— Volume VIII (2012) —

Perceptual Framing of Homeland Security


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Linda Kiltz

Dr. Linda Kiltz is an assistant professor of public administration in the Master of Public Administration Program at Texas A & M Corpus Christi. She teaches graduate courses in public administration, homeland security policy, terrorism and counter terrorism, emergency management, administrative law, program evaluation, strategic planning, policy analysis, human resource management, research methods, and the MPA Capstone. Dr. Kiltz is the Program Director for the university’s Graduate Certificate Program in Homeland Security, which she designed, developed, and implemented in 2010. Dr. Kiltz’s research interests include measuring and evaluating community resilience, developing a theory of homeland security, and analyzing how new technologies can be integrated into homeland security and emergency management operations. Dr. Kiltz may be contacted at Linda.Kiltz@tamucc.edu.

James D. Ramsay

James D. (Jim) Ramsay is currently a certified safety professional, professor, and coordinator of the Homeland Security Program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which he began in 2006. He teaches courses in emergency management, environmental security, strategic planning, exercise design and evaluation, and terrorism. Dr. Ramsay was recently appointed by the US secretary of Health and Human Services to serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors to the director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in the CDC. Dr Ramsay also serves on the board of directors for ABET, Inc. and on the Education Standards Committees for both the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), where he also chairs the committee. Dr. Ramsay may be contacted at ramsa301@erau.edu.

This article analyzes the phenomenon of homeland security through the development of four conceptual lenses that were created out of the existing literatures in criminal justice, public administration, organization behavior, risk management, international relations, and the overlap between them. Using terrorism as a proxy for the homeland security enterprise, these conceptual lenses include: (1) homeland security as a criminal justice problem which views terrorism as a crime; (2) homeland security as a international relations problem which views terrorism as a war; (3) homeland security as an organization design problem which views terrorism as a network of sub-state transnational actors; and (4) homeland security as a collaborative nexus which views terrorism as a complex mixture of social, political, economic, and environmental issues; that is, lens 4 represents an overlap of lenses 1-3. Each conceptual lens consists of theories, practices, values, beliefs, and assumptions that serve to shape how homeland security is conceptualized. We recognize that homeland security is a broad field applied science that incorporates natural, technological, and manmade hazards and threats. Perhaps to best exemplify the complex and evolving nature of the homeland security enterprise, terrorism can be an effective proxy for how homeland security might be conceptualized and how a theoretical foundation might be structured. These conceptual lenses highlight how perceptual filters can significantly alter how individuals and organizations understand and explain phenomena or events.

Read full article.

Kiltz, Linda, and James D. Ramsay. “Perceptual Framing of Homeland Security.” Homeland Security Affairs 8, Article 16 (August 2012)