[csaa-forum] FW: Colleges embrace homeland security curriculum

Danny Butt db at dannybutt.net
Sun Aug 29 21:41:43 CST 2004

I was intrigued by the language in this piece - vocationalism, applied
knowledge... in some parts you could replace "homeland security" with "media
studies" and you wouldn't blink... an interesting commentary about
nationalism, education, and the military-industrial complex. Is this
happening here? Some of the more conservative "international relations"
programmes maybe?

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Colleges embrace homeland security curriculum

Wed Aug 25, 6:33 AM ET
By Julia Neyman, USA TODAY

Homeland security has become a hot topic in American
culture, and higher education has been jumping on the

Hundreds of community colleges, four-year universities
and postgraduate programs have begun offering degrees
and certificates in emergency preparedness,
counterterrorism and security. Students study topics
from political science and psychology to engineering
and biotechnology to prepare for possible disasters.

"Homeland security will be the biggest government
employer in the next decade or so," says Steven David,
chair of the graduate certificate program in homeland
security at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore,
which also offers a master's in government with a
concentration in homeland security. "America continues
to face threats, and terrorism will never go away,"
David says.

Interest in homeland security proliferated after the
9/11 attacks, but efforts to increase awareness in the
field were underway long before, says William Kelley,
a researcher working with the Office for Domestic
Preparedness in the federal government's Department of
Homeland Security.

The idea for a professional training program was born
when Kelley and others realized there was insufficient
training in more analytical aspects of homeland

"You have to go back to 1997 or 1998, to the (first)
World Trade Center bombings, Oklahoma City, the
Centennial bombings at the Atlanta Olympics," Kelley
says. "A succession of events built up an interest,
and 9/11 had a culminating effect."

Now, many companies have added homeland security
sectors, and those educated in the field are in
demand, says Mel Bernstein, director of university
programs for the Department of Homeland Security.

"Some graduates will work in the financial sector, for
the government, in insurance, for consulting
companies. ... If you look across the country, almost
every company or agency has something they call a
'homeland security initiative,' and they will need

One of the programs that the Department of Homeland
Security sponsors is an 18-month, highly selective
professional training effort at the Naval Postgraduate
School in Monterey, Calif. The school educates
high-ranking emergency management and public safety
officials about policy analysis, advanced strategy and
information technology.

"We're taking the best and the brightest and giving
them additional education so that they can go back to
their cities and assume the highest positions," says
Paul Stockton, associate provost at the school.

Most universities have not yet adopted full degree
programs, partly because some are skeptical of the
value of an entire degree focused on homeland
security. So some offer certificate programs and
concentrations within more traditional majors instead:

• At Ohio State University, students can get a degree
in political science, sociology or computer science
with a concentration in homeland security, in which
they focus on such areas as network security and

"In most cases, there is not yet a sufficiently
well-developed body of knowledge that would declare
(homeland security) to be a legitimate academic
specialty," says Todd Stewart, director of the Program
for International and Homeland Security at Ohio State.

• At George Washington University in Washington, D.C.,
certificates are offered in crisis and disaster
management, telecommunications and national security;
they're offered through the school's Homeland Security
Policy Institute.

• Northeastern University in Boston offers programs in
the law-enforcement aspect of homeland security
through its College of Criminal Justice. Northeastern
also received a grant from the National Institute of
Justice to educate students about al-Qaeda banking and
the "gray market," the practice of transferring money
from abroad to other countries, possibly to finance
illicit activities.

Compared with universities, community colleges are
more comfortable giving degrees in
homeland-security-related fields because they train
first responders - police officers, emergency medical
technicians, firefighters and others who are directly
involved in their communities.

"Ours is likely to be a more hands-on approach," says
Norma Kent of the American Association of Community


Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., for
example, has a $26 million Homeland Security
Management Institute complete with a crime scene
simulator, forensics lab, hazardous-materials training
area and aircraft simulator. It also offers training
that educates community members on what to do if
disaster strikes.

The diverse approach that schools are taking goes to
show that the nature of the homeland security field
does not lend itself to a uniform program, Bernstein

"We need people with many skills who can apply them to
this particular area."

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