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Alumni Flex Writing Prowess

Many CHDS graduates are inspired to publish long after they complete their thesis in the master’s degree program at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

Little wonder that alumni go on to write books and articles for leading publishers and publications.

June 2010 saw a string of articles, chapters and books written by CHDS alumni that have found their way into print on topics ranging from judicial review to the domestic web of Islamic terrorism threats.

Olson explores Islamist terrorism

Dean Olson (MA 0401/0402) has been studying and writing about Islamic-related terrorism since his graduation from CHDS in 2005, where his interest on the topic was first piqued.

Olson wrote a review in the June/July 2010 edition of "The Counter-Terrorist" of a document written by Mohamed Akram titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," a guide for the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood.

Far from a typical book review, Olson’s pieced detailed the discovery of this document - written in May 1991, but not discovered in the United States until 2004 - that outlined a mission of "soft" jihad that focused on usurping America’s democratic institutions, rather than bombings and killings, and implementing Shariah law.

Olson sees this as an insidious and destructive threat.

"The largest take-away from this is that we are facing an enemy that is very shrewd and very sophisticated," Olson said by phone from his home in Omaha, Neb. "They are most dangerous in the soft form of civilization jihad in which they try to undermine our democracy and instill Shariah law without firing a shot."

The document referred to the duties of the "Ikhwan," or Muslim Brotherhood, to eliminate and destroy Western Civilization from within. It goes on to list 29 "organizations of our friends" in North America, some which are prominently known. Through researching other documents, Olson wrote that the Muslim Brotherhood had a target date of 2050 for transforming the Unites States into a country governed by Shariah law.

"We are a country at war trying to fight terrorism, but nobody seems to care that we have people operating inside the homeland here," Olson said. "I think that is because of a lot of deference to political correctness."

At the same time, Olson makes clear he is not condemning the Islamic religion as a whole, but only the extremist elements of it.

The article is available at http://digital.ipcprintservices.com/publication/?i=37162&pre=1

Cox, Landahl examine employer preparedness

Alumni Cynthia Cox and Mark Landahl (MA 0501/0502) examined the need for employee preparedness programs in a chapter for a book titled "Integrating Emergency Management Studies into Higher Education: Ideas, Programs and Strategies (2010, Public Entity Risk Institute)."

The pair had previously written on the same topic in the September 2009 edition of Homeland Security Affairs Journal.

"The topic came out of a work-related problem at the Frederick County Sheriff's Office where I was looking for some examples of employee preparedness programs that would mitigate problems revealed by previous research and lessons learned from actual incidents where responders may not report during disaster," noted Landahl.

As a retired Captain with the Texas State Guard-Medical Reserve Corps, Cox said she had witnessed the issue first-hand.

"The volunteer medical reserve groups in Texas were facing similar issues," said Cox, who is now on the faculty at the University of Maryland-University College. "Disaster response is the core of their mission, but they could not accurately report capability to do so. I had already conducted some informal surveys, and knew that family well-being had a tremendous influence on their willingness to respond."

Cox and Landahl developed a research project that included a survey of homeland security leaders. Though a majority of those surveyed (52 percent) believe an organization should be prepared to provide some level of care for essential employees and their families and that such preparedness is essential to resilience (97 percent), only 29 percent had conducted training or written plans to support workers and employees during a large-scale event.

However, the same survey showed that almost 53 percent stated that an employer need only "encourage" workers and their families to be prepared.

"If as the survey data suggests and employee and family preparedness is central to organizational capability and preparedness, can organizations afford to simply encourage?" noted Landahl.

Added Cox: "As homeland security and emergency management leaders, we place a premium on community and individual preparedness and know it influences resilience following a disaster. We need to ensure that our priorities include the safety and well being of our employees, families and ourselves if we are to truly be successful in our efforts."

Fairweather studies judicial review

Rhode Island attorney Patty A. Fairweather (MA 0705/0706) capitalized on her CHDS thesis topic in her recently published book, "State Supreme Court Chief Justices' Views: Liberty/Security and The GWOT: Delicately Balancing Liberty/Security Measures to Reduce Terror, Respect Human Dignity and Promote a More Perfect Union" (2010 Lambert Academic Publishing).

The book examines the worth and issues surrounding judicial review in the fight against terrorism.

"I became interested in the views of State Supreme Court Chief Justices on what factors they considered essential in balancing civil liberties and public safety and security measures during national emergencies primarily because the focus has been on federal and military when it came to all matters relating to the deposition of terrorism cases," Fairweather said. "Terrorism, especially domestic terrorism, occurs on the local level in the first instance. I simply thought it would be interesting to hear the views of those justices most proximate to the locus of domestic terrorist activity. As an attorney I am especially interested in judicial views on balancing liberty and security."

Through her research, Fairweather said she was convinced judicial review is necessary to a healthy democracy.

"It serves to ensure that government deeds are matched to human dignity," Fairweather noted. "It guards against tyranny and offers an alternative process for an aggrieved public to petition their government for redress. In this fashion, it has a positive effect on reducing terrorism and support for terrorism."

There were some surprises, however,

Allison’s survey found that 46 percent of the justices in her survey agreed that there was value in permitting coercive interrogation techniques during national emergencies, when the value of the information sought is great, to 36 percent who were in disagreement and 18 percent neutral.

"That is especially surprising since torture arguably falls within the definition of coercive interrogation and the mantra is that America does not torture," she noted.