January 8, 2003
NBC 11 News, 07 Jan 03

Homeland Security Degree Offered in Monterey

Students Can Receive Master's Degree

MONTEREY — Students at the Naval Postgraduate School can now get a master's degree in homeland defense.

Class began Monday at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, a program that will combine civilian and military antiterrorism expertise. The U.S. Department of Justice provided the center with $15 million in funding.

"This is really a first for the nation," said Rep. Sam Farr, D-Salinas.

Fourteen students — four military officers and 10 civilians — are participating in the inaugural course. The class, which is designed for experts, will cover how to protect infrastructure, scrutinizing the vulnerability of wireless networks and the use of software decoys and other technology.

Another program will feature mobile education teams to educate state governors and their staffs about terrorism.

During the 18-month course, students will use a computer program centered on a fictional port city. "San Luis Rey" has a nuclear power plant and an international airport. Using the software, students will respond to everything from smallpox outbreaks to data-system attacks on the plant.

The majority of the work will be done through the Internet, although students will spend 12 weeks in residence. New students — as well as government and military officials at Monday's opening ceremony — acknowledged that a program that increases cooperation between military and civilian leaders breaks into a new, potentially sensitive area.

"It's a really dicey thing how you use" the military, said Robert Flowers, one of the students and an Utah public safety commissioner involved in planning security for last year's Winter Olympics.

Center officials expect to enroll as many as 60 military and civilian students by fall.