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Ten Tips for Security Professionals: Dealing with Occupy / Protest Activities at Government Buildings

2012 May 9
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

Photo Credit: Andre J. Jackson/Detroit Free Press

HLSR readers may recall that in an earlier post we discussed the evolution of the Occupy Movement and some of the causes which seem to have a nexus to the movement.  Hydraulic fracking, which as most have heard is a drilling technique involving the fracturing of deep underground rock to release oil and gas resources, continues to rise to the surface like fracked gas.  Those opposed to the technique contend that fracking has a deleterious impact on underground water resources and causes pollution.  Oil and gas advocates say that the technique has been in use for decades without any proven harm.  Whatever the case, Occupy movements are seizing upon the controversy to rally against corporate interests and further their cause(s).

Several individuals associated with the Occupy Movement in Michigan turned out with anti-fracking rallyers for a protest against an auction staged by the State of Michigan on Tuesday.  The state auctioned leases for oil and gas extraction to raise money for parks and recreation projects, but it wasn’t easy.  Protestors wielded signs, bucket-drums and noisy penny-filled water bottles to disrupt the proceedings.  Security and law enforcement officers from state and local agencies responded to the disturbance to maintain building access and safety.  Several individuals were removed from the public meeting by authorities and one arrest was reported.  The incident made news, spawning a Detroit Free Press article and some news and blog coverage, and some YouTube videos.

State and local homeland security professionals should be aware that Occupy Movement interests involve more than just “we are the 99%” slogans.  Occupy is developing a broader platform and may choose what would otherwise be a routine public meeting to send their message.  Information sharing among agencies is essential to keep security officials informed of pending meetings which could be the target of protests.  In addition to the obvious, here are ten things security professionals should consider when dealing with these types of protests at government buildings:

  1. Keep an eye on message boards where agencies announce public meetings.  Stay informed of issues that are contentious and look for meetings that may attract protest activity.
  2. Cultivate relationships with departmental officials in controversial government programs and encourage them to inform security of events that may attract protests.
  3. Coordinate with local law enforcement agencies ahead of controversial meetings and keep first responders informed of the potential for civil disturbances.
  4. Communicate with building tenants about what to expect before, during and after public meetings that may attract protests.
  5. Have a plan for maintaining emergency egress and ingress at buildings where protests occur.
  6. Review the Department of Justice’s Law Enforcement Guide for First Amendment Protected Events and discuss with response teams.
  7. Set boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable activities and clearly communicate those to protest coordinators and protestors as necessary.
  8. Know and understand the laws associated with trespass and civil disturbance ordinances that apply to your jurisdiction.
  9. Inform your Public Information Officers of the potential for media coverage of protest events and have a plan for what to tell the media.  Have this plan endorsed by the agency in charge of the event with which the protest is associated.
  10. And don’t assume the worst – most Occupy and other protestors want to send a message and are not there to hurt anyone, or damage property.  Deal with the criminals, but don’t criminalize the entire activity.  Your boss and your agency DO NOT want you to be this guy.

Security professionals sometimes forget that it is OK to get to know the people involved in protests and build some relationships.  Hand out some cards and you might gain valuable information, like a tip before they show up next time.  And who knows, you may even discover that you might just be in the 99% too…

Fliers, Spiers and Occupiers: Aerial Surveillance Technology and the Protest Movement

2012 May 4
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

Credit: The Propaganda Remix Project

In the Pacific Northwest a set of issues are converging that should have homeland security professionals grabbing for a Venti Caramel Machiatto and a newspaper. A brief recap of the pertinent events begins in February, when President Obama ordered the FAA to develop a plan for the coordination of civilian drone use in US airspace by 2015. Arguably this was an unavoidable bit of legislation, as drone use is already on the rise in a number of sectors, from agriculture to zoology. But the implications are not lost on individuals and groups that are concerned with privacy and civil liberties. And the potential applications for law enforcement and security are not lost on states and cities.

Fast forward to April 20th. The Seattle Times ran a front page article that resulted from a FOIA review of public documents conducted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and forwarded to the ACLU via a reporter. Seattle has purchased two helo-drones for city use, and became the first major city to gain FAA approval to operate them. According to officials, they are currently training operators and they will exercise caution in their deployment.

Additionally, last week the Associated Press reported that Janet Napolitano revealed during testimony in front of the US Senate that drone surveillance is underway on the Northern Border, and that drones are operating over a 950-mile area from North Dakota to Washington State. This story ran with some prominence in northern US states and Canada, but didn’t seem to make many ripples elsewhere.

Finally on May 1, the Occupy Movement staged a “General Strike” in a number of cities across the country, a direct action intended to reinvigorate the movement after the winter eviction doldrums. The City of Seattle saw significant protest activity on May Day which resulted in a number of arrests and continued action in the courts. Which leads to the issue which I believe represents the interesting convergence happening in Seattle.

What will be the effect of “total surveillance” of First Amendment-protected protest activity by unmanned drones?

Today’s surveillance technologies allow for high-resolution image capture of huge areas, this is what I call “total surveillance”, because the imagery captured could include everything visible for many city blocks, and the resolution can be of such quality that individuals can be identified. Mega-pixel cameras are capable of recording protest activity from set-up to clean-up, and officials can return to the imagery later to review the interesting bits of video from certain locations at certain times. I believe this new tool for domestic agencies is a game-changer, and it’s only a matter of time before all major cities are deploying this technology and recording major protest activity and other large events. Why wouldn’t they? You may begin to hear more about drone use during major events like the Olympics, major political summits, and even major sports and entertainment events like the Super Bowl as the technology becomes more widely available and less expensive.

Proponents of this type of surveillance make the point that the proposed images captured in such operations are of areas that are in public view, and that therefore there is no privacy issue. But this military-grade technology has enhanced capabilities that exceed that of the human eye and the images are recorded. Should this matter?

Here are three questions that I believe should be considered by policy makers at the federal, state and local levels as this new technology is deployed:

  • What, if anything, is the difference between these devices and building mounted cameras, personal video cameras, or YouTube videos from handheld phones?
  • How does “total surveillance” affect the First Amendment right to peaceful assembly?
  • What should be done with footage collected once the surveilled event is concluded peacefully?
  • Should other agencies have access to this data?

Fortunately, Seattle officials have indicated that there will be some transparency in their development of written procedures for drone deployment according to a release by the ACLU. This is a good idea, since what happens in Seattle is likely to serve as a model for the rest of the country.

New Contributor – Energy Sector!

2012 April 28
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

At the state and local levels, homeland security practitioners often emerge from a specific sector such as public safety, public health, information technology, transportation or energy.  These sectors are referred to specifically in strategic documents such as the National Infrastructure Protection Plan as having a nexus to homeland security.  HLSR is building a pool of contributors that are homeland security specialists in specific sectors.  These sector experts will provide our readers with informed analysis of key issues and robust discussion about homeland security based on their valuable state and local experience and perspective.  We are very pleased to announce our newest contributor is a homeland security professional with a great deal of experience to share from the energy sector.

Jeffrey Pillon is the Director of Energy Assurance for the National
Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). In this capacity he provides
technical support to states who have received Energy Assurance funding from
the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy
Reliability. These grants have supported States as they update their
energy emergency response plans and work towards enhancing the resiliency of
critical energy infrastructure. He also has Special Term Appointment to
Argonne National Laboratory, Infrastructure Assurance Center.

Mr. Pillon has lectured nationally on energy assurance planning and
preparedness.  He helped design and conduct a series of multi-state regional
energy emergency exercises and after-action workshops. He is the principal
author of the State Energy Assurance Guidelines developed by NASEO and the
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC). He
represents NASEO on the Government Coordinating Council for the Energy
Sector under the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and serves on the
Electric Power Research Institute’s Energy Efficiency/Smart Grid Public
Advisory Group. He is the past chair of the Energy Data and Security
Committee for the NASEO, and a past member and chair of the NARUC Staff
Subcommittee on Critical Infrastructure.

Mr. Pillon worked for the State of Michigan from 1973 to 2009. He began work
allocating petroleum supplies as the result of the Arab oil embargo in 1973.
He managed the State’s response to the oil shortages due to the Iranian
revolution in 1979. He served as the Manager of Energy Data & Security for
the Michigan Public Service Commission’s where he was responsible for
monitoring energy supply and demand, short term energy forecasting,
emergency preparedness, and management of the Commission’s website and
information technology applications. He also served as a Departmental
Emergency Management Coordinator working in the State Emergency Operation
Center during a number of events including the 2003 Blackout. He was a
member of the Michigan Homeland Security Preparedness Committee; Michigan
Homeland Security Advisory Council; the Pandemic Coordinating Committee;
chaired the Michigan Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee and later
co-chaired of the Energy Sector Committee of the Michigan Infrastructure
Coordinating Committee. Mr. Pillon is a graduate of Michigan State
University in Political Science.

