ELP Alumnus returns to discuss National Security Threats

Last week the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Executive Leaders Program (ELP) conducted the second educational module for ELP cohort 2001. While the content is traditionally delivered to participants in the classroom during in-residence sessions, CHDS transitioned to online remote delivery in response to travel restrictions, shelter-in-place orders, and concern for program participants. This enables the program to safely run uninterrupted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while participants perform their jobs on the frontlines of the national response at the local, state, tribal, territorial, federal, and private-sector levels. ELP is a unique educational forum for senior-level homeland security and public safety leaders designed to enhance decision-making and foster collaboration while bridging gaps in interagency and intergovernmental cooperation. The hybrid ELP model consists of four one-week seminars over 12 months.

One of the hallmarks of ELP is insightful discussion guided by an accomplished cadre of subject matter experts that draw on their personal and professional experiences to inform participants about critical topics—and this session was right on target. The general objectives for this particular learning module were to elicit critical thinking and provide a useful framework for thinking about homeland security while creating opportunities to learn from other disciplines and expanding participants’ knowledge about homeland security issues.

Jay Tabb, Senior Vice President of Global Security Division at Crisis Response Company, LLC. (ELP 1602)

The first speaker to address the cohort was ELP alumnus Jay Tabb (ELP cohort 1602). Tabb is currently positioned as Senior Vice President of Global Security Division at Crisis Response Company after serving the majority of his career as a Senior Executive and Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Tabb is also a former U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) infantry officer with over three decades of national security and law enforcement experience leading strategic programs, managing organizational risk, and overseeing global security solutions.

To tackle the topic “Perspective on National Security Threats,” Tabb leveraged his thirty-plus years of experience managing and mitigating risk to provide a detailed overview of the most pressing threats and challenges facing our democracy. His presentation covered the U.S. terrorism threat, as well as the significant intelligence threat posed by nation-state actors, while providing effective solutions through enhanced partnerships. “After participating in ELP in 2016 and understanding how the experience is designed, I know how important it is for this group of homeland security leaders to develop a broad understanding of national security threats,” Tabb noted. “The starting point for that is learning how the U.S. government looks at terrorism, counter-terrorism, and foreign intelligence operations.”

The ELP participants were thoroughly engaged by the content of Tabb’s presentation and the ensuing discussion provided a platform to share ideas from within their own respective agencies or jurisdictions. The ultimate goal is to establish solutions and integrate best practices across the diverse network of homeland security. “I formed some great bonds and really learned a lot from my experience as an ELP participant, so it feels great to give back to the program and the next cohort of homeland security leaders.”

Some of the key takeaways from Tabb’s presentation were the evolving threat presented by domestic terrorists and the rise of radically motivated violent extremists. For the sake of national security, we can’t share some of the sensitive content that was covered in Tabb’s presentation—you’ll have to apply for ELP if you want to delve into that level of knowledge. But the overarching solutions that Tabb suggests can be applied across the board, “It requires a whole of government response, open lines of communication, a culture of information sharing, and opportunities for integrated effort.”

The other speakers also generated rich discussions between participants. Some of the topics included Violent Extremism with Christian Picciolini, founder of the Free Radicals Project; Thinking Critically About Homeland Security with Dr. Chris Bellavita, CHDS Academic Programs Director; Intergenerational Workplace Dynamics and Communication with Lisa Rees, Leadership Coach at U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services; Leading in Tumultuous Times with former Acting Secretary of DHS Chad Wolf; Border Management and Security with Alan Bersin, former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Diversity in Homeland Security with Curtis Brown, State Coordinator of Emergency Management for the Commonwealth of Virginia.