Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Program Aims to Strengthen Homeland Security

May 3, 2012
By Army Lt. Col. James Sahady, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs

The National Guard Bureau Homeland Security Institute, in cooperation with Harvard Kennedy School, hosted the second annual General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar on the Kennedy School campus.

Fifty professionals from the rank of colonel to major general along with Department of Department civilians attended the course designed to provide a broad understanding of federal and state emergencies, crisis decision making and multi-agency collaboration. It also emphasized the critical role of the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard as the backbone of the nation’s leadership team providing the essential intermediate response to large, complex and multi-jurisdiction events.

“This seminar comes at a pivotal time for all of us. Secretary Panetta calls this a strategic turning point and Arnold Punaro calls it an inflection point. The president’s new strategic guidance informed us that the military is part of the defense of the homeland," said Gen. Craig McKinley, chief, National Guard Bureau and one of the event’s keynote speakers.

“The professors and guest lectures were world class, but the fellow students had a wealth of experience dealing with floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, the adjutant general, Vermont National Guard.

Brig. Gen. Julie Bentz, director of strategic capabilities policy, National Security Council said, “It has given me insight into the cognitive biases that I bring to policy development and has challenged me to maintain and enhance the decentralized options necessary during crisis."

Herman “Dutch” Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management, moderated a forum and offered the opening remarks at the concluding dinner banquet at the historic Harvard Loeb House.

“I commend General McKinley for having the vision to see that there was a program that could be used to develop the capabilities of the National Guard Bureau and affiliated agencies," said Leonard.

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from left to right: Prof. Herman “Dutch” Leonard, Harvard School of Business, retired Adm. Mary Landry, director of incident management and preparedness policy, U.S. Coast Guard, Gen. Craig McKinley, chief, National Guard Bureau and Brig. Gen. Julie Bentz, director of strategic capabilities policy, National Security Council

Panelists (From L to R): Prof. Herman “Dutch” Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management; retired Adm. Mary Landry, director of incident management and preparedness policy U.S. Coast Guard; Gen. Craig McKinley, chief, National Guard Bureau; and Brig. Gen. Julie Bentz, director of strategic capabilities policy, National Security Council.

Gen. Craig McKinley, chief, National Guard Bureau, answers a question as Brig. Gen. Julie Bentz, director of strategic capabilities policy, National Security Council, listens during a panel discussion.

Gen. Craig McKinley, chief, National Guard Bureau, answers a question as Brig. Gen. Julie Bentz, director of strategic capabilities policy, National Security Council listens during a panel discussion on the military’s role in disaster response.