We are honored to have Mr. Pillon as a contributor!

What is Homeland Security? (cont’d)

2012 April 22
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

Ferry Dock Sign

Homeland security is an enterprise that reaches Americans at home, at work, online, and when they travel like few others do.  As a discipline, homeland security could be compared to the “learned professions” of Law, Medicine and Theology for sheer cultural pervasiveness and reach.  This makes HLS a fascinating field of study, especially from a sociological perspective.  Yet while we know what is meant by Law, Medicine and Theology – what is meant by “homeland security”?  A key purpose of this blog is to discuss possible answers to this fundamental question.

Homeland security as a tool of government can be overt, like at the airport, but it can also be subtle.  Take this sign that I recently photographed while waiting for a ferry.  Most travelers are going to glance at this sign and pat their pocket to make sure their ticket is there or remind the kids not to lose their ticket or they will have to stay “on the other side” forever.  But for critical thinkers who care about homeland security, this sign represents some of the wicked problems faced by this country (and the world) in the post 9/11 world.

  • Why is “Homeland Security” given capitalized proper noun status in the sign?
  • To what entity or legal requirement are the owners of this sign referring?

To be fair, the ferry operators that developed and installed this sign likely had one intention.  To comply with rules and/or requirements of post-9/11 government agencies that are concerned about risk associated with ferry operations.  According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in 2005 and 2006 at least five federal agencies conducted risk analyses on ferry operations, resulting in a number of recommendations which were subsequently implemented.  The following table lists the applicable regulatory activities and their promulgators as of December of 2010:

Source: Government Accountability Office Report GAO-11-207, December 2010

The operators were probably required to post signage.  They likely realized that they couldn’t just write, “In accordance with Coast Guard regulations” because several agencies have applicable jurisdiction and are likely operating simultaneously (yet likely separately) toward the same goal.  “Homeland Security” probably seemed like a good umbrella under which to place these types of activities.  Further, most of the agencies involved in ferry operations security are likely within the Department of Homeland Security.  Customs and Border Security, the Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) all likely have a role here.

Questions for the HLSR reader:

  • Does “In accordance with Homeland Security” really mean anything?
  • It is neither a particular law nor a specific justification for compliance, right?
  • Is it really an excuse to grab your attention for the purpose of conveying a business’s administrative policy?

The business policy may be required by regulation, but that is not likely the reason for this sign.  This sign seems to be designed to remind customers of the importance of retaining their ticket as proof of paid return passage.

  • Isn’t requiring customers to have tickets to board just good business practice?

It is certainly not a novel, sign-requiring new policy for boarding vessels.

  • Why couldn’t the operator just have written “we are in business to make money so if you want to ride you need to buy a ticket and show it to us before we let you on the boat” or better yet “No ticket = No ride”?

One opinion might be that homeland security is invoked in this instance because of what homeland security is to the average American citizen – a vague, nebulous term that refers to an important and relevant reason to comply.  No one would want to argue with the operator about an issue of homeland security.

Social psychologists, like Daniel Kahneman, tell us that we have two systems of thinking.  “System 1” is the innate, subconscious system that helps us react and multitask, like driving and conversing at once.  “System 2” is where we do our critical thinking – questioning the world around us and analyzing the facts.  The problem is that “System 2” is lazy – you have to force it to work.  (Source: Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman available here.)  This blog hopes to exercise the “System 2’s” of homeland security professionals and those that are interested in the subject through informed discussion and critical analysis of the thing called homeland security.

Tornado Drills: How to Simultaneously Annoy Thousands of People

2012 April 20
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

Today’s homeland security and emergency management professionals are doing multiple jobs, multi-tasking on several projects, or are just plain swamped. “I’m overwhelmed, I can’t wait to get back to busy!” State and local governments are still feeling the affects from the Great Recession and aren’t typically pouring money into emergency management and homeland security programs. Federal grant funding is diminishing and this year Congress is proposing further reductions and adjustments in key grant programs. The men and women doing this work are doing more with less.

