Andrew Brock, State & Local Program Specialist, DHS – Office of Operations Coordination

Why I applied for the CHDS:

I had been looking at various master’s degree programs over the years and was consistently hearing positive things about NPS and the program hosted at CHDS.  I  knew I wanted to obtain a master’s degree that was more than just a piece of paper.  I wanted to become part of a network of people and organizations whose interests would remain in homeland security.  Based on the feedback I had received from prior graduates, I felt this program would serve to challenge my current perspective and allow me to expand my understanding of the overall homeland security environment, all while becoming a part of that larger network of graduates and instructors.”

What I got out of the program:

CHDS provided a professional academic environment where it is safe to speak your mind, and to challenge one another’s thoughts and ideas.  Having been assigned to DHS HQ for more than a decade, being in an environment where you are able to interact (both academically and socially) with practitioners from a variety of homeland security related fields has proven invaluable.  Some of the themes that resonated throughout my time in CHDS are:

  • What you think you know to be true through experience, is not always something you can prove academically.  Applying academic rigor to any effort, provides for a more defensible position as to why certain actions were, or were not, taken.  Note: Be prepared to realize you were wrong, it’s okay.
  • Words matter! You are responsible for what you say and how you say it.  Be prepared to be asked to restate your position, define a word in the context in which you intended to use it, and to ensure you apply the same focus to what you say verbally as you do to what you write.

Throughout the program and continuing regularly now, I found that network of homeland security professionals to bounce ideas off of.  The NPS and CHDS networks are vast.  Within the network you will find your classmates, coworkers, friends, and mentors.”

Why homeland security education is important:

Unlike sports, politics, and religion, the concept of securing the homeland is a concept we can all get behind.  We may not agree with some of the ideas on how to get there; however, everyone in this course is passionate about the idea of securing the homeland.  This course is important because it provides an environment where the sharing of ideas is encouraged.  It is through the sharing of these ideas that we all learn.  It is through this common plateform of learning that new ideas are developed and allowed to be examined in a safe environment.

Depending on one’s unique experiences and perceptions, an individual’s concept of homeland security is defined differently.  This course and the field of homeland security education, strives to recognize this complexity and works towards building common perspectives associated with core elements of securing the homeland securing the homeland.”

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