Manny Morales, Major, Miami Police Department

As a local police executive, I recognized the importance of enhancing my ability to address the emerging unconventional threats to our communities in Miami. I applied to CHDS because of its reputation as the nation’s premier educator in the field of homeland security. The rigorous academic program has allowed me to enhance my critical thinking and problem-solving skills while creating a solid network of homeland security practitioners available to assist by offering a unique perspective on the challenges impacting our nation. The program is designed to bring together members from numerous governmental entities with expertise in various disciplines that allowed me the opportunity to view challenges to other professions and jurisdictions. The course material is designed to push you out of your comfort zone and expose you to scenarios that necessitate progressive thinking. If you are looking for an opportunity to attain a degree in higher education with the prospect to conduct research on a problem impacting your jurisdiction with the assistance of a world-class faculty, then this is the program for you. CHDS offers a cost-free way to enhance the organization’s ability to develop the skills of their personnel to aid in their mission, regardless of their position or responsibility in the agency. The knowledge attained in the master’s program will enhance the aptitude of their team to effectively address the challenges they will face as part of the homeland security enterprise.”

Aristotle Wolf, Captain, California Highway Patrol

There are very few outlets that foster in-depth study of the philosophy, sociology and psychology behind our roles as public safety and homeland security professionals.  Among them, the CHDS Master’s Program is one of the few that translates theory into practice by adding to a body of knowledge that practitioners and policymakers can use to make the United States a safer part of a complex and interconnected world.”

Thomas C. Lakamp, Assistant Fire Chief, Cincinnati (OH) Fire Department

I’ve often asked myself why I applied. Honestly I had been looking into CHDS for a while and had a lot of self doubt whether I could handle the work load, the rigor of the curriculum and writing a thesis while managing work and family responsibilities. I am really glad I made this decision. I am so proud of saying I am a graduate. One of the top factors for choosing CHDS was the reputation of the program and the experience and quality of the instructors. Discussion with graduates sealed the deal for me. I think what I received from the program was to develop my critical thinking and writing skills. The curriculum and instructors provided the opportunity to examine and discuss complex issues that challenged me daily during the IR. (I often remember walking back to my room thinking how fortunate I was to be in the classroom with such smart people – Instructors and cohort). This program exposed me to all facets of Homeland Security that I hadn’t considered before through the expertise and experience of the instructors and the incredible interaction with my cohort. I believe that Homeland Security education is important because it touches all aspects of our lives, especially considering National and World affairs and the ever-present responsibility to prepare for, prevent, and mitigate natural and manmade disasters. (I realize that sounded like a textbook FEMA answer but after completing this program I truly feel this way.) Before this program, I hadn’t considered traffic engineering, public works and the design of public buildings or the myriad of other things my fellow cohort mates were into would be considered Homeland Security issues. This program changed the way I look at all aspects of my City’s departments and their role in Homeland Security.”

Cal Bowman, Chairman, Urban Area Security Initiative, Senior Policy Advisor, Baltimore City Office of Emergency Management

Sir Issac Newton once said that “if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” The opportunity to learn alongside some of the brightest minds of the homeland security enterprise is surpassed only by the rigorous standards of academic excellence established by the collection of faculty instructors at NPS-CHDS. Enrollment at CHDS allows you to explore radical new ideas, or expand the existing research put forward by those who have come before”

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.”

Mark Molinari, Captain, NYPD

I initially applied for the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security Masters in homeland security program based on scholarship publications from the NYPD. As I spoke to colleagues and former cohort members, I was amazed at their experiences and the glow on their faces when they spoke about it. The program gave me a new respect for homeland security and the professionals in the field. There are so many benefits for those who dare to take the challenge of the program- the knowledge of the professors, the diverse background, collegiality and experiences of the cohort members, and the dedication of the staff to help every participant succeed.  I learned in the program that homeland security influences every part of everyday life. The relevancy and timeliness of the curriculum is demonstrated in the statement I made every time the cohort gathered for our in-residence sessions, “This course syllabus is written and re-written every day in the real world.”