Representing federal, state, local, and private agencies and organizations, nearly two dozen participants completed the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Radiological Emergency Preparedness Executive Education Program and received their certificates in a ceremony at Herrmann Hall at the Naval Postgraduate School campus on Aug. 26.
Cohort 2201 consisted of 23 participants who completed the program, including Kimberly Campbell (City of Surprise, AZ, Emergency Manager), Matt Dekat (Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation Manager of Emergency Planning), and Kevin Hicks (Alabama Department of Public Health Office of Radiation Control Emergency Planning & Environmental Monitoring Branch Director).
Campbell, whose responsibilities include the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Maricopa County west of Phoenix, first became CHDS alumni in 2021 (Executive Leaders Program cohort 2002). She said she returned because of her job and because CHDS “by far supersedes other programs” when it comes to emergency management education.
She cited the benefits of networking, building relationships, and “understanding the greater impacts to homeland security” as a whole through the CHDS programs, as well as how to integrate critical thinking, strategic planning, and crisis communication.
“It raises the bar for solving problems in the homeland security” enterprise, she said.
Campbell said that radiological issues are simply an aspect of the homeland security and emergency management realm.
Dekat said he knew about CHDS because groups of Wolf Creek managers had already attended the REP program in the past, and the opportunity to access additional education is a positive. He said he was particularly enamored of the REP program instruction in lateral thinking, problem-solving, ethics, and decision-making. He noted the overarching question of whether it made more sense to use one’s capacity to try to evacuate larger numbers of people in a nuclear emergency or leave some in place while concentrating on the most seriously injured.
Hicks said several fellow emergency managers suggested applying for the CHDS REP program. He lauded the depth of thought that had gone into the program’s curriculum, calling it a “very well-thought-out program.” He praised both facilitators, Stan McKinney, CHDS Executive Education Senior Adviser, and Ed Buikema, REP Executive Education Subject Matter Expert, and Kat Degnon, Executive Education Program Events Manager, among others, for their dedication.
He noted the continued move toward green technology, pointing out that nuclear energy is a carbon-less and clean power source, and suggested a trend towards exploring smaller, innovative nuclear power plants. There is a resulting need to engage the public with more education on the technology, Hicks said, adding that CHDS will be a key source of crucial information to pursue that effort.
CHDS, in conjunction with the FEMA Technological Hazards Division, developed the REP programs to provide government and industry leaders with the tools and resources they need to think and act strategically about off-site fixed nuclear facility preparedness.