Most HLS professionals will promptly tell you what programs suffer in this climate. Near the top of the “we-didn’t-get-to-that-this-year” list are drills, like tornado drills. Yet severe weather seems to be more prevalent. This is an unsavory combination of factors about which HLS professionals should be thinking. A less practiced plan, less prepared public and more severe weather can spell lives at risk. Fortunately, there are opportunities for HLS professionals to adapt.

State and local agencies that are able to deploy newly available technologies can begin to catch up on severe weather preparedness. Many states and local governments are marking Severe Weather Awareness Week this month with outreach, information, tornado drills and sometimes even statewide drills to better prepare their constituents. Large drills are now easier thanks to newly available technologies.

For instance, the State of Michigan this week conducted a statewide tornado drill for its centrally-managed office buildings across the state. In the past two years Michigan has installed a high-tech automated emergency messaging system in 33 of its largest multi-tenant office buildings. This system allows central station operators that monitor security and life safety systems to activate in-building messages for severe weather, emergency lockdown,and an all clear message in addition to existing fire messages. This year in a coordinated effort with multiple state agencies, Michigan was able to conduct 31 building tornado drills simultaneously for 20,000 employees. Employees in the buildings were annoyed into participating by a 3-minute audible message directing them to shelter areas. Once designated monitors had reported for their respective floors, the all-clears were announced by building. Statistics were collected on the time to shelter and time to all-clear to provide feedback to site managers. The entire drill was completed in 17 minutes for all 31 sites, geographically dispersed across both peninsulas.

Technology available today allows EM and HLS professionals to initiate these systems via mobile devices. Additionally, messaging tools like provide effective messaging solutions for local governments at low cost, and improvements in weather mapping and management software like Telvent WeatherSentry Public Safety Edition provide EM and HLS professionals with a vast array of tools to stay on top of severe weather situations.

Tornado drills may be annoying for some, but they don’t have to be time consuming or difficult. Today’s technology is providing EM and HLS professionals with exciting new tools to help state and local HLS professionals overcome the difficult resource climate.




Agriculture & Severe Weather Awareness

2012 April 16
by braddeacon

April is Severe Weather Awareness Month – which is a good time to review plans and get prepared for every sector, and particularly for the food and agriculture sector and rural communities.  While billions have been spent on homeland security enhancements in a number of critical sectors, spending and attention in the food and agriculture sector has lagged.  Fortunately, a few homeland security professionals in several states are focused on food and agriculture security and are producing some helpful resources for states and local governments.

The Multi-State Partnership for Security in Agriculture has published the All-Hazards Preparedness for Rural Communities Guide – a guide to help rural agriculture communities prepare for threats to their families, farms, animals and businesses.  This all-hazards booklet was developed as a resource for citizens of rural agricultural communities –individuals, farmers and producers, businesses –with the hope of raising awareness of the natural and man-made threats to these communities and their commodities. These threats can include natural disaster situations (e.g., floods, tornadoes); biological emergencies (e.g., pandemic flu, food safety recalls) and man-made or technological threats (e.g., bio-or agro-terrorism, agrochemical situations).

The booklet contains overviews of specific hazards and informational handouts. The handouts are presented in a check list format to help guide individuals in rural communities in preparing for a particular hazard before it occurs, during the event, and recovering from the situation.  The booklet and plenty of additional awareness level material, background and checklists relating to food and agricultural security are available at the partnership’s website at:

The Multi-State Partnership for Security in Agriculture is an alliance of 14 states (IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, OK, SD & WI) started in 2004 that recognizes that a disaster in agriculture (both natural and man-made) could have regional, national & global effects.  Funded through State Homeland Security Grants and in-kind contributions from the member states, the Partnership has addressed a wide range of projects to benefit the region as a whole, including developing plans for continuity of business for the livestock industry during disease outbreaks and receipt of the National Veterinary Stockpile as well as training in risk communication and the Incident Command System.

