By Grace Castro
Posted March 20, 2009
On March 12-13, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS), along with the Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium Association (HSDECA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, held the third Annual Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit in Washington, D.C. More than 200 participants from 100+ colleges, universities and government agencies across the nation attended.
"The conference was another great example of not only the success of this collaboration so far, it also demonstrated how critical it is to continue and expand academia’s relationships even further. Homeland Security and Defense is clearly a generational endeavor and summits like this one help advance the academic communities’ contributions to the long term challenge," said CHDS Director Glen Woodbury.
This year’s summit was particularly significant since it follows the first executive administration change since 9/11. The panel on Homeland Security in the Obama Administration – which featured Paul Stockton of Stanford University, a former Associate Provost at NPS, Frank Cilluffo of George Washington University, and James Carafano from the Heritage Foundation – discussed new policies, challenges to academia and the need to engage the public in a more coherent national effort. The panel on Terrorism – Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University and CHDS faculty Seth Jones and Dave Brannan – discussed the Al Qaeda threat, the potential for domestic terrorism, and the status of various threat groups in Afghanistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan.
Perhaps most significantly, the Summit facilitated the rollout of the Homeland Security/Defense Education Consortium Association (HSDECA), the newly designated association for homeland security and homeland defense educational program accreditation. Dr. L. Staiano-Henry, Executive Director of HSDECA, addressed the audience on the accreditation process and status, the establishment of the Scholars of Homeland Security, the new Web site and community discussion forum, and future related initiatives. Her presentation generated substantial enthusiasm in establishing Homeland Security and Defense as an academic discipline.
"HSDECA is very different. We want to be inclusive and make accreditation affordable for all qualified institutions,” Staiano-Henry noted. “We are providing a new approach to the traditional process of accreditation. One of the most important takeaways from the Summit by far was the discussions on accreditation. It was very clear that HSDECA is open to including anyone willing to meet the standards of excellence in homeland security/ homeland defense education. Our critical long-term partnership with CHDS allows HSDECA the infrastructure and platform to make accreditation available the nation. The annual summit is a tremendous venue to communicate with and fortify the national homeland security/homeland defense education community," she added.
"This year’s summit, in my humble opinion, is the best we’ve ever put on, and the survey data we’ve received thus far clearly supports this statement,” said Dr. Stan Supinski, CHDS Director of Partnership Programs and lead organizer for the event. “We were able to get the most respected names in our field to participate on our panels, the breadth and quality of the breakouts were superb, and there was a clear sense of community among the participants. There’s little doubt this has become the premier event in our community, and we’ve certainly set a high standard for the future."
Michael Collier, Homeland Security Program Coordinator for Eastern Kentucky University, echoed these sentiments. "A measure of any academic discipline is the quality of the professional organizations that serve the discipline. From the start, the CHDS Web site and the annual Homeland Security Education Summits have provided the quality professional core around which the Homeland Security academic discipline has organized and been recognized. Without them, we would still be a loose accumulation of interdisciplinary programs with little centralized coordination and no identifiable knowledge base. In other words, CHDS and the Homeland Security Education Summits now define the Homeland Security discipline."