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National Homeland Security Conference Offers Collaborative Opportunities

by Nadav Morag, Ph.D.

CTU Homeland Security Degree - National Conference This past May, I was honored to present on Israeli counterterrorism and homeland security policy at the 2014 National Homeland Security Conference in Philadelphia.

The National Homeland Security Conference started in 2012 and is organized by the National Homeland Security Association.  It is of the most important annual events for homeland security practitioners and specialists from around the country, in large part because of the collaborative opportunities offered. 

The Philadelphia conference included key note presentations by Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), General Charles Jacoby, head of US Northern Command (the US regional military command responsible for homeland defense), and Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  All of them spoke about the importance of coordination within the homeland security enterprise, which covers disciplines such as: intelligence, law enforcement, emergency management, public health, critical infrastructure protection, border and transportation security, and others, as well as all levels of government: federal, state, local, and tribal.  FEMA Deputy Administrator Manning also spoke about the importance of education in enhancing practitioner capabilities within the homeland security enterprise.

At CTU, we’re addressing this issue through our homeland security program offerings at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral levels. Though homeland security is also a field where experience counts, education can help prepare you for situations that may arise, and other logistics involved with various homeland security roles.

The conference was organized along ten tracks:

  • Responding to unplanned events
  • Training for preparedness
  • Program management and sustainment
  • Role of the State Administrative Agent (SAA)
  • The emergency medical response community
  • Port and transit security
  • Enhancing emergency capabilities
  • Intelligence and information-sharing
  • Partnerships for the whole community
  • National counterterrorism center

Each track involved presentations on topics ranging from radiological disasters, the use of simulations, the response to active shooter incidents, to disaster logistics, data science for risk management and how science and technology are enhancing response and recovery capabilities.

Since homeland security represents the ultimate collective effort between disparate disciplines and different levels of government and jurisdictions, conferences such as this are critical in creating a collaborative environment.  In the homeland security field, it is very rare to find situations in which one individual or agency has complete authority over an issue and consequently “doing” homeland security primarily involves developing personal relationships and enhancing collaboration and cooperation, and events such as this are designed to assist in that process.

For those in the homeland security field – how do you collaborate with others?

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaluasi/