Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 22, 2011

Growing more homeland security ideas, volume 3

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on March 22, 2011

On Friday, the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security will graduate its 31st and 32nd master’s degree class .

Here are the titles of the graduates’ theses (and short descriptions) to illustrate the topics covered.

Many of the theses — adding to the storehouse of what we know, do not know, and need to know about homeland security — will be available through the NPS Dudley Knox library in a few weeks.


1. Assessing the effectiveness of current NYC radiological emergency response strategy in protecting responders immediately after detonation of an improvised nuclear device.

An analysis of current New York City radiological response plans compared against current research about the consequences of a terrorist attack using an improvised nuclear device on a major metropolitan city.  The analysis sought to determine if the plans offered effective guidance in protecting first responders.  Research indicates a need to revise current plans and change existing response tactics.

2. Compstat 2.0: an innovative police strategic management plan focusing on performance in the all crimes and all hazards environment.

This thesis examines the current research on CompStat (a law enforcement accountability system), focusing on the practical results agencies have seen, both good and bad, after employing today’s most popular model of strategic management in policing. By applying lessons learned from CompStat, and other strategic management models, this thesis proposes a strategy to improve CompStat over the next decade. In CompStat 2.0, agencies will use what works to rapidly identify and effectively address threats in the all crimes and all hazards environment.

3. The Transportation Security Administration’s four major security programs for mass transit – how they can be improved to address the security needs of Tier II transit agencies.

This thesis examined how the TSA has been carrying out its mandate to provide for the security of the mass transit sector of transportation against terrorism. The study recommends ways to increase the numbers of law enforcement officers and explosives detection canine teams for Tier II (medium) sized transit agencies.

4.  The evolution of the public administration education curriculum as a response to the complex issues created by a post 9/11 America.

Homeland security has developed as an educational discipline over the last ten years.  This thesis explores whether undergraduate public administration programs at Indiana colleges and universities have incorporated homeland security issues into their curriculum.  The thesis includes recommendations that can be taken to ensure that these institutions address the growing homeland security field.

5.  Non-pharmaceutical interventions to pandemic influenza and other biological events.

In the event of a novel influenza virus or an unknown biological event, it is important that organizations be prepared to institute infection control measures. The thesis is a study of how non-healthcare organizations can use a simple tool to identify needed inventions for an employee or group of employees.

6. United we stand, divided we fall: increasing response capability in Kentucky through regionalization and leadership.

This work focuses on the 2009 ice storm that devastated Kentucky. Although research indicates that regionalization has benefits, only a small portion of Kentucky collaboratively worked together during the storm. The thesis explores how regionalization could be used to improve future response throughout the state.

7. The New York City Urban Search & Rescue Team (NY-TF1), a case study of interagency effectiveness.

This thesis examined the NY-TF1 model to identify structural and procedural designs that foster interagency synergy between the Fire Department of New York and other emergency services.  The study provides direction for a closer alignment of NYC emergency first-responders.

8. Complacency: a threat to homeland security?

This thesis takes an unconventional approach to enhancing the resilience of homeland security by exploring the human factor of complacency. The research defines complacency for the homeland security discipline, explores its credibility as a threat and provides a baseline understanding from which to address it.

9. Effective selection: a study of first-line supervisor selection processes in the Department of Homeland Security.

This research examines the four most important tenets of a supervisor selection process. Using a multi-method approach, this study compares first-line supervisor selection processes for effective and less effective federal agencies as measured by Federal Human Capital Survey.

10.  Analyzing the need for special operations teams within the fire service.

Fire suppression and rescue are the primary missions of the fire service, but not all rescue efforts entail putting out fires.  For this reason the fire service created Special Operations Teams; however, they come at a high cost to fund and operate.  Reorganizing traditional fire service rank structure will allow tenure in developing subject matter experts who will ultimately save lives and property while reducing recovery cost.

11. Developing a set of measures demonstrating how regional collaboration builds preparedness capabilities.

The thesis identifies the critical components of the National Capital Region Fire Service jurisdictions.  It defines common terms that link community to community and enable measurement of collaborative activities that build preparedness capabilities.

12. Policy option analysis for Assistance to Firefighters grant program.

An analysis of approaches to distribute AFG program funds to increase the funding’s impact on national homeland security.  The presented approaches acknowledge the unique, first-responder contributions of fire services and EMS to homeland security.

13. Political subculture: a resilience multiplier.

Dr. Daniel Elazar’s theory of political subculture (i.e. how a community views politics and the role of government in their lives) acts as a modifier to the overall resilience of that community.  Knowing this and by mapping the dominant subcultures of communities, a better predictive model of resilience can be established for future planning and mitigation efforts.

14. Considerations to enhance Florida’s domestic security strategic plan.

The thesis identifies the potential benefits of including prioritization, assignment and metrics methodologies into Florida’s homeland security strategy.

15.  Addressing the Mumbai style attack: interstate law enforcement mutual aid in the absence of a declared emergency.

With an ever evolving terrorist threat, quick and efficient response by law enforcement across jurisdictional boundaries is needed. This thesis examines the existing methods for providing interstate law enforcement and applicability to the evolving threat, to determine what methods work and what new systems may be required.

16. Community preparedness: alternative approaches to citizen engagement in homeland security.

This thesis deals with community preparedness and citizen engagement in the United States.  It acknowledges that the approach we have taken since 9/11 has not been as effective as desired.  The research examines citizen engagement models that have had some success, such as fire prevention and seat belt safety, and explores the characteristics of these programs and their applicability to homeland security.

