Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 2, 2011

A symposium next week on “Challenges of Developing a Homeland Security Discipline.”

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on August 2, 2011

You are invited to participate in a Homeland Security Watch symposium starting Monday, August 8th.  The symposium — which in this instance means an online discussion — will focus on Linda Kiltz’s recent Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management paper called “The Challenges of Developing a Homeland Security Discipline to Meet Future Threats to the Homeland.”

Several of our usual contributors to this blog will comment on the article, starting next Monday.  You are invited to comment also.

You can download a copy of the paper here (free, but some registration is required).

Here’s the abstract of the paper:

This paper argues that homeland security education must continually adapt to future risks, threats and vulnerabilities. To do this, it will be necessary to look at the many ways of looking at homeland security thinking and practice from multiple perspectives and disciplines. Looking at the homeland security enterprise through a variety of perspectives, taken together and synthesized, can deepen understanding and shed additional light on the scope of the field or discipline. Next, this paper discusses the need for existing and future educational programs in homeland security that are inclusive of the theories, practices and research methods of emergency management, despite the current cultural differences between these fields. Finally, this paper highlights three challenges in the development of homeland security education programs: (1) the development and implementation of a standardized curriculum with core functions and competencies that are inclusive of emergency management, (2) the evolution into a new academic discipline; (3) and the adoption of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2011 @ 1:24 am

Noting for the record that there is not yet any course curricula providing insights into Homeland Security and the protection of democracy, or promotion of democracy or protection of civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy rights.

Is HS a stalking horse for the totalitarian state? Time will tell.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2011 @ 1:27 am

A recent blog Sic Semper Tyrannis has an interesting thread where articulate readers discuss the militarization of the policing effort in the USA even in small and medium size towns where jackbooted fully weaponized police increasingly appear in public functions like high school sports events.

The end to community policing? Unarmed police on bikes for example!

Comment by Dan O'Connor

August 2, 2011 @ 8:20 am


While I may agree with your observation I must say, it’s the characterization that sticks with me. Clearly there is an overt militarization of Law Enforcement Nation wide. Dressed in black, overly armored, armed to the teeth, and these folks are not playing…as the vernacular goes.

But who is to blame? Is it Los Angeles? Is it New York? Is it the Government? Is it the media? Or are the lawyers the culprit? Is it an outcropping of our expectation and mentality that we must be completely safe and completely risk free?

When did we become the enemy? When did it become an “us vs them” mentality? Do we trust our law enforcement professionals to show good judgment and common sense? Or have we taken it all away in a legislative morass?

These are all the questions that shape the opinion, in my view. When we provide tens of millions of dollars with Urban Areas Security Initiative grants and that money is used to enhance security what does it go for; arming Cops and armoring Cops? Well I think a lot of it does. Is it functional or theatrical?

Is it effective? Well this year the number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement fell 5.5 percent, the largest decrease in recent years, while property crime was down 2.8 percent. According to the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), this decline in crime has occurred at the same time as a reversal in prison growth rates, as well as a decrease in the number of people under any form of correctional supervision (prison, probation, parole or other supervised release). So less people in prison and crime down…Is that a result of tactics, techniques, procedures, or imagery?

So in the context of the original theme; The Challenges of Developing a Homeland Security Discipline to Meet Future Threats to the Homeland.

If we are going to link Law enforcement in with the homeland security discipline and that they require education and must continually adapt to future risks, threats and vulnerabilities my question would be; are they? If there are many ways of looking at homeland security thinking and practice from multiple perspectives and disciplines would it be safe to say that this is a key issue?

We have and continue to legislate away what I would deem common sense. When we ask cops to regulate 9 year old girls from selling lemonade (http://tinyurl.com/62krya7) and at the same time are on the front line against terrorists you probably need to give them the tools, knowledge, and latitude to do what we ask. So how safe do you want to be and what are you willing to sacrifice to get it?

Just glancing at the below legislation I come away with one thought… this is supposed to be helpful?

• USA Patriot Act of 2001
• Homeland Security Act of 2002
• Comprehensive Homeland Security Act of 2003
• Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act of 2004
• Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2005

You cannot on the one hand demand Cops to be unarmed and on bikes rolling through small towns and embracing the community while at the same time, bombard them and us with all the majestic and deadly threats that we face from Mexican drug cartels, Al Qaeda, et al. s it bubble gum or gas masks?

It’s incongruous.

As I said, I don’t disagree with observation. It’s all a bit intimidating on a variety of levels. And it creates impressions of a police state and oppression of sorts. However, as someone who comes from a law enforcement family (four generations) the old timers don’t like it (the overt aggression) and the young Turks tell them they don’t understand. So my question is; do the “jackbooted fully weaponized police” represent us or are they merely a reflection of what we’ve come to expect?

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 2, 2011 @ 8:50 am

Dan! Pretty much agree with your comment. But you list the following statute:

Comprehensive Homeland Security Act of 2003

I know of no such statute. Could you elaborate?

Comment by Dan O'Connor

August 2, 2011 @ 9:25 am

Sorry about that…


it never became a law. It was written and batted around, but never came to be.

Comment by Linda Kiltz

August 3, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

Good day,

I am not sure how this discussion on the militarization of police fits into the discussion on this paper. In looking at both undergraduate and graduate programs in homeland security throughout the nation, many due in fact include courses and topics that focus on such issues as safeguarding civil liberties and privacy, social justice, equity and fairness. In addition, many programs include a criminal justice perspective and have advisory committees consisting of subject matter experts from the law enforcement community at the local, state and federal level.


Linda Kiltz

Comment by Kevin Cashen

August 7, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

I agree with Linda Kiltz – I fail to understand how the supposed militarization of law enforcement relates to the paper subject matter. Most criminal justice, homeland security and emergency management undergraduate and graduate programs I am familiar with have a strong academic component regarding the Constitution, appropriate legal statutes, case law, legislative governance and professional ethics. I am not convinced protective equipment and measures for personnel denotes a disregard for the Constitution, appropriate legal statutes, case law and legislative governance; all of which governs law enforcement legal ethics.

Comment by Kevin Cashen

August 7, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

Overall – I really enjoyed the paper. I do have a clarification question though. On page 12 the author states “While one can argue that the field of emergency
management has a history and domain, the field of homeland security is far from meeting most of these characteristics.” My assumption is academic domain, however, it is just my assumption. What is meant by domain and how is it defined in relation to academia?

Homeland security as an enterprise involving multiple professional and academic disciplines is proving to be accurate when one examines the examples the author uses in the paper and the number of agencies or disciplines involved investigating, responding to or researching homeland security events. The multidisciplinary approach section of the paper is well thought out and argued. It appears the multidisciplinary approach trumps the interdisciplinary approach.

As proposed, homeland security is to be viewed as an enterprise. If homeland security should be its own academic discipline then the multidisciplinary academic approach is the best model to proceed which complements the enterprise concept. Kiltz (2011, page 15) suggests “given even the challenges of implementing a multidisciplinary approach to homeland security education and its lack of disciplinary status, the best option may be to define homeland security as a subfield within a traditional discipline in the short term, while continuing moving toward becoming a discipline.”

Furthermore, “Despite these challenges in developing homeland security education, homeland security has the potential to become an academic discipline if the
academic community associated with it makes a concerted effort to develop a standardized curriculum with core functions and competencies, to shape the
discipline in the future, and to construct the missing disciplinary components in partnership with scholars and practitioners in the field of emergency management. (Kiltz, 2011, page 15)

Why marry the development of homeland security as an academic field to emergency management as opposed to other more established academic fields such as criminal justice, political science, national security studies, military science to name a few; all of which are part of the homeland security enterprise? One may argue that emergency management as an academic field is not much further ahead than homeland security in being recognized by those committed to traditional academia.

Make no mistake, the paper is well written and reasoned that emergency management is an academic field. But if we are taking a multidisciplinary academic approach, then we should explore the other disciplines as well for the best academic “mentor” to further homeland security interests. I suggest that this exploration is occurring, resulting in homeland security being under the umbrella of various academic disciplines throughout the higher education environment. In fact, this is pointed out early in the paper. Could this be the best approach by including ingredients from the various academic disciplines into a multidisciplinary “melting pot” resulting in an academic and professional homeland security enterprise as envisioned? Academic diversity or “buy in” could be the force multiplier that is needed to further homeland security as an academic discipline in a more timely manner. Lastly, is ten years much time in the development of an academic discipline?

Just my thoughts.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » “The Challenges of Developing a Homeland Security Discipline to Meet Future Threats to the Homeland”

August 8, 2011 @ 12:53 am

[…] noted a few days ago, we will start with Linda Kiltz’s recent Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management […]

Comment by Linda Kiltz

August 16, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

Thank you for the great discussion. I would agree with Kevin that many of the undergraduate and graduate programs in homeland security do include sections on the protection of democracy, civil rights and privacy. As educators our role is more than merely creating professionals for the Department of Homeland Security but also engaged citizens that have a fundamental understanding of the Constitution, their basic rights and the rule of law system in the U.S.

I also agree with Dan that a law enforcement or criminal justice perspective is a critical component of homeland security education as are perspectives from those in the disciplines of public administration, national security, public health, and political science.

Finally, Kevin asks why I married homeland security with emergency management at this point instead of with a traditional academic discipline. I pared them together because I believe both are not academic disciplines at this time and yet both are closely interwoven in the homeland security enterprise. In order to have a more strategic vision of homeland security, I believe students need to have a generalist understanding of both emergency management and homeland security. In the short term, homeland security education programs will need to be based in a traditional academic disciplines such as political science, CJ, public administration, national security, etc. in order to meet most accreditation standards. We just are not at stage where we can realistically call homeland security an academic discipline.

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