Emergence Program

Academic journey and innovation lab for officials in the first half of their careers to critically think about homeland security, explore emerging trends, and initiate change in themselves and their organizations.

Prospective Students

Learn about the program and the application.
Deadlines: May 1 and December 1

Current Students
Inquiries, 831-402-4672 (PST)


The Emergence Program is a unique opportunity for homeland security/public safety professionals who are in the first half of their careers. 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.

What Participants are Saying

For more information on Emergence and other CHDS programs, watch the National Recruitment Webinar (2023)

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.
  • 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.


Emergence is a 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.

Cohort 2501
Monterey, CA

Application deadline:
December 1, 2024

OnlineJun 23 – Sep 27, 2025
In-residence (IR) 1Sep 28 – Oct 3, 2025
OnlineOct 4 – Jan 11, 2026
IR 2Jan 12 – 16, 2026

Cohort 2402
Monterey, CA

Application deadline:
May 1, 2024 (CLOSED)

OnlineDec 1, 2024 – Mar 15, 2025
In-residence (IR) 1Mar 16-21, 2025
OnlineMar 22 – Jun 7, 2025
IR 2Jun 8 – 12, 2025

Criteria and Eligibility

  • 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.)

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: Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, Communications and Recruitment |, 831-402-4672 (PST)

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