Beth Windisch

Specialties & Interests


public speaking



Chicago-based national security practitioner and security studies researcher Beth Windisch focuses on violence prevention through strengthening human networks. She studies the valuable connections that sustain civil society in times of crisis and helps foster those connections through analytical academic research along with focused, real-world application. With over fifteen years of experience, she’s working to increase the representation of diverse voices in national security decision-making. Bridging the gap between research and policy, she uses evidence to demonstrate how diversity and inclusivity foster a stronger, safer world for everyone.

Windisch currently serves as the Executive Officer for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in Region 5 (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH & WI). She began her career in Washington, D.C., where she spent years working on issues related to national security, before returning to the Midwest—the community she still considers home. With a passion for national security issues, Windisch was selected as an “Emerging Leader” by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and is National Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

Prior to joining CISA, Windisch was the Regional Prevention Coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, working with all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and community members to develop and sustain frameworks to stop violent extremism. She also served as the External Affairs Officer at Camp Atterbury, Indiana for Operation Allies Welcome, the effort to support and safely resettle vulnerable Afghans in the United States.

Previously, Windisch was a Senior Risk Analyst at the DHS Office of Inspector General, where she developed the framework for risk-based planning and was responsible for risk identification and assessment. She also was a Policy Advisor at the DHS Office of Health Affairs, leading efforts to foster cross-border and cross-jurisdictional cooperation to address public health threats and developing an awareness campaign to help first responders identify victims of human trafficking as part of DHS’s Blue Campaign. Additionally, Windisch served in the Office of Policy’s Private Sector Office, where she established department-wide policy creating the DHS Loaned Executive Program and supported the first Presidential transition at DHS.

Windisch’s commitment to community engagement extends to various teaching and mentorship roles. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for Sam Houston State University and is a frequent guest lecturer at graduate and undergraduate institutions. As a first-generation college graduate, Windisch learned through trial and error and uses her experience to help others navigating academia. Her approach to “hacking grad school” is designed to help new researchers and professionals in executive education programs with strategies for time management, research and writing, avoiding self-sabotage, and managing motivation. She also speaks about gender and national security, exploring how identity and power shape individual choices as well as collective institutions. Backing her belief that these institutions require a broader range of perspectives, she spends her spare time as a mentor with Girl Security, an organization that encourages girls to become actively engaged in national security.

Windisch earned Master of Arts degrees from both National Defense University and the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. She was a Boren Scholar at the American University in Cairo and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Indiana University (IUPUI).

chds Affiliation

  • Guest Speaker, Emergence Program, 2021
  • Guest Speaker, Master’s Program, 2020-2022
  • Master’s Program, 2020
  • Speaker, CHDS Alumni Hour, Preventing Targeted Extremist Violence- Identifying Behaviors and Providing Prevention Frameworks, 2021
  • Panelist, Innovation in Homeland Security Practice and Education, Homeland Defense & Security Education Summit, 2021
  • Editorial Review Board, Homeland Security Affairs Journal

“Beth has mastered the ability to seamlessly integrate intellectual substance, insight, humility, and humor—powerful tools needed to enable her message to resonate.”


Misogyny and Violent Extremism

McCain Institute, 20 August 2021

Multi-Generational Homeland Security

Life Cycle, Cohort, and Period Effects on Perceptions of Security, co-presented with Carolina Permuy, 2021

This article examines the intersection of grievances, identity threats, and gender-based violence in the radicalization and attacks of post-9/11 lone actor terrorists in the United States.This article examines the intersection of grievances, identity threats, and gender-based violence in the radicalization and attacks of post-9/11 lone actor terrorists in the United States.

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