An educational forum and innovation lab to critically think about homeland security, explore emerging trends in the world around us, and initiate change

Emergence PDF

The Emergence Program is a unique opportunity for homeland security/public safety professionals who are in the early stage of their career. The program provides an educational forum and innovation lab for participants to explore “emerging” trends in the world around us (e.g., technology, social, and terrorism). Participants will discuss both the challenges associated with these complex trends as well as the opportunities to rethink how we protect our communities and the nation. In addition, program sessions will assist participants in “emergence” strategies for implementing innovative ideas, being a leader, and for a successful homeland security career. All costs associated with participating – tuition, books and travel – are covered by CHDS through its sponsor, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA.

Program Objectives:

  • Enhance the next generation of homeland security leaders’ understanding of the homeland security discipline and emerging trends.
  • Facilitate participants’ homeland security perspectives and what they view as opportunities for change and contributions their generation can make to the evolving discipline.
  • Emphasize and enhance critical inquiry, analysis, and evidence-based research to understand complex problems and to develop and implement new ideas.
  • Develop and explore strategies for success in a changing work environment.
  • Inspire participants to a career in homeland security/public safety.
HS Leaders are saying ...

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Learning Structure:

  • The cohort of 32 participants will be chosen from a national applicant pool and will reflect the variety of professional backgrounds, perspectives, and geographic areas that comprise the homeland security community.
  • Six-month program with (2) one-week in-residence sessions and network-based learning that continues throughout the six-month program. The in-residence sessions are held at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
  • The network-based learning portion of Emergence includes readings, discussion boards, research and ideation around the change initiatives, and other activities.
  • In-residence sessions are a mixture of interactive and informative presentations, discussions and group exercises.
  • A significant part of the Emergence Program includes an innovation lab for participants to research and develop an idea for change within their organizations (e.g., new policy, approach, program, procedure, system, use of technology, etc.). Participants will work collaboratively during the lab. CHDS staff will be available to assist with the drafting of individual implementation plans.
  • As part of the program, participants will brief their “change initiative” to their agency leadership for consideration and feedback following the first in-residence session and will develop an action plan to guide its implementation.

Next Cohorts:

Currently accepting applications for Cohort 2102 > deadline May 1 2021 > apply now

Cohort 2002
Dec 1 2020-Mar 5 2021
Mar 7-12 2021
Mar 15-Jul 9 2021
Jul 11-16 2021
Cohort 2101
Jul 1-Sep 24 2021
Sep 26-Oct 1 2021
Oct 4-Jan 14 2022
Jan 17-21 2022
Cohort 2102
Dec 1 2021-Mar 11 2022
Mar 13-18 2022
Mar 21-Jun 3 2022
Jun 6-10, 2022

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


  • Full-time government employee of a local, state, tribal, territorial, or federal homeland security/public safety agency or a private sector employee with security/safety responsibilities.
  • In the first half of one’s working career (including, all non-homeland security/public safety jobs since high school), and at least 1 year (approximately) with one’s current agency or organization. (Interested applicants in the second half of their work career and/or in significant leadership decision-making positions should consider applying to the CHDS Executive Leaders Program.)

Emergence Alumni Making a Difference:

Emergence Alumnus Making a Difference

The breadth and complexity surrounding effective organizational communication confounds the most knowledgeable and effective leaders. Alum William Powell, serving as a Public Affairs Specialist for FEMA Region III, well understood the difficulties surrounding communication.

Emergence Alumna Making a Difference

For alumna Sara Khah, Patrol Officer of the DC Metropolitan Police Department, improving the communication capabilities of first responders across the District during a crisis served as the focal point for her Emergence project efforts.

Emergence Alumna Making a Difference

Celebrating Mardi Gras in the city of New Orleans is a way of life; it is also a significant contributor to concerns for those charged with public safety. These concerns drove graduate Laura Mellem, serving as the Public Engagement Manager for NOHSEP, to search for a solution to improve public awareness.

Emergence Alumnus Making a Difference

Finding solutions to performance challenges starts with the recognition and definition of the problem. For alumnus and firefighter Cody Lockwood of DC Fire and EMS, recognition of gaps in training for frontline firefighters began with an introspective look at his own experiences.

Emergence Alumnus Making a Difference

Accurate and timely information is critical to the success of any emergency operations center (EOC). Alum Eric Shreve, serving as a GIS Applications Developer for the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, is connecting existing social media technologies with his expertise in the GIS environment.

Emergence Alumnus Making a Difference

Hiring within the federal government is often a long and tedious process; the remoteness of the location only exacerbates the challenge. Along the border with Canada, alum Joshua Conroy, CBP Officer and Collateral Duty Recruiter, knows all too well the difficulties in hiring and retaining qualified candidates.

Emergence Alumna Making a Difference

Alum Nicole Markuski, serving as the Training and Exercise Program Manager for the Maryland – National Capital Region Emergency Response System, created i.LEAD, a program to foster strategic and critical thinking across the broad spectrum of homeland security professionals in her area.

Emergence Alumnus Making a Difference

Effective law enforcement extends beyond tactics and training; additionally, it requires timely and impactful community engagement. For alumnus Sergeant Blake Higley of the Idaho State Police, this multifaceted approach to building a more effective cadre of law enforcement professionals is central.

Emergence Alumna Making a Difference

Alumna and Outreach Branch Chief Michelle Torres from the State of Alaska, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is finding a solution to Alaska's crisis response: training at-risk youth as a Community Emergency Response Team.

Emergence Alumna Making a Difference

Alumna Courtney Mayard, the Disaster Program Manager for Medical City Plano, Texas, applied the skills learned within the classroom to establish local decontamination teams scaled to fit the capabilities of north Texas medical providers.

Emergence Alumna Making a Difference

The vastness of Eastern Pacific Ocean makes logistical support and multi-national cooperation a challenge while conducting counter-drug operations. Alum LTJG Alexis Wilde with the USCG addressed those challenges.

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Heather Issvoran
Director, Strategic Communications
Contract Support for CHDS