Homeland Security Advisors Series: Part III - Border Security with Director Gil Orrantia (Arizona)

Homeland security advisors (HSAs) are the sole representative for the Governor to the US Department of Homeland Security. Although there is no one model for the HSA position, all HSAs are responsible for implementing the state’s homeland security mission, receiving classified threat information, and acting on behalf of the Governor in the event of a disaster or emergency. Despite the critical role HSAs play, little is known about the position. The Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC) is conducting a podcast mini-series through the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Intelligence. Unclassified. The first episode of the podcast will provide an overview of the role of the HSA, discuss how HSAs interact with their governors, and identify how states play a role in homeland security. The remaining six episodes of the podcast will focus on specific threats HSAs face in their jurisdictions. The goal of this podcast series is to provide more awareness about homeland security advisors and the state role in homeland security.

Join Director of Intelligence Rosemary Martorana as she speaks to Arizona Homeland Security Director Gil Orrantia on issues related to border security and his experiences as the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC) chair. 




Gilbert Orrantia became the Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security in June, 2009. Prior to heading Arizona’s Homeland Security efforts at the State, he served in the FBI for 26 years.

Director Orrantia brings a national and global perspective on counterterrorism that is gained from vast counterterrorism experience including the supervision of an FBI counterterrorism squad in Phoenix and serving eight years as a Supervisory Special Agent. For four years he helped lead the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Phoenix, Arizona located at Arizona’s fusion center, known as the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC).

Recognized as an expert in investigations of terrorism, drugs and violent crimes, Director Orrantia’s successful FBI law enforcement career is reflected in the numerous awards and commendations he received. Among them are two of the FBI’s highest commendations: the Medal of Valor and the FBI Star. These awards were made to Director Orrantia for his role in the deadliest firefight in FBI history: a gun battle known as the “Miami Shootout” in which two fellow FBI agents were killed.

Director Orrantia has lectured to members of the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia on officer safety and survival and continues to share his expertise in surviving a deadly encounter with numerous law enforcement agencies.

Director Orrantia currently serves as the Chair of the National Governors Association Homeland Security Advisors Council and also serves as the Co-Chair of the Governor’s Arizona Human Trafficking Council.

Director Orrantia, a native Arizonan who is fluent in Spanish, was raised in Mesa, Arizona. He is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.