Why This Blog: Telling the Story

2012 April 16
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

In the Summer of 2010, homeland security officials in the state of Michigan responded to a large inland oil spill that resulted from a failed oil transmission pipeline. It is estimated that over 1 million gallons of crude oil entered southern Michigan’s Tallmadge Creek and affected 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River. As of August 31, 2010, over $13 million had been spent in response to the event and as many as 1,930 people have been involved in the response effort (USEPA SITREP #37, 2010, pp. 15–19). It is estimated that nearly 9 million gallons of oil and water mixture had been collected by that time (now 16.8 million gallons have been collected) as part of the clean-up process. The incident resulted in numerous evacuations and the permanent and temporary displacements of residents. To aid in the response efforts, a small city of modular buildings was constructed to house the 10 agencies serving in the unified command and the additional 19 cooperating agencies involved.

As part of the response to the oil spill, homeland security officials represented their jurisdictions in a variety of capacities. At the local level, emergency managers and homeland security coordinators within the Sheriff’s department were responsible for managing specific response activities. These individuals collaborated with representatives from other county agencies and the federal government and worked to ensure that the local residents within the affected area were provided the resources required. In addition, these homeland security officials coordinated with transportation officials on road closures and developed plans to gain access to affected properties. These individuals also maintained a dialogue with law enforcement agencies to keep them apprised of the situation. Many of these homeland security representatives were also required to attend unified command briefings.

In addition to managing the response-related activities, these homeland security officials were also expected to maintain normal day-to-day tasks such as communicating with county officials and responding to questions from their constituents. For example, one day many of these officials had to meet with the press about the oil spill and were then expected to go to a regional planning meeting for tornado preparedness. Even though these officials were in the midst of responding to the oil spill, they still had to maintain planning and preparedness efforts of other threats facing their community.

A challenge at the local level for many of these homeland security officials is that they tend to have a limited support staff, if any at all. Another difficulty is that these officials have had to react to a changing and unpredictable environment. Since they must rely on state and local partners for assistance and mutual aid, there is a need to be able to communicate and collaborate with others. This chaotic, unpredictable and often changing environment represents the complex world of the state and local homeland security official.

  • Who are these officials and what prepares them to take on such responsibility?
  • What is their education and background?
  • Can we train and educate young men and women to do this?  If so, how?
  • And is this work Homeland Security?

The contributors to this blog are these practicing professionals, and their insight, it is hoped, will shed light on these and other questions and engage those who care about what homeland security is and who is doing it.  A purpose of this blog is to tell the story of the state and local homeland security professional, if that profession exists…


More New Contributors! – Homeland Security Education and Public Health Sector

2012 April 15
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

We are pleased to welcome two new distinguished contributors to HLSR!

First, Dr. Phillip Schertzing will be joining us as a contributor with expertise in homeland security as a discipline and educational programs in HLS.  Dr. Schertzing is currently a professor in the Criminal Justice Program at Michigan State University where he teaches homeland security.  He also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, and on a number of planning and preparedness boards.  Dr. Schertzing retired from a distinguished career at the Michigan State Police with the rank of Inspector, and continues to serve as the department’s “unofficial” historian.  In Dr. Schertzing’s broad experience he has witnessed the development of HLS both as a practitioner and as an academic.  We are thrilled that Phil will be sharing his knowledge and experience with our readers on HLSR!

Second, we are welcoming Tom Russo, who is joining as a contributor in the Public Health Sector.  Tom is Director of Emergency Preparedness at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and has extensive experience in public health emergency planning and preparedness.  Tom is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) and earned his Master’s in Security Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).  We look forward to Tom’s contributions to our knowledge of this huge area of HLS, which has been and will again be a focal point of HLS activity when another pandemic disease breaks out!

You can click over to the contributor’s page to check out their full bios.

New Agriculture Sector Contributors!

2012 April 11
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

HLSR is honored to have two new contributors joining us to represent the Agriculture Sector!  Dr. Matthew Blackwood is a distinguished graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security and is currently serving as the Homeland Security Coordinator at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.  In addition to Dr. Blackwood Mr. Brad Deacon will be contributing also in the agriculture sector.  Brad is an attorney and serves as the Emergency Management and Administrative Law Coordinator at the Michigan Department of Agriculture.  For the past several years Brad has been working with a consortium of states on a Multi-State Ag and Food Security Partnership.

These two distinguished homeland security professionals will be adding rich content to HLSR and are available to provide critical analysis of homeland security-related issues in agriculture, food security, and chicken swabbing!  We are honored to have them on board at HLSR!