17. American institutions of higher education: reducing the vulnerability from acts of terrorism.

This thesis examines vulnerabilities on the campuses of American colleges and universities, including research laboratories, places of mass gatherings, and the potential for extremist radicalization of college students. The thesis also looks at insider threats and how threat assessment and behavioral intervention teams may help prevent attacks.

18.  Using DoD ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] capabilities in support of homeland security and defense: policy challenges and considerations for effective incident awareness and assessment.

United States Northern Command is responsible for providing military support to civil authorities during major disasters and homeland security events. The military can provide airborne intelligence capabilities that have the potential to increase the effectiveness and timeliness of response. However, there are doctrinal, legal, policy and ethical obstacles that reduce the military’s ability to deliver this capability. This thesis finds that the most significant challenges come from doctrine and policy and makes recommendations to align military doctrine with the National Response Framework to overcome these barriers.

19.  Freed: ripples of the convicted and released terrorist in America.

This thesis frames new discourse about an unexplored, yet inevitable phase of the terrorism continuum, by discussing the implications that follow the release of convicted terrorists from American prisons. It examines existing models ranging from sex offender registries to megacommunities and existing sociological theories of terrorism as potential tools with which to address this complex and interdisciplinary issue.


The thesis argues that horizontal, inter-state, police-department to police-department sharing of information is where the most critical seams exist within U.S. law enforcement.  The study analyzes the 50 largest urban areas in the United States and asks how leveraging the disparate burgeoning banks of police data and resources that reside in each urban area against homegrown terrorism can increase national resilience.  The thesis defines DOMESTIPOL as a national system of police coordination between the 50 most vulnerable urban areas in the United States.

21. Operating in uncertainty: growing resilient critical infrastructure organizations.

Publicly owned utilities as natural monopolies have historically operated in a relatively controlled environment. As they have become increasingly networked and interdependent with similar enterprises, the level of management complexity has increased dramatically within their operating environment. Leadership skills, based on the management practices of the last century, have not kept pace with these rapidly changing environmental conditions. There exists a gap today among leaders in understanding that their environment and organization are part of complex adaptive systems and that the implications of operating in a complex environment are substantive. The pupose of this research is to provide management with a roadmap to fill this gap and guide utilities toward a more resilient organizational structure.

22. Mitigating decision making paralysis during catastrophic disasters.

Catastrophic disasters are overwhelming situations to the people they affect, including the decision makers managing the disaster. Making decisions about preserving life, the environment, and the economy during a catastrophic disaster requires a fast and flexile process, or the decision making of the emergency managers will become paralyzed. This thesis presents a process model for mitigating decision making paralysis so that life, the economy, and the environment are sustained during a catastrophic disaster.

23.  Planning for an integrated intergovernmental, interagency, and multi-disciplinary investigative response to a multi-jurisdictional series of crimes spanning the National Capital Region (NCR).

This thesis explores the development of an investigative model that will help the many local and federal law enforcment agencies serving within the NCR to work in an integrated manner to effectively and efficiently investigate serious crime sprees spanning the National Capital Region.  Additionally, this model seeks to integrate other disciplines such as fire/EMS, fusion centers, and public information into the model and the investigation.

24. Project management for homeland security.

This is a study about how we manage complex new homeland security initiatives. By standardizing and institutionalizing “project management” procedures, homeland security practitioners will save time, money, and possibly lives.

25. No emergency incident recognizes borders.

This research examines the development of a response framework for first responders to a bi-national incident along the Arizona and Mexico border. The study identifies the benefits of bi-national response and collaborative sharing of resources in times of disaster.

26. Implementation methods and standards for the National Guard’s Homeland Response Force.

The thesis offers standards for the employment of the Homeland Response Force in a domestic Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive event and an all-hazard response mission. The study provides recommendations for the employment of military forces and advanced technologies in a domestic environment in accordance with U.S. response standards, intelligent oversight laws and civil liberties concerns.

27. Failing the grade: countering the effects of America’s declining global educational ranking on our national security.

In the last several decades, the United States has seen a dramatic decline in the global educational rankings of its students, specifically in the area of math and science.  This decline has a serious impact on the technological advantage, economy, and the national security of the United States.   Globalization is expanding areas of shared interests between nations, and the declining educational capabilities of U.S. students leaves the country vulnerable to an advancing threat and changing future battle spaces.  This thesis identifies potential educational policies and suggests recommendations aimed at re-establishing the United States as the world’s educational leader.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

March 22, 2011 @ 7:06 am

Thanks Chris! Another useful item and interesting choices for papers.

Any surveys as to how and where grads have used their skills post-grad?

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 22, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

Does faculty approve the thesis topic?

Comment by Uneducated Congressional Members

March 23, 2011 @ 5:13 am

While we finally become concerned about the less than competitive student we are graduating, where are the scientists and engineers among Congressionalmembers – take a look at the preparation of leaders from top to bottom in China for instance and you will see why China will indeed be establishing colonies on the moon and elsewhere — wake up America and out with these incompetent education czars who themselves are quite poor portrayals – mentors – wake up America thoough I feel it is s, so late…we have lost and we have been hood winked in every way by the Goldman Sachs fellas – in the greatest heist ever, America!

God Bless us all for we will undoubtedly see a drastic downturn in ourliving standards and poverty so apparent on our streets – what a pity —

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