to the military. Frank is currently pursuing his master’s degree in intelligence studies from American Military University.
We asked Frank why he chose a career in public service and how his work helps others.
What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
I wanted to make a difference and create a better world for my children and our country. I was working in the civilian world as a military project manager for a MARCOA, a company that publishes military base installation guides.
A fellow Guardsman asked me to “make a small sacrifice.” I left my private sector position and volunteered for full-time active duty to join a border security operation. It took a little convincing for my family to get onboard, especially since there were safety concerns.
I spent the first two years of my deployment along the Texas border, while my family remained in San Antonio. Now my family is here with me, and all the pieces have come together. My decision to leave the high-paying civilian world and serve my country in command of a JOIC has been an extremely fulfilling decision.
What do you wish you knew before going into this field?
I wish I’d known how much of a positive return and honor it would be to serve in this capacity. My agency’s role impacts many other agencies. Our work really extends far beyond the Texas border.
What is the most satisfying and/or enjoyable part of your career?
The most satisfying part of my job is helping make Texas—and the country as a whole—safer by providing good intelligence and enhancing awareness of threats.
Is there a moment or incident that you reflect upon fondly as being highly representative of why you pursued this career in the first place?
Our work is restricted, so I can’t provide details, but recently my team of analysts picked up on some key details from one of our partners which could have easily been overlooked as “insignificant.”
Fortunately, my team is extremely thorough. Their tenaciousness resulted in identifying some specific details that resulted in bringing attention to some bad people and not giving them the opportunity to present a threat to the state.
What impact does your work have on American citizens?
Our work keeps our country safer by identifying threats and those people who wish harm to our country. Our agency works daily with multiple agencies—local, state and federal—to coordinate efforts to keep bad folks at bay.
What advice would you give others pursuing a similar career?
Take the leap and do it! It is extremely rewarding to know each day that what you do makes a difference. The intelligence field has many career areas and many levels of opportunity.
All of those careers are necessary to develop the pieces that define the overall picture of U.S. security. When you develop a key piece, it is extremely satisfying.
To learn more about Frank’s work and his recent collaboration with the United States Coast Guard, read this article: