Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 8, 2011

“The Challenges of Developing a Homeland Security Discipline to Meet Future Threats to the Homeland”

Filed under: Education — by Christopher Bellavita on August 8, 2011

This week Homeland Security Watch will focus on homeland security as a professional and academic discipline.

As noted a few days ago, we will start with 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.”

I will summarize the main points of the Dr. Kiltz’s article today. Our regular writers will contribute their thoughts during the rest of the week.  Readers are encouraged to contribute to the conversation.

My summary consists primarily of excerpts taken from the paper, occasionally rearranged, and lightly edited to synthesize portions of the argument for this post.  I have not included the citations.

Interested readers are encouraged to read the complete paper for a detailed explication of the argument summarized here.

—————————————–

The paper makes three central claims:

1. Homeland security education must continually adapt to future risks, threats and vulnerabilities. To do this, it will be necessary to consider homeland security thinking and practice from multiple perspectives and disciplines. Looking at the homeland security enterprise through a variety of perspectives can deepen understanding and shed additional light on the scope of the field or discipline.

2. Existing and future educational programs in homeland security should include the theories, practices and research methods of emergency management, despite the current cultural differences between emergency management and homeland security.

3. Homeland security education programs have to confront three challenges:

  • the development and implementation of a standardized curriculum with core functions and competencies that are inclusive of emergency management,
  • the evolution into a new academic discipline;
  • the adoption of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning.

Need for Collaboration Between Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Our ability to plan, respond to and recover from a broad range of disasters in the future will be determined in large part by the quality of our local, state and national emergency management systems and homeland security policies and programs.

There can no longer be stove pipes and divisions between emergency management and homeland security practitioners and scholars as we educate and train professionals in these fields in the years ahead. The success of the homeland security enterprise depends on our ability in higher education to work collaboratively across disciplines to design, develop and teach a curriculum that prepares professionals across the entire domain of homeland security (including emergency management), and to conduct research that serves to enhance our understanding of the complexity of the homeland security enterprise.

Vision and Missions of Homeland Security

In order to build educational programs for the homeland security enterprise it is important to have a clear understanding of how the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama administration envision homeland security.

The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report (QHSR) sets forth a shared vision of homeland security in order to achieve a unity of purpose. This vision of homeland security assumes the functions needed to achieve that unity will include both emergency management and homeland security, and will be seen under one overarching concept of the homeland security enterprise that recognizes the need for joint actions and efforts across previously discrete elements of government and society.

The traditional view of homeland security focused on terrorism. The current view encompasses an all-hazards approach that recognizes the value of emergency preparedness structures and processes.

The homeland security missions include: preventing terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing our borders, enforcing and administering our immigration laws, safeguarding and securing cyberspace, and ensuring resilience to disasters through hazard mitigation, and effective emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts. Accomplishing these missions is the responsibility not only of DHS, but also of the hundreds of thousands of people across all levels of government, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations.

To be successful in accomplishing these missions, homeland security professionals in the public and private sector must have a clear sense of what it takes to achieve this overarching vision, as well as the knowledge, skills and abilities to achieve national, state and local homeland security goals. Our challenge as homeland security scholars is developing and implementing undergraduate and graduate curriculum that is grounded in a set of core competencies, and continually adapts to future threats, hazards, risks and vulnerabilities.

Current and Future Threats

It will be necessary to provide homeland security professionals with the knowledge and skills to perceive, analyze and respond to disasters and crises from multiple perspectives and paradigms. This will be challenging and critical given the on-going threats and hazards we face now and in the future.

The scope and magnitude of the disasters in 2010 provide us with a warning signal of increasingly catastrophic disasters to come. These 2010 disasters include:

  • 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti
  • 8.8. magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile
  • Twenty earthquakes at a magnitude of 7.0 or higher before the end of the year
  • Record heat and drought in Russia,
  • Typhoons in the Philippines and China, and
  • Mass flooding in Pakistan.

Climate change is expected to have a number of adverse socio-economic impacts within the global environment, including:

  • Shortfalls in water for drinking and irrigation, with concomitant risks of thirst and famine;
  • Changes and possible declines in agricultural productivity stemming from altered temperature, rainfall, or pest patterns;
  • Spikes in the rates and extended geographic scope of malaria and other diseases;
  • Associated shifts in economic output and trade patterns;
  • Changes and possibly large shifts in human migration patterns; and
  • Larger economic and human losses attributable to extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

Coastal populations in North America will be increasingly vulnerable to climate change—and nearly 50 percent of Americans live within fifty miles of the coast.  Impacts of climate change in the U.S. include:

  • An increased likelihood of flooding throughout the nation,
  • More intense hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico,
  • An increase in the number and duration of urban wildfires,
  • More severe and longer heat waves, cyclones and winter storms.

It is clear that a homeland security curriculum focused on all hazards, disaster research and the practice of emergency management should be a major part of future undergraduate or graduate programs in this field.

Given the link between climate change and natural hazards, future curriculum in emergency management and homeland security should include topics related to the adverse physical, social, and security impacts of climate change on the United States.  Future emergency managers and homeland security professionals will need to evaluate and better understand how climate change could affect the identification and selection of disaster mitigation strategies, the types of preparedness activities that jurisdictions undertake, the execution of response operations, and the implementation of long-term recovery strategies.

In addition to preparing for more frequent and devastating natural disasters, professionals should also be prepared for unpredictable man-made and technical disasters such as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The threat of terrorism persists. Another low-probability, high cost terrorist event appears to be inevitable given the on-going threat of terrorism, particularly by “homegrown” jihadists. Developing and implementing antiterrorism and counter terrorism strategies to this rapidly changing enemy will require homeland security management professionals to have an advanced understanding of terrorist organizations and terrorism.

Challenges in Developing Homeland Security Programs

To provide well-educated professionals for the homeland security threats described above, it is critical that academic programs in homeland security:

  • Develop and implement a standardized curriculum with core functions and competencies that are inclusive of emergency management,
  • Evolve into new academic disciplines or stay grounded in a traditional academic discipline, and
  • Utilize multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning.

Homeland Security degree programs were initially established with no standardized or consistent core curriculum. This is due, in part, to the lack of agreement about the definition of homeland security. Additionally few professional associations or government organizations provide program level student learning outcomes or guidance on model curriculum.

Emergency management has become more professionalized over the past three decades because of the increase in emergency management higher education programs.  Numerous workshop sessions at the FEMA Higher Education Conferences and scholarly articles have produced several lists for individual emergency management practitioners about competencies, and knowledge, skills and abilities for each level of education in emergency management and homeland security. For example, here is a list of graduate competencies generated in 2004.

The Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium has attempted to propose standardized educational outcomes at all degree levels in homeland security education. In 2010 a work group recommended core content areas to be included in homeland security graduate programs:

  • Current and emerging threats;
  • Context and organizations;
  • Policies, strategies and legal issues;
  • Processes and management; and
  • Practical applications.

The author synthesized a draft list of core functions and competencies for graduate programs in homeland security based on a review of her own research and related studies.

Comparing the list above with core competencies in emergency management suggest there are a number of areas of overlap that could be integrated into a comprehensive multi-disciplinary degree program. This will be difficult to do while there is no clearly defined set of standardized educational outcomes that is publicly available to guide program development in homeland security education across degree programs. If any level of integration is to be achieved between homeland security and emergency management programs, then the culture clashes between homeland security and emergency management scholars must be minimized.

To overcome some of these conflicts between these two fields, scholars in the fields of emergency management and/or homeland security would need to expand their vision and adjust their paradigms to be more inclusive of the concepts, theories, practices and methodologies used by the different disciplines in these fields. This can be very difficult because it requires conceptual competence-the ability to identify, interpret and apply appropriate tools from participating disciplines relevant to the problem at hand.

Another challenge in developing a homeland security program is identifying the academic discipline and department in which it should be situated within the university. This is necessary because homeland security is currently not an academic discipline. We need to ask ourselves a number of questions: Should homeland security be a subfield of public administration, political science, criminal justice, national security, or something else, or should it be developed into a new academic discipline?

For homeland security to become a discipline there must be consensus on the following topics commonly found within disciplines and reflecting core issues often found in accreditation:

  • Naming the field
  • Defining the field
  • Concepts: What are the key concepts and definitions? What is the core curriculum and does it serve both student and employer needs
  • History: What is the history of the field?
  • Theory: What are the theories, paradigms, and philosophies of the
  • field?
  • Methods: Which research methods should be taught to students?
  • Practice: What are the roles and relationships between educators and practitioners?
  • Student Outcomes Assessment: What are the demographic backgrounds of students? What types of recruitment and retention work best? What do graduates do with their new education? What are employer views of graduates?
  • Faculty Roles: What are the roles of faculty? How can faculty be evaluated?

To date, there is no agreed upon definition of homeland security, no grand theory explaining the phenomenon of homeland security, no standardized curriculum, little discussion of the history, paradigms and philosophies of the field, and ill defined faculty roles. Without these components of a discipline, it would be very difficult to create an interdisciplinary program despite the claims of some programs to have done this very thing.

An interdisciplinary program is one in which two or more disciplines are brought together preferably so that the disciplines interact with one another and have some effect on one another’s perspectives. Despite the benefits of interdisciplinary education, such an approach to homeland security is unrealistic at this time because the conditions necessary for such programs to succeed are too difficult to meet.

Homeland security education programs that are multidisciplinary are more realistic and easier to implement. Multidisciplinary is defined as “research, problem solving or teaching that mingles disciplines but maintains their distinctiveness.” It also refers to the involvement of several different professional areas, though not necessarily in an integrated manner. The advantages of multidisciplinary approaches are that they not only are much easier to develop, implement and evaluate, but also they still allow faculty and students to look at homeland security thinking and practice from multiple perspectives and disciplines.

Conclusion

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. In the meantime, there must be an on-going dialogue among homeland security scholars on whether homeland security is a discipline, a multidisciplinary endeavor, or a truly interdisciplinary field integrated into something greater than the sum of its parts.

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. By working together we may some day be better able to answer the question, “What is homeland security?”

 

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9 Comments »

Comment by Dennis D. Jones

August 8, 2011 @ 5:55 am

Developing a Homeland Security Discipline (HSD) is as dynamic as Homeland Security (HS) is itself. When developing a HSD there should be a basic foundation which applies to the all-hazards approach. From there, there could be considerations for regional or threat-specific considerations. Such as, HS in Agriculture or HS in Urban Areas. These two small examples would challenge the discipline developer to focus and drill down to potential threat assessments unique to each unique discipline. A Maritime HS tract could focus on shipping and port security. An opportunity for a program and student to focus on a area of study targeting a major industry. Similar to medical schools/students can focus on specific areas of expertise such as surgery, internal medicine and pediatrics.

I believe following this template will allow practicioners of Homeland Security the opportunity to work toward defining Homeland Security in seperate segments. And in time, maybe a definition of Homeland Security can be recognized and agreed upon if finding a definition is truly a necessity to accomplishing absolute Homeland Security for our nation and future generations.

Respectfully submitted,
Dennis D. Jones

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 8, 2011 @ 7:58 am

Mr. Jones or others, Any thoughts on the role and place of a general or liberal education in HSD? Is there a place for history, philosophy, religion, literature, math and science in the curriculum? Is this essential, nice-to-have, or a distraction?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 8, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

I argue that if physical seccurity is excludyed from Homeland Security (and it should be IMO) then fewer than 100K personnel outside the government are involved. For EM less than 5K outside of the government.

These are insignificant numbers.

Thus, the premium on brainpower! Well paying jobs wtll attract those brains!

Comment by Dan O'Connor

August 8, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

With regard to Phil’s comment; unequivocally YES! Different domains of knowledge yield different perspectives…and in a nebulous and often broadly defined Homeland Security discipline, the different perspectives bring far more to the table than merely a different point of view. What is an education really?

Overspecialization could be argued, lends itself to an observation myopia and a purposed willful blindness. While there may be few true polymaths, a generalist has multiple domains of interest to draw from and therefore, come up with either different conclusions or see what is plainly visible. Over specialization can lead to siloed thinking and group think conclusions. It can also lead to institutional inclusion/exclusion and expertise discrimination to dismiss and thwart introduction of new ideas and concepts. Maybe that’s a bit overstated, but that’s been my experience.

In terms of organizational leadership, specifically the Homeland Security discipline and building a better team and from learning/leadership realm; reinforcing bias’, skill sets, and experts of the same domain only grows the myopia.

By drawing from varied domains of knowledge, experiences, socio economic backgrounds, etc, different “flavors” and perspectives would both be captured and create a more comprehensive picture.

And, as complexity grows and accelerates, having diversity of knowledge, skills, abilities, and variety lends itself to a more robust adaptation and nimbleness.

Organizations that are nimble and adaptive tend to survive and make better decisions those rigid, stacked hierarchies of expertise.

Lets use light as a metaphor. Light is not simply the absence of darkness.

Light or visible light is the portion of electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, responsible for the sense of sight. To some its emittance from the sun, to others spectrum bandwith, others still a rainbow, and to others again, scintillation, electroluminescence, sonoluminescence. To a photographer, a child, and a scientist, its all different, and yet the same. An artist sees light in a completely different attitude than say, an art patron. But it is still art nonetheless Photosynthesis is different even still. Each perspective and point of view adds a unique depth, a degree of perspective, and a word picture or description. Light is life and death…all based on your belief system, education, disposition, etc. We need many different spectrums to glean the fullest picture.

So there is something to having an artists point of view, a poets, an engineers, and/or a lay observers point of view. Philosophers, theologians, poets, and right brain folks are just as important as math, science, and left brain ones. In the absence of one or more of these perspectives, much is lost or unrecognized… so lets get some domain diversity and see if if there’s more than meets the eye!

Here’s another disposition to ponder, in terms of creating a discipline. Traditionally, the US Armed Forces had prided themselves on being essentially apolitical and fully responsive to civilian authority. When they became an all-volunteer force after the draft ended in the early 1970s, many analysts expressed concern the military could become increasingly divorced from the society that it was sworn to defend.

A number of independent surveys were carried out in the mid to late-1990s to assess racial and political attitudes in the services, but these were confined mostly to in-depth interviews of officers attending war colleges, rather than on a large sample chosen at random.

Some of those surveys raised new alarms about a growing civilian-military gap in which military officers were found to be significantly more conservative than their civilian counterparts, and self-described “liberals,” who had historically been well-represented in the army in particular, had all but disappeared from all of the services.

In the 2000, 2004 and 2006 elections CNN exit polls found that roughly 80% of self-described conservatives voted Republican. Compared to 32 percent of the civilian public who described themselves as Democrats, only nine percent of military officers and 16 percent of enlisted personnel did so What makes this interesting is I believe, that this is the target audience for marketing and recruitment as well…so the enterprise is bound to only reinforce itself.

How that affects affects planning, employment, readiness, perspective, and disposition is open to debate and opinion, but clearly, it does blunt alternative ideas, thoughts, and points of view. Or does it? So I guess it really depends how we first define Homeland Security, shape it and position it. In order to really have some breadth, depth, variety, and capability, there needs to be alternative points of view, naysayers, and dare I say, non conformists. The problem with that disposition is they do not go too far in the vested, up and out, get with the program armed forces, let alone different strata of the government. There may be few exceptions, but by and large those who go along get promoted and those who are the flies in the ointment, those who are not of a certain ilk or education, or institutions opinions, experiences, and dispositions are often dismissed.

Perhaps a bit long winded or too broad, but in order to grow a viable, competent, capable, and resilient Nation and homeland security enterprise, one must entertain, include, and embrace some aspects of different knowledge domains, counterintuitive educational backgrounds, and alternative dispositions. The world only continues to demonstrate higher and higher degrees of interconnectedness, complexity, and interdependence. What got us here will not keep us here. Leaders must be learners.

This period of time emerging now and the economic reality is a great, great opportunity to demonstrate that leaders within the Homeland Security Enterprise and “The Challenges of Developing a Homeland Security Discipline to Meet Future Threats to the Homeland” is not lost on those who are shaping its future and capabilities.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 9, 2011 @ 7:59 am

HS should have created a new model for itself and not caste its image in that of the ARMED FORCES or LAW ENFORCEMENT!

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August 11, 2011 @ 2:07 am

[...] is another in a series of posts considering the analysis and recommendations of Linda Kiltz in a recent edition of the Journal of [...]

Comment by Steve Recca

August 12, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

In response to Linda Kiltz’ article, and Chris Bellavita and Mark Chubb’s initial commentary, I am providing the following running commentary from Homeland Security educators. These contributors are part of a larger planning committee associated with the development of The Journal of Homeland Security Education. The JHSE – http://www.JournalHSE.com – will publish its first issue in late January 2012.

On behalf of the contributors, thank you for the opportunity to add to the conversation – and, particularly to Chris, for initiating the special category around Linda’s timely article.

James Ramsay
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

In his response to Linda Kiltz’ article, Mark Chubb wrote: “Creating a new discipline that carves out a niche for homeland security practitioners does little to enhance the application of expertise within disciplines to solving their own problems, and could even undermine the efforts of other disciplines — like law — to secure appropriate remedies when failures in others — like engineering or medicine — produce spillover effects.”

Really? It would be helpful to see an example of how academic HS may undermine existing efforts (whatever those are) by existing disciplines to secure appropriate remedies (which were not identified). It has not been the feedback from either my students or employers or internships (which include the FBI, TSA, the Secret Service, DHS, Lawrence Livermore Labs, several in local law enforcement, the EM community, the US Dept of State, and so on) I are receiving. The feedback from the market (at least to me and my program’s students) has been overwhelmingly positive and constructive.

It seems to me the entire concept of “synergy” has been lost in this argument. HS, at the undergraduate level, leans on and utilizes science and practice from a variety of extant disciplines, and synergizes wonderfully with graduate degrees in a variety of areas (risk management, EM, intelligence studies, law and policy, strategic studies, security management, etc), and thereby is an appropriate part of one’s professional education. Indeed, it seems to be a robust generalist degree for those looking for careers in law enforcement, security management, EM, or for subsequent graduate education.

Linda’s (Kiltz’) article clearly adds to the debate about the ever-growing and emergent discipline we are calling “academic homeland security”. Rather than trying to argue for its non existence, perhaps we may try to clearly articulate what it needs to do to be even more helpful to the enterprise.

Andy Cain
DMgt – Homeland Security Board of Advisors
Colorado Technical University

The disciplines of Public Health and Medical Services; Law; Fire Science; Emergency Management; Transportation; Communications; Agriculture; Energy; and, the 7 other Emergency Support Functions (ESF’s) are Cultural “Cylinders of Excellence”. And, within each you will find more tightly bound cylinders with the habits of self-licking ice cream cones.

Homeland Security does not “carve out” from those disciplines, Homeland Security does have the potential to bind those Cylinders-of-Excellence together symbiotically to address all-hazards and mitigate disasters. And, Homeland Security Education can be the “glue that binds” those cylinders for greater strength. I call that collaborative resilience.

Stan Supinski
Naval Postgraduate School
Center for Homeland Defense and Security

I am currently having one of the best discussions I’ve ever had in one of my classes that’s closely related. One of my students is arguing that the definition of homeland security is essentially multidisciplinary communication – or, as Andy states below, binding of the cylinders of excellence. The discussion came about because of the big child porn case from last week – which had Janet Napolitano standing next to the AG. Is child porn really an HS issue? I think not, but DHS played a role, even though there was no nexus to terrorism (ICE was involved).

It is pretty hard to come up with any public safety issue that doesn’t somehow connect to HS. And, 10 years later, we are no closer to defining it.

Mike Collier
Eastern Kentucky University

One question that academia is still wrestling with is “What encompasses a multidisciplinary degree program?” When I was a student in the DIA multidisciplinary MS in Strategic Intelligence program back in the mid-1980s, there was an ongoing discussion about whether Intelligence was a real academic discipline. Proponents argued yes, because it had its own literature, its own professional and/or academic journals, and it had a professional community demanding instruction. I then encountered the same debate as to whether International Relations, also very multidisciplinary, was a real academic discipline when I started my PhD program in the mid-1990s–and this was 50 years after WWII, which most people peg as the start of the IR discipline. When it comes to multidisciplinary emerging disciplines, there will always be the naysayers who are conditioned by their single disciplinary blinders. The traditional single disciplines surely have not cornered the market on creating knowledge and solving society’s problems. The way we approach multidisciplinary Homeland Security at EKU, as was supported by the results of the 2009 CHDS conference on creating a model HS undergraduate curriculum, is that the discipline encompasses all that DHS, other government agencies, and the private sector do to protect the US–whether it is enforcing US laws at the border, protecting the CIP & KR, or responding to “all hazard” disasters. Because HS crosses government and private sector boundaries, I tell our students to think of it as a management degree specializing in security management and disaster preparedness. Eventually our HS instruction should create a core of productive HS professionals who speak the same language, and not a bunch of single discipline specialists who tend to “talk past” each other and get little done.

