Notes from the Editor (Vol. VI, Iss. 2)

Download the full issue. Academic homeland security programs have proliferated in the past eight years, with more than 270 colleges and universities in the United States offering certificates and degrees in homeland security and related areas. How have (and are) these programs developing? What goes into creating a viable homeland security degree, whether at the associate, undergraduate, or graduate level? What might the future hold in store? Should academic homeland security develop an accreditation process? Should we, as homeland security professionals, adhere to a professional oath? These are the questions addressed by the authors contributing to this issue’s special section on homeland security education.

At the instigation of Jim Ramsay, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Homeland Security Affairs asked educators from across the country to tell us how their institutions have tackled the difficult task of creating a thoughtful and responsive homeland security degree program. Gregory Moore, Kelley Cronin, Mary Breckenridge, and John Hatzadony discuss the challenges and advantages of “Homeland Security-Related Education and the Private Liberal Arts College,” relating the curriculum-development process at Notre Dame College. With certificate and undergraduate degree programs established and a graduate degree program awaiting approval, these authors argue that smaller institutions are able to adapt more quickly to changes in the marketplace, creating effective partnerships between faculty, administration, and practitioners.

Acknowledging the need to meet workplace demands with educated homeland security professionals, Jim Ramsay, Robert Raffel, and Daniel Cutrer ask if the lack of an accreditation system and established educational outcomes complicate or even weaken the program development process. Their article, “Development of an Outcomes-Based Undergraduate Curriculum in Homeland Security,” reviews existing homeland security programs and presents the results of a Delphi study using practicing professionals in a variety of homeland security areas as subject matter experts. Based on that study, the authors are able to elucidate a set of core academic areas and student learning outcomes that could characterize the intellectual underpinnings of the discipline and a set of outcomes upon which an undergraduate degree program could be based.

At the graduate level, Kansas State University and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College are collaborating to create a Homeland Security Graduate Degree Program. This collaborative process is described by Cheryl Polson, John Persyn, and O. Shawn Cupp in “Partnership in Progress: A Model for Development of a Homeland Security Graduate Degree Program.” The authors first provide the historical context, briefly tracing the evolution of homeland security graduate education since 2001. They then review the existing literature on the fundamental components of such programs as identified by experts and scholars. Finally, the collaborative process being used by their institutions is outlined, offering a useful model for other homeland security graduate degree programs.

Looking beyond the specifics of curriculum, degrees, and specialization, Philip Palin suggests that homeland security needs to develop the characteristics of a true profession. In “Homeland Security: An Aristotelian Approach to Professional Development,” Palin argues that these characteristics can be cultivated through the Aristotelian process of understanding change, principled reasoning on the influence of our actions, and disciplined reflection on the outcomes of that action. Other professions – specifically medicine and law – have established oaths to which their practitioners adhere. Should homeland security have the same?

It seems fitting that, in an issue devoted to homeland security education, we offer two articles from graduates of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Each of these articles draws on research conducted for the master’s thesis.

“No Dark Corners: A Different Answer to Insider Threats” presents the findings of Nick Catrantzos’ research using a Delphi method to uncover flaws in traditional defenses against hostile insiders. These findings suggest that infiltrators pose a greater threat to critical infrastructure than disgruntled insiders. Catrantzos proposes a system by which the narrow laser beam of workplace monitoring only by corporate sentinels be replaced with a broad flashlight beam wielded by employees engaged on the front lines, at the team level. The No Dark Corners method addresses gaps in traditional insider defenses, leaving hostile infiltrators with fewer places to hide.

In “Firefighters and Information Sharing: Smart Practice or Bad Idea,” former Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Heirston looks at the pros and cons of using firefighters in intelligence gathering. Through the analysis of four domestic and international information-sharing systems, Heirston confirms that U.S. fire personnel should participate in terrorism-related information sharing at defined levels. To do this effectively, firefighters need to be provided with information on threat levels, target hazards, and methods of attack.

Finally, in a Letter to the Editor entitled “Twelve Questions Answered,” Samuel H. Clovis, Jr. responds to Christopher Bellavita’s “Changing Homeland Security: Twelve Questions from 2009,” published in the January 2010 issue of Homeland Security Affairs.

As always, we offer these essays and articles in the hopes of stimulating debate about the evolving field of homeland defense and security. Please address your questions and comments to

The Editor

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