— Volume VIII (2012) —

Waiting For Homeland Security Theory


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Christopher Bellavita

Christopher Bellavita teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. An instructor with twenty years experience in security planning and operations, he serves as the director of academic programs for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Where is the theory supporting the academic discipline of homeland security? Does homeland security need a single unifying theory? Does the lack of a “grand” theory mean the discipline lacks conceptual precision? How do instructors in this discipline provide rigorous conceptual foundations for what we teach if there is no underlying theory to support academic research in this field? These are the questions posed by Christopher Bellavita in an imagined four-part conversation. The participants explore the meaning of “theory,” the extent to which homeland security draws on theories from other disciplines, and how having a single theory might (or might not) strengthen the academic discipline. At the heart of this conversation are several important questions that need to be answered: how is “theory” defined, who develops this theory, and how do the various disciplines involved in this field view the enterprise of homeland security? Finally, is a “theory” of homeland security really necessary?

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Bellavita, Christopher. “Waiting For Homeland Security Theory.” Homeland Security Affairs 8, Article 15 (August 2012)