On December 14th, the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security graduated its 41st and 42nd master’s degree class.
The titles of their theses, below, suggest the ideas explored by the graduates.
Most of the theses — adding to the storehouse of what we know, do not know, and might know about homeland security — will be available through the NPS Dudley Knox library in 4 to 6 weeks.
(If you know of any other recent master’s or doctoral theses related to homeland security policy and strategy, please let us know – – along with enough information to find the documents.)
• Analysis of Terrorist Funding and Strategic Capability.
• Assessing Fire Service Use of Automatic Aid as a Response Model.
• Aviation Security: Biometric Technology and Risk-based Security Aviation Passenger Screening.
• Border Law Enforcement – From a Dystopian Lens.
• Collaborative Radiological Response Planning.
• Combating Terrorism Within Local Policing Through Crime Reduction: Using Real Time Situational Awareness with a Distributed Common Operating Picture to Combat All Crime and Terrorism.
• Common Ground: Partnerships for Public Health and Medical System Resilience.
• Creating Defensible Cyberspace: The Value of Applying Place-Based Crime Prevention Strategy to Social Media.
• Domestic Intelligence: When Is It Acceptable?
• Enhancing Decision Making During Initial Operations at Surge Events.
• Enhancing Situational Awareness When Addressing Critical Incidents at Schools.
• Enhancing U.S. Coast Guard Field Intelligence Collection and Process Efforts with a Systems Thinking Leadership Strategy.
• How Do We Hedge the Homeland Security Risk? Let’s Talk Return on Investment.
• Improving TSA’s Public Image: Customer Focused Initiatives to Improve Public Trust and Confidence.
• Improvised Explosives and Related Chemical Precursors: Strategies to Identify the Threat and Protect Our First Responders.
• La Guerra: The Contest to Define Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations in the Homeland Security Problem Space.
• New Technologies and Emerging Threats: Personal Security Adjudicative Guidelines in the Age of Social Networking.
• Preparing Minority Populations for Emergencies: Connecting to Build a More Resilient Community.
• Purposefully Manufactured Vulnerabilities in U.S. Government Technology Microchips: Risks and Homeland Security Implications.
• Putting the Critical Back in Critical Infrastructure.
• Rethinking Disasters: Finding Efficiencies Through Collaboration.
• Revisiting the Swine Flu Affair: Recognizing a Non-linear Homeland Security Environment for Improved Decision Making.
• Southwest Hispanic Community – The Absence of Homeland Security Threats.
• Suicide Terrorism in America? The Complex Social Conditions of this Phenomenon and the Implications for Homeland Security.
• The Emerging Domestic Threat: What the Law Enforcement Community Must Know and Prepare for In Regard to the Sovereign Citizen Movement.
• The FBI Counter Terrorism Division Global Initiative: Enhancing the Legal Attaché Program.
• The Homeland Security Ecosystem: An Analysis of Hierarchical and Ecosystem Models and Their Influence on Decision Makers.
• The North American Proliferation of Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations: Homeland Security Implications of the Hybrid Threat.
• Voice of America 2.0: A Study of the Integrated Strategic Counterterrorism Communications Strategy and its Application to the United States Counterterrorism Strategic Plan.
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With these foundations in mind, I have started to organize in this Medium post some of the “that-is-an-excellent-thesis-question”-questions (☺) that I think would be fun; and interesting; and rewarding to try to answer.
Some of them came directly from a classroom discussion. Some others are the product of my own internal dialogue when reading new material. A few of them are incremental, they derive from some of my previous work. Some others are actually quite disruptive and surprising.
At this point, some of my favorite “thesis question” questions can be arranged in trends. These mega-trends mostly coincide with what I have always thought it is my research agenda. That said, some questions were completely independent from them and it has surprised me that I now have an emerging research interest I was not aware of.
Henrry Mintzberg is right, of course. Emergent strategies differ from stated strategies in important ways. In this case, these thesis questions that attract my attention map patterns of behavior in the absence of intention. Without me thinking about it, now I have developed new interests in fields I never thought I would care about. For example, the whole urban planning trend in the following list came to me as a research interest out of nowhere (I used to find it a very boring topic!). My level of attention to the“That is an excellent thesis topic question” meme is my way of identifying my emergent research strategy.
I have clustered some of the interesting thesis questions I would like to explore myself or with a student under some trend titles. I call them trends and not fields of study because many of them have only a loose formal relation with the other questions in the same trend, but I see personal cognitive correlation among them. I will also keep an area for outliers (no trend) to allow them to grow into a new trend… or die alone.☺
These ideas would still need a fair amount of refinement, but they all hold the potential of becoming “excellent-thesis-topic-questions” or, in my case, good papers, book chapters, blogs posts or any other publication.