Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit shifts to online format

NPS President Ann Rondeau and UAPP Director Steve Recca provided welcoming remarks on the second day.

Even though the 13th annual Homeland Defense & Security Education Summit looked and felt different than previous years, the plenary sessions, research panels, and discussion topics were just as impactful. In light of travel restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic, the University and Agency Partnership Program (UAPP) hosted this year’s summit online. The virtual platform allowed participation from those not normally able to travel due to funding or work reasons and drew over 450 attendees—a record for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s (CHDS) yearly event. It also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss a wide range of topics related to the theme “Leading and Educating in a Multi-Threat/Hazard Environment: What Homeland Security Leaders Need to Know.” CHDS used a combination of Zoom video conferencing and a web platform, Cadence, to support networking and information flow.

The three-day event featured 70 different presenters representing government agencies, the private sector, and universities. There were 10 research and program panels that explored topics like Pandemic Preparedness and Response, Artificial Intelligence, Crisis Communication, Ethical Dilemmas in Security and Intelligence, Climate Security, and Cybersecurity. The summit also hosted two panels focused on current issues: What Homeland Security Leaders Need to Know and Homeland Security Communication Influencers. The discussions were led by nationally-renown thought leaders in security and public communication. As expected, CHDS faculty and instructors were heavily involved and moderated 8 of the sessions.

The first day focused on faculty development and opened with program updates from CHDS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Training and Education Division (NTED) before transitioning into discussions about homeland security curriculum. The afternoon featured a special session on Climate Security: A Pre-Mortem Scenario Planning Approach to Homeland Defense and Security with Dr. John Comiskey from Monmouth University, Dr. Michael Larranaga from REM Risks, and Dr. Cameron Carlson from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Dr. James Ramsay received the inaugural Dave McIntyre Homeland Security Educator Award.

On day two UAPP Director Steve Recca began the proceedings by introducing the inaugural Dave McIntyre Homeland Security Educator Award, which will be given to a member of the UAPP community who has made significant contributions to advancing homeland security research and education. This year’s award was presented to Dr. James Ramsay, Professor & Chair at the University of New Hampshire’s Department of Security Studies. Dr. Stanley Supinski, CHDS instructor and thesis advisor, was announced as the Emeritus Recipient of the award thanks in part to his efforts to help launch UAPP as the former director.

The balance of day two included plenary sessions on topics like Leading in a Disinformation-Rich, Technology-Driven Environment and Challenges & Opportunities for Enterprise Leaders and Educators before shifting format to research panel discussions. The research panels encouraged active feedback and delved into new approaches and methodologies in homeland security education content and delivery.

Dr. Stanley Supinski was the Emeritus Recipient of the Dave McIntyre Award.

The final day provided participants with multiple options to attend concurrent research panel sessions on relevant homeland security topics. One of the morning panels was dedicated to the “Intersection of Public Health, Safety, and Security” while the other focused on “Homeland Security Influencers.” Both were well attended and generated lively feedback in real-time. Afternoon sessions also offered multiple concurrent panels so attendees had the option to discuss emerging technologies shaping the security landscape or learn about prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery techniques in a multi-hazard environment.

In the end, the summit was extremely successful and was emblematic of the Center’s ability to remain agile and shift gears to provide a fully remote event. In addition to shifting all hybrid courses to online synchronous and asynchronous instruction, CHDS has now hosted several large events in an online, virtual format.

Keep an eye out for the next issue of Watermark Alumni Magazine to read the full article about this year’s event!

The 14th annual Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit is tentatively set for the first week of November 2021 and CHDS is reviewing options for hybrid delivery with a mix of online sessions and in-person discussions in Monterey, CA.