Students and staff from the 2014 Perspectives on Homeland Security and Defense Course (PHSD) traveled to US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) Headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO, for the second half of the residence phase on Sunday, September 21.
The first week in Washington, DC, included a theoretical examination of many of the facets of homeland security: terrorism, transnational criminal organizations, border and port security, critical infrastructure protection, continuity of operations, cyber security, natural disaster preparedness, and states of emergency.
In contrast, the second week examines how USNORTHCOM manages homeland defense, its primary mission. Its 1,200–person staff includes representatives from all branches of the US military as well as interagency partners and partner nation liaison officers. An oft-repeated theme of PHSD is the importance of international partnerships in homeland security. For example, the Deputy Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (USNORTHCOM’s partner institution) is a Royal Canadian Air Force officer, and defense leaders from throughout North America (United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas) work cooperatively in many capacities for the shared security of the region.
In addition to the coursework at NORTHCOM, the remainder of the second week of the PHSD is devoted to cumulative group practical exercises. The course concludes with a graduation ceremony at USNORTHCOM headquarters on Friday, September 26.