An educational forum for senior-level homeland security/public safety leaders designed to enhance decision-making and foster collaboration to strengthen the security of the United States.



The Executive Leaders Program provides a unique educational opportunity for senior-level homeland security/public safety leaders who are at the forefront of the Nation’s homeland security mission. This non-degree, graduate-level educational program meets the immediate and long-term needs of leaders responsible for homeland security/public safety by bringing together a variety of disciplines and jurisdictions into one room. Each class consists of a diverse group of federal, state, local, territorial, tribal and private sector leaders who become enhanced decision-makers and innovative collaborators. Participants learn from each other by discussing relevant issues and complex problems while developing policies and strategies to enhance their organization or agency’s homeland security/public safety mission.

The impact of the Executive Leaders Program is not only by learning from the experienced instructors and nationally recognized experts but also through the cross-jurisdiction and organization cultivation that occurs within the diverse group of senior-level leaders in the program. Graduates of the program emerge with a deeper understanding of homeland security issues and a broadened network of homeland security leaders from around the Nation.

All costs associated with participating – tuition, course materials, and travel – are covered by the Center for Homeland Defense and Security through its sponsor, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA.


Program Objectives:

  • Provide frameworks to develop innovative strategies, enhance policies and organizational elements needed to strengthen the national security of the United States.
  • Enhance homeland security leaders’ capacity to identify complex homeland security problems and respond decisively and consistently
  • Acquire a deeper understanding of the current and emerging homeland security issues, public policy debates, the terrorist threat, and evolving best practices.
  • Provide an educational forum that builds networks and strengthens collaboration across regions, agencies, and local-state-federal jurisdictional and private-sector lines.
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Each of the one-week seminars will offer presentations on selected topics such as international and domestic threats and hazards, cyber and technology challenges, understanding critical infrastructure, border/immigration issues, crisis and risk communication, and leadership frameworks, as well as the emerging homeland security issues.

All of the topics will be discussed on a strategic, policy, and organizational design level with particular attention to the complexity of the intergovernmental collaboration 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

  • Twelve-month program with (4) one-week in-residence sessions
  • The cohort of approximately thirty-two senior local, state, tribal, territorial and federal government, military and private sector officials that are chosen from a national applicant pool and reflect the variety of professional backgrounds and geographic areas that comprise the homeland security/public safety community.
  • The instruction will be a combination of presentations and facilitated discussions between faculty, participants and subject matter experts.
  • Designed to accommodate the busy schedules of participating executives and will not require the workload of traditional graduate-level education programs.
  • Instructors are experts in their field and offer unique perspectives on how emerging trends can be leveraged and applied to the participant’s  organization.

Next Cohorts:

Currently accepting applications for Cohort 2201 > deadline Jan 15 2022 > apply now

Cohort 2101
May 11-14 2021
Aug 17-20 2021
Nov 15-18 2021
Jan 31-Feb 3, 2022
Cohort 2102
Nov 30-Dec 3 2021
Feb 14-17 2022
May 10-13 2022
Aug 8-11 2022
Cohort 2201
May 23-26 2022
Aug 29-Sep 1 2022
Nov 1-4 2022
Feb 6-9 2023

NOTE: If the in-residences are not able to be held due to COVID-19, they will be conducted through remote learning.

Criteria and Eligibility for Applying to the Executive Leaders Program:

Applications are now being accepted. Applicants may submit applications at any time, but to be considered for the next class, completed applications should be received by the nearest deadline (see above).

Please note: All DHS components require their employees to apply through their training and education department before submitting an official application on the CHDS website. If you are a DHS employee, review these instructions before you start an application.

Submitting an application does not indicate acceptance into the program. Each complete application will be reviewed and evaluated using an objective, weighted system assessing the applicant’s background, credentials, and experiences against the knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with the program. Applicants will be notified of their status once the admissions committee makes its recommendation.

The following are minimum qualifications applicants should have to be considered for admission:

  • Full-time, senior-level government employees of a local, state, tribal, territorial, or federal homeland security/public safety agency, or a private sector employee with homeland security/public safety responsibilities.
  • Applicants should possess strong collaboration abilities, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and an appreciation for continuous education and professional growth.
  • A demonstrated commitment to a career in homeland security/public safety.
  • If accepted to the program participants must commit to attending all four sessions.