Naval Postgraduate SchoolCenter for Homeland Defense and Securityheader background
Login HomeAcademic ProgramsResearch and MaterialsPress and News

Executive Leaders Program (ELP)

Need to register or apply?

Applications are now being accepted for the next cohort.

imageDeadline: June 15, 2015

Already participating?

If you have already been accepted to or are participating in this program, go to your Participant Resources.


Local, state, tribal and federal government agencies and the private sector are at the forefront of our nation's homeland security mission. Being at the forefront in a rapidly changing environment requires continuous education for our nation's homeland security leaders. All require a deeper understanding of the current and emerging homeland security issues, public policy debates, the terrorist threat and evolving best practices. The Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA provides the educational opportunity for our nation's homeland security leaders to develop the strategies, policies and organizational elements needed to defeat terrorism in the United States.

The cast of the CBS TV show NCIS congratulates 2012 graduates of the ELP program, which included leadership from NCIS. [view larger video]

Overarching Goal and Objectives:

  • To provide an educational forum to enhance senior leaders' capacity to identify and resolve homeland security problems as well as an opportunity to build networks among the nation's local, tribal, state, federal government and private sector homeland security officials.
  • To strengthen the national security of the United States by providing a non-degree graduate level educational program that meets the immediate and long-term needs of leaders responsible for homeland defense and security.
  • To assist local, state, tribal, federal government and private sector executives in building capacity to defeat terrorism.


This program consists of four modules beginning with foundational aspects of homeland security and the threats, proceeding to describe the nature of the threats, legal and cultural aspects of preventing and preparing for the threats, the collaborations necessary to effectively manage the information sharing, threat recognition, protection measures, and plans in preparation for action.

Each of the one-week seminars will offer presentations on selected topics around leading in networks, and the nature and scope of the Homeland Security issues which are used to assess the strategic application of the resources of the local, state, tribal, and federal jurisdictions to address those issues. Seminars will be conducted on such topics as intelligence, critical infrastructure, border/immigration, threat recognition, crisis and risk communications, incident management and fear management as well as emerging homeland security issues. All of the topics will be discussed on a strategic, policy, and organizational design level with particular attention to intergovernmental planning challenges. The participants will consider complex issues and case studies, and work through problems that enable them to strengthen working relationships across regions, agencies, and local-state-federal jurisdictional and private sector lines.

Program Structure:

Each session will be conducted over a four and one-half day period at the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security facilities in Monterey, CA. There is a total of four one-week sessions over a nine-month period. Participants must commit to attending all four sessions. Participants consist of approximately thirty senior local, state, tribal, federal government, military and private sector officials with homeland security responsibilities. The program is designed to accommodate the busy schedules of participating executives and will not require the workload of traditional graduate level education programs.

The instruction will be a combination of presentations and facilitated discussion between faculty, participants and subject matter experts. The in-residence week will be structured around a Monday through Friday timeframe. Each day will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end by 4:00 p.m. with the exception of Friday which will end at 10:00 a.m. The NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security will cover the cost of travel and lodging to each of the sessions. The hotel accommodations will be covered Sunday prior to beginning the seminar through Friday.

Selection Criteria:

The selection criteria look at the relevancy and level of applicants' positions and homeland security responsibilities and the homeland security experience and knowledge they will bring to the program. This is very important since the sessions are facilitated roundtable discussions and debates where participants learn from one another. In addition, a major objective of the program is to establish relationships between executives across disciplines, agencies and levels of government so that they can utilize the network to develop new homeland security policies, strategies and plans to solve problems. Therefore, the selection criteria will also look at the potential benefit of relationship building to the applicant.

Cohort ELP1501

Application deadline: January 15, 2015 [closed]
Dates in-residence
Module 1May 18-21, 2015
Module 2Aug 4-7, 2015
Module 3Nov 3-6, 2015
Module 4Feb 15-18, 2016

Cohort ELP1502

Application deadline: June 15, 2015
Dates in-residence
Module 1Nov 9-12, 2015
Module 2Feb 22-25, 2016
Module 3May 16-19, 2016
Module 4Aug 8-11, 2016
Frequently Asked Questions

Phone: 831-656-3829
Fax: 831-656-2619
 The CHDS Executive Leaders Program was one of the most impactful experiences of my twenty-six years serving in fire and emergency services. The interaction and collaboration with senior leaders from such a broad variety of disciplines represented by the members of our cohort was an exceedingly unique and valuable learning and networking opportunity. I was captivated by the acuity and creativity of the CHDS staff and the diverse presenters who gently, yet skillfully, prodded each of us to escape from our own particular silos, to think outside the box, to collaborate, and to network, all in the endeavor to not only enhance our personal capabilities, but additionally to improve the capacities of our individual agencies to pursue a safer, more secure, and increasingly resilient nation. Perhaps equally as valuable as the daily formal classroom sessions was the time spent engaged in informal discussions and bonding with fellow participants over food and drink. I highly recommend the Executive Leaders Program for any senior leader within the Homeland Security enterprise who wishes to be exposed to some of the brightest minds in the field, and to deepen understanding of and sense of connection to this community that, although multi-disciplinary and geographically dispersed, shares a common purpose and critically important mission.

John Flynn
Assistant Chief, Yonkers Fire Department
Graduated February 2014