Executive Leaders Program (ELP)

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

Prospective Students

Learn about the program and the application.
Deadlines: January 15 and June 15

Current Students

The Executive Leaders Program (ELP) provides a unique educational opportunity for senior-level homeland security and public safety leaders at the forefront of the nation’s homeland security mission. This non-degree, graduate-level educational program develops leaders responsible for homeland security and public safety by enhancing critical thinking skills in a collaborative and cross-functional environment. Participants in this program represent a diverse group of federal, state, local, territorial, tribal, and private sector leaders who become enhanced decision-makers and innovative collaborators. 

Participants in the Executive Leaders Program gain knowledge from experienced instructors and nationally recognized experts. They also learn from each other by discussing relevant issues and complex problems while exploring frameworks and strategies to enhance their organization or agency’s homeland security mission. A core component of ELP is the cross-jurisdictional and organizational collaboration that results from having a diverse group of senior-level leaders in the program. Graduates of the program emerge with a deeper understanding of the nation’s homeland security issues and a broadened network of homeland security leaders.

With the exception of private sector participants, all costs associated with participating—tuition, course materials, travel, and lodging on campus at the Naval Postgraduate School—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 comprehend complex homeland security problems and respond decisively and consistently.
  • Acquire a deeper understanding of current and emerging homeland security issues, public policy debates, threats and risks that impact communities across the U.S., and evolving best practices.
  • Provide an educational forum that builds networks and strengthens collaboration across regions, agencies, and local-state-federal-tribal jurisdictional and private-sector lines.


Seminars feature presentations and discussions on selected topics such as international and domestic threats and hazards, cyber and technology nexuses to the homeland security enterprise, leadership frameworks, crisis and risk communication, homeland security workforce challenges and opportunities, border/immigration issues, as well as emerging homeland security issues.

Topics are discussed on a strategic, policy, and organizational level with particular attention to the complexity of intergovernmental collaboration challenges. Students consider complex issues and case studies and work through problems that enable them to strengthen working relationships across regions, agencies, and local-state-federal-tribal jurisdictional and private-sector lines.

Learning Structure

  • The cohort of approximately thirty senior local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government, military, and private sector officials are chosen from a national applicant pool and reflect the variety of professional backgrounds and geographic areas that comprise the homeland security community.
  • Students learn in a classroom environment on the campus of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. The sessions are scheduled on a quarterly cadence. 
  • The instruction is a combination of presentations and facilitated discussions between faculty, participants and subject matter experts.
  • Designed to accommodate the busy schedules of participating executives, ELP does 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.


Twelve-month program with (4) one-week in-residence sessions. Students lodge on the NPS campus during the in-residence periods.

Cohort 2401
Monterey, CA

Application deadline:
January 15, 2024

One-Hour Virtual OrientationFeb 26–Mar 1, 2024*
In-residence (IR) 1May 20–23, 2024
IR 2August 26–29, 2024
IR 3November 18–21, 2024
IR 4February 24–27, 2025

*One-hour virtual orientation timeslots will be scheduled with participants post-selection

Cohort 2402
Monterey, CA

Application deadline:
June 15, 2024

One-Hour Virtual OrientationAugust 19–23, 2024*
In-residence (IR) 1October 15–18, 2024
IR 2January 6–9, 2025
IR 3April 7–10, 2025
ELP/Emergence Virtual Joint SeminarMay 8, 4–5:30pm (Pacific)
IR 4July 21–24, 2025

*One-hour virtual orientation timeslots will be scheduled with participants post-selection

Cohort 2501
Monterey, CA

New Application deadline:
December 1, 2024

One-Hour Virtual OrientationJan 27–31, 2025*
In-residence (IR) 1May 19–22, 2025
IR 2August 25–28, 2025
IR 3November 17–20, 2025
IR 4February 23–26, 2026

*One-hour virtual orientation timeslots will be scheduled with participants post-selection

Criteria and Eligibility

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.

DHS Employees: Read this before starting an application.
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, see the list of the points of contact for each component.

Private Sector Applicants: Please note the following before starting an application.
Beginning in 2023, private sector organizations are required to pay the travel and per diem costs of participants accepted to either the CHDS Executive Leaders Program or the Emergence Program. There is no charge for tuition. Private sector individuals who are accepted into either of the two CHDS programs will be asked to confirm their organization’s financial support as part of the acceptance process.

INQUIRIES: Sara Kay, ELP Director |

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