Former Texas School District Director of Safety, Security, and Threat Management Bruno Dias is continuing his work on targeted violence prevention at the federal level, and he credits the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, for the opportunity.
The CHDS alum (Master’s Program cohort 1903/1904) joined the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) as an Associate Director in April 2022, where he oversees the field operations across the Midwest region. Dias said the new position allows him to continue pursuing, at a regional level, his focus on preventing violence through collaboration and prevention.
Dias serves as one of three regional associate directors for the newly renamed and refocused office, previously known as the Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention. Based in Minnesota, he is responsible for multiple states in the Midwest region and supervises a team of regional prevention coordinators to “empower communities [and] share resources, training, technical and financial support to prevent targeted violence and terrorism.”
He said the “mission is to prevent acts of targeted violence and terrorism through a public health approach,” and the role brings both “enormous opportunities and significant challenges.”
“It’s all about prevention through partnerships,” Dias said, noting that he has been involved in violence prevention over response since his days in the CHDS Master’s Program when he addressed the issue in his 2020 thesis, “Blip on the Radar: School Safety Synergy Through Early Warning and Information Sharing” (linked below).
Dias said the level of violence involved in targeted violence incidents such as Uvalde and Buffalo “helps validate” the need for early intervention and prevention by aligning resources and support mechanisms at the onset of concerning behaviors. He said he believes communities may be successful at countering targeted violence by offering intervention opportunities instead of only relying on punitive measures.
“If we do this right, we can create a more resilient community,” he said.
In announcing the new federal center dubbed CP3 last year, DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas described its mission as helping to “build local prevention frameworks to provide communities with the tools they need to combat terrorism and targeted violence. Individuals who may be radicalizing, or have radicalized, to violence typically exhibit behaviors that are recognizable to many but are best understood by those closest to them, such as friends, family, and classmates.”
According to DHS, the center is dedicated to ensuring DHS efforts are “grounded in an approach to violence prevention that leverages behavioral threat assessment and management tools and addresses early-risk factors that can lead to radicalization to violence.”
DHS has been directed to “embrace a whole-of-society approach to combatting domestic violence extremism and all other forms of targeted violence and terrorism by building trust, partnerships, and collaboration across every level of government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and the diverse communities we serve,” according to a DHS release, which added, “The federal government cannot do this alone—we must work together.”