James Ramsay
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Good thoughts Mike. I’ll toss in a couple more intellectual tidbits: Consider the natural evolution that occurs: jobs=>occupations=>professions. Medicine and law went through this life cycle, as did nursing, engineering, and other professional fields. Today each is considered a bona fide, sovereign profession, not merely an occupation.

To broaden our perspective on whether or not “HS is a real discipline”, we can look at the status of many similar fields (aka occupations) today: security management, intelligence studies, industrial hygiene, occupational safety & health, environmental health, EM, CJ, law enforcement, IR, etc. Each can be considered a bona fide occupation with journals, professional associations, conferences, credentials, and some with accreditation standards. None have title protection or licensure. And each suffers from the challenge of an ill-defined professional boundary. When a field/occupation cannot clearly define who they are and who they are not, it is difficult to mature to a profession. A clearly defined professional boundary and some barriers to entry to that field have tended to be vital to the movement from occupation to profession. Professional boundaries, in turn, are often drawn via accreditation at the program level. Hence without a viable program level accreditation structure operating, it will be more difficult for HS to begin to define itself professionally. (I should note that accreditation is not a panacea and that data are unclear as to whether accreditation actually makes for “better practitioners”; however, accreditation does tend to tightly connect academic programs to best practices and is based in continuous quality improvement precepts).

In addition to an inarticulate professional boundary, I’d note that Dr Bellevita correctly points out that HS needs to define an underlying theoretical framework which describes its practice patterns and helps identify policy, strategy and tactics that work. Further, once developed, the HS field needs to confirm/disconfirm this theory with basic and applied research that’s subjected to peer review. However, while this is not an insurmountable deficiency, it is one that needs to be systematically addressed in the near term by HS and related educators/practitioners.

I once described academic HS as a “meta discipline” to the NY Times when I was asked what it HS “is”. I said this since HS professionals encompassed the need to be true boundary spanners, and to work/communicate with a plethora of other professionals in order to achieve a common objective. As such, its curriculum needs to reflect and bestow those skills to its students. There are disciplines that operate on a small scale (sub specialists in medicine or law; gastroenterology or nanotechnologists) and there are disciplines that operate on a larger scale, which is what HS may end up being more like. Again, at the undergraduate level, academic HS seems to make some sense at this time…. I think the jury is still out as to whether a PhD in HS makes sense…. Of course, those that pursue such a thing may end being the ones who generate and test the theory that needs to undergird the field.

Further, nobody really practices the entirety of the law, instead, they practice in something specific or a couple of things specific, but they all go to law school and they all pass a bar exam before they practice. The same can be said of medicine. Both medicine and law use and lean on the science and practice of a wide variety of extant disciplines in their own curriculum. Take medicine for example, med schools use biology, chemistry, physics, math, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, risk management, business management, and public/environmental health, among others in their curricula. In many ways, I see the educational structure of HS to be following a similar path. To condemn academic HS for using a similar model to medicine and law is not logical.

At the undergraduate level, HS is a broad field, applied social science that leans on and uses the science from a wide variety of extant disciplines and which provides a functional and appropriate platform for entry level positions or for one to pursue subsequent credentialing (CPP, CEM) or graduate work in related by extant disciplines.

It is fascinating for me to sit on the ASIS Academic Council, and the IAFIE and ASSE Education Standards Committees, and to have worked on HS accreditation standards and the occasional EM debate and see that the professional issues in this respect are identical across each of these occupations. While it’s certainly legitimate for bona fide occupations to mature into sovereign professions, it is important to note that there is a life cycle that tends to describe this growth. Indeed what we may be witnessing with the examples provided, are complex and dynamic occupations that are more than occupations, but not quite yet professions and are in fact stuck in similar places in their life cycles.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 17, 2011 @ 5:46 am

One of the major problems of HS and EM is they operate on the paradigm of preservation of existing systems when in fact perhaps the resilience paradigm shows that from the onset humankind can do better in designing its future organizations and structures and processes.

In other words, why do we need EM and HS now and will that need persist for the rest of time?

95% of all nations give the disaster relief function almost exclusively to the military! Why is that? Why does the USA not do so? What are the spectrum of choices for human societies and why? Maybe culture anthropology is one missing discipline from this process.

And for a teaser how did Rome respond to the destruction of Pompei? Or how will Italy respond to the future destruction of Naples? So not what is being done now but what should be done to promote resilience. Some authors have adopted the theme that disasters are manipulated by certain elements of society. Why does that happen and should it?

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