Why This Blog: What is “Homeland Security”?

2012 April 10
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

There are many reasons why people blog and just as many reasons why people read them.  Before I added to the pile of “big data“, I wanted to be clear about my reasons for starting a blog, have a purpose and a plan for developing the site and be sure that it will contribute something positive to the homeland security enterprise.  Over the next several weeks in a series entitled “Why This Blog”, I will articulate some of these reasons, and discuss them.

One of the primary reasons for this blog, and why it is focused on the state and local HLS profession, is because I am fascinated with the question “What is Homeland Security?”  The question seems elementary, but it has persisted in the field since its inception, and scholars have given the question some attention with fascinating results.  After a decade why isn’t it more clear?  One reason may be that HLS can look quite a bit different depending on where you sit.  As a federal employee of the Department of Homeland Security, there is a fair amount of clarity.  Congress defined the department and gave it a mission.  But at state and local levels and in the private sector a professional can be her agency’s or company’s homeland security practitioner, and have a totally different idea of what homeland security means.

Another reason may be that HLS has a nexus to so many other fields and professionals that some have taken to referring to as an “enterprise”.  The sectored nature of critical infrastructure protection, for instance, means that professionals interested in security in the transportation sector, and continuity of government in the government facilities sector are homeland security professionals with very different jobs contributing to the same larger, overarching national mission.

  • So are local homeland security officials just surrogate federal employees in a way?  Is the federal government tasking state and local resources to manage federal responsibilities?
  • Should the grant programs be thought of as the payment for a service rather than a competitive grant program?
  • Is HLS a national effort developed and implemented at the local level by local people?  If so, why isn’t it the responsibility of the states?  Or maybe it is? 

In 2010, the Department of Homeland Security described HLS this way in their Quadrennial Homeland Security Review:

The intersection of evolving threats and hazards with traditional governmental and civic responsibilities for civil defense, emergency response, law enforcement, customs, border control, and immigration. In combining these responsibilities under one overarching concept, homeland security breaks down longstanding stovepipes of activity that have been and could still be exploited by those seeking to harm America. Homeland security also creates a greater emphasis on the need for joint actions and efforts across previously discrete elements of government and society.

Homeland security is a widely distributed and diverse—but unmistakable—national enterprise. The term “enterprise” refers to the collective efforts and shared responsibilities of Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, nongovernmental, and private-sector partners—as well as individuals, families, and communities—to maintain critical homeland security capabilities. The use of the term connotes a broad-based community with a common interest in the public safety and well-being of America and American society that is composed of multiple actors and stakeholders whose roles and responsibilities are distributed and shared (DHS QHSR, 2010, pp. viii–ix).

The carefully chosen words and phrases in this definition include “overarching”, “widely distributed and diverse”, “collective efforts”, “broad-based community”, “shared responsibilities”, and “distributed and shared”.  These words were clearly selected to inform the reader about the nature of HLS, but this is also what makes HLS so difficult to define concisely.

  • So it is a national effort – that puts the responsibility in the hands of the national government?
  • What support of the states is appropriate?
  • How should the national government compensate the state’s for that support?  Or should they?

My friend Linda is a homeland security professional.  Can you gain a mental picture of what Linda does from that statement?  Probably not.  But if I told you that Linda was a homeland security professional in public health, you probably gain clarity about Linda’s role in the enterprise.

My friend Ryan has a homeland security Baccalaureate degree.  Can you gain an understanding of what Ryan’s educational background is from that statement?  It’s becoming more clear, but if I told you that Ryan has a Criminal Justice degree you might understand his abilities better.

  • Should colleges and universities be awarding degrees in homeland security if it is not clearly defined?
  • Maybe HLS can be better presented as an emphasis in traditional programs?
  • Should someone create standards for homeland security degree programs and require schools to get accredited before offering such degrees?

These are all fascinating issues that make HLS one of today’s most dynamic and interesting fields of study!

One way to present homeland security is to embrace its sectored nature.  As such, we will be inviting HLS professionals from across the country to blog here at HLSR as recognized experts in their sectors.  As we develop this site, you will see us add sectors and contributors.  Our goal will be to provide our readers with rich and diverse content that contributes to the national enterprise and helps answer the “What is Homeland Security” question.