Doug Berglund, Director of Emergency Management, Washington County Sheriff’s Office

When asked, “What did the CHDS Master’s program do for you?”, I often struggle to provide a response that is brief, yet captures the essence of the program’s profound effect on me. Two things stand out as needing to be mentioned, first, the value of diversity in the disciplines represented within the cohorts. Every assignment discussed by our cohort provided invaluable insight from leaders of disciplines other than my own. This was critical in helping me analyze issues through perspectives that were not biased by organizational group-think or by pass precedence tendencies in my discipline. Second, the benefits of participating in the cohort model will endure the rest of my career, and beyond. The value of the cohort model is often understated in program testimonials. Once trust is established within the cohort, which happens quickly, the learning boundaries have no limits. A bond is formed within the cohort and subsequently extends even further to the legion of graduates before us. The CHDS program is the best environment for putting homeland security polices and emerging issues to the test, and developing methods for improvement. Perhaps the philosopher John Stuart Mill said it best… with my additions in parentheses, “The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject (homeland security) is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion (cohort model), and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner.” Doug Berglund Director of Emergency Management Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Jeremy DeMar, Director of Emergency Communications, City of Springfield, Mass.

Flexibility and reputation were two of the biggest reasons I chose to apply for the CHDS Master’s Program at NPS. Having just completed my undergraduate degree in Emergency Management in a completely online setting; I knew I’d need the flexibility of online learning to be able to complete an advanced degree. I had heard about the NPS program and its reputation from a number of individuals in my public safety network. After researching several online graduate programs (NPS being one of them), I chose to apply for the 1505/1506 cohort in Monterey. Several months later, I was notified of my acceptance into the program. As a public safety communications professional, I knew growth in my chosen profession would be limited without an advanced degree. This became readily apparent as I perused the many executive and director level 9-1-1 opportunities (and their academic requirements) available throughout the country. Shortly after graduation in March of 2017, I applied for a Dispatch Director position in Springfield, Massachusetts. I am convinced my participation in the NPS/CHDS program (with specific emphasis on my thesis research) led to the offer I received from the City of Springfield to become their new 9-1-1 Director. I still regularly converse with members of my cohort, and plans are already being made for our first reunion. The friendships I forged during my time at NPS, both personal and professional, will be long-lasting. I remain humbled by my selection for this wonderful academic program. Thank you, NPS!” D. Jeremy DeMar Director of Emergency Communications City of Springfield, Massachusetts

Kathleen Christie, Patrol Agent in Charge, United States Border Patrol

I applied because I heard it was a great educational program and experience. There also the appeal of no requirement to remain in residence during the entire program. This worked well for me as I could still be engaged with duties and personnel at work versus being away for a year or more and having someone else run my station. My agency benefits from the outside perspectives I gained as well as the connections I made through classmates and the CHDS Network. I perform better in my job now because I am more open to other views and perspectives. I also gained an appreciation for others in the HLS Enterprise and their contribution to protecting the Nation, such as state and local police and fire, FEMA, CIS, and TSA.” Kathleen Christie Patrol Agent in Charge U.S. Border Patrol

Michael Murphy, MMRS Director, Emergency Medical Services Authority

What attracted me to the program at first was its location (Monterey), the fact that I could still work while attending the program, the on-site two-week immersion, the cost (or lack thereof), and the prestige of the institution.  The application process was competitive and I want to see if I could measure up.  I was very comfortable with the response world but want to become more rounded by learning about intelligence, risk analysis, and intervention. I wanted to learn, and I got more than I could ever hope for.  The experience set me off on a journey of life-long learning and study.  The whole “question everything” approach has me now looking deeper into reports and opinions.  The learning comes from so many directions.  The formal coursework and assignments certainly provide value.  But the real learning came from the open and challenged discussions, critical reading, complex problem solving, guest presenters, and the interactions within a group of incredibly talented peers.  One may not realize it at the time, but everyone leaves with a new skill set and a new outlook. My nation invested in me and I take very seriously my moral obligation to make good on that investment in any way possible. Since graduating, I have utilized the learned critical thinking skills and healthy skepticism on a regular basis.  But one of the biggest benefits of graduating with a Masters from CHDS is instant credibility.  I have quite a bit of experience managing major disasters.  I have developed programs that are now commonplace.  But when I am introduced before giving a lecture, nothing creates an audience reaction of acceptance and attention as the statement “he holds a Masters Degree in Homeland Security from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.” Michael Murphy MMRS Director Emergency Medical Services Authority

James Donahue, ASAC, U.S. Secret Service

“I applied to the program hoping to learn more about homeland security from professionals positioned across federal, state, local, and tribal government. The unique perspectives of those in my cohort did not disappoint. I finished the program with more knowledge about homeland security than I would have imagined possible, with a contact-list of people who have greater intelligence than me on a range of subjects, and with a stronger ability to critically assess information in order to make informed decisions. I strongly recommend the program to those agencies that recognize insularity will only stifle development, and I think the benefit of learning from scholarly instructors and insightful classmates cannot be understated.” James Donahue Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge U.S. Secret Service

James Pendley, Assistant Chief, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

I am so proud of what I have achieved during the Master’s degree program at CHDS and I am particularly energized with knowledge about homeland security issues facing the future of my agency, our region, and the nation as a whole. This program is a win for agency executives who allow a staff member to attend (at no cost) and get a future focused leader in return. There is no other opportunity that can compare with CHDS.” James Pendley Assistant Chief Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office