Brody Lands DHS Leaders Fellowship

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Michael Brody will spend the next nine months learning the inner-workings of the Department of Homeland Security as one of 30 DHS Fellows for 2013.

As a fellow Brody, a 2011 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, will gain a deep and wide understanding of the Department, its missions, and components. Most importantly, he’ll have the opportunity to befriend and collaborate with a group of equally dedicated, innovative, and productive DHS professionals.

This fellowship program focuses on leadership development and exposing staff to other program divisions with which they may be unfamiliar. Along with site visits to varied programs, fellows work a 60- to 90-day rotational assignment and produce a results-oriented special project. The DHS Fellowship is a separate, different program than the CHDS Distinguished Fellows initiative that sends alumni to FEMA headquarters annually for a year-long assignment.

As policy manager of DHS’ Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), he also hopes to obtain greater understanding of information–sharing needs throughout the department and across the whole homeland security community. The department is actively rolling out a new, much improved version of HSIN called HSIN Release 3 (R3).

“Any opportunity I get to understand the mission requirements of other homeland security professionals, the better I can do my job and the better I can craft policy for our program’s users,” Brody said.

In garnering that feedback he hopes to develop a better working definition for what the term ‘homeland security’ means and in doing so improve information-sharing processes.

The fellowship program was established in 2007 and at the time was aimed at management succession in the still-young department, said Annette Clare, DHS Fellows program manager. There are currently 212 alumni of the program.

“Upon graduation he will join an elite group,” Clare said.

The curriculum is modeled on the Office of Personnel Management’s five Executive Core Qualifications: leading change; leading people; results driven, business acumen; and, building coalitions. Within those qualifications are 44 “competencies.” Six weeklong, in-residence sessions are conducted.

Completion requires a capstone project in which five or six fellows are teamed together to work on an issue or project proposed by a DHS executive.

“It (the project) fills a valid need in DHS where there isn’t the time or money in place,” Clare said. “It teaches them how to work on a broader, cross-component team.”

Brody’s interest in the fellowship was driven in part by his experience in the CHDS Master’s Degree program and its emphasis on research, writing and networking. The fellowship will complement CHDS academics by providing broad leadership experience.

“The quality of the experience I had with CHDS made me realize the significance of getting any opportunity one can to branch out and meet like minded people in the homeland security enterprise,” Brody said.

As policy manager with HSIN, Brody’s job is setting legal and statutory policy parameters for a system that serves the entire homeland security enterprise.

HSIN is a secure and trusted web-based portal for information-sharing and collaboration among federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, private sector, and international partners, according to DHS. Users may securely share within their communities or reach out to other communities as needed.

“The program I work in has a fantastic management team, including Donna Roy, James Lanoue, Melvin Brown, Tracy Hollis and Denzil Thies” Brody said. “We’re working very hard on HSIN Release 3. The fellowship is a chance to understand the requirements of other parts of the department so HSIN can be as successful as possible.”