Twenty-seven students earn Master of Arts in Security Studies from NPS-CHDS

The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Winter Quarter Graduation Ceremony on December 20 included twenty-seven homeland security professionals who completed a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies from the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).

The women of 1803/1804 get together for a photo before the graduation ceremony.

The ceremony included over 390 NPS graduates in all. University President retired USN Vice Admiral Ann Rondeau delivered opening remarks that highlighted contributions from faculty, staff, and students before handing the podium to the featured speaker, USN Vice Admiral Timothy White, Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. VADM White shared his admiration for NPS (where he earned a Master of Science degree in Systems Technology) and spoke about the futuristic technological challenges that this graduating class is tasked with solving.

The twenty-seven CHDS master’s students participating in the graduation ceremony represent a snapshot of the homeland security enterprise, including professionals from the fields of emergency management, education, law enforcement, fire service, homeland security, public health, and local government. The various agencies associated with this master’s cohort reads like a list of stakeholders that collaborate to protect the homefront on multiple levels—from the local level (Salt Lake City Fire Department, Philadelphia Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office) to the state level (DC Department of Health, Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs) to the federal level (US Customs and Border Patrol, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Transportation Security Administration, Secret Service, and FEMA). The diverse representation of agencies and jurisdictions is evident.

Some of the law enforcement and fire service graduates from 1803/1804.

Located at the Naval Postgraduate School, CHDS is the nation’s homeland security educator. Master’s degree students develop critical thinking, leadership and policy skills during a rigorous 18-month program. Each graduate completes a thesis on a current issue facing his or her jurisdiction. The theses topics focus on key issues, such as integration of refugees, emerging technology to prevent illicit finance, human trafficking, unconscious bias, combatting misinformation, and autonomous vehicles in emergency medical services. These theses often translate into policy and practice. Many of the master’s theses are available via the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL). CHDS is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Preparedness Directorate, within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more information, visit


ABOUT NPS: The mission of the Naval Postgraduate School is to provide unique advanced education and research programs in order to increase the combat effectiveness of the U.S. and Allied armed forces as well as enhance the security of the United States. For additional information, visit

Operations Coordinator Scott Martis with some of the 1803/1804 graduates.


Four graduates received special recognition.

  • Outstanding Thesis Award: For the first time at CHDS, we have two Thesis Award winners! The award is based on academic rigor and the quality of the literature review, analysis and conclusions as well as writing and overall presentation of the thesis. Scott Fenton (Captain, Monterey County Regional Fire District) was recognized for his thesis “Misinformation Contagion: A View Through an Epidemiological Lens” and Gary Cummings (Lieutenant, Garland Police Department) for his thesis “Civil Rights Auditors: Defining Reasonable Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions on First Amendment Activities.”
  • Curtis “Butch” Straub Award: Gary Cummings, Lieutenant, Garland Police Department. The award is presented in honor and memory of one of CHDS’ founders.
  • Mark Carr Esprit de Corps Award: Tyler McCoy (1803) and Marie-Claire Brown (1804). The Mark Carr Esprit De Corps Award and is named in honor of a former CHDS student who passed in August 2014.


Group photo of NPS-CHDS master’s cohort 1803/1804.