Homeland Security Defense Coalition


"Coursework that is fresh and real-world"



Homeland Security Defense Coalition

By: Stephenie Slahor


The Homeland Security Defense Coalition (HSDC) through coursework in counter-terrorism is offering a new slant on homeland security education. The HSDC began in October 2001, just after 9/11. 

Professional development and continuing education courses are offered to help law enforcement, emergency management, and public safety personnel learn the practices applicable in the core areas of Computer Terrorism, Domestic Terrorism, Infrastructure Protection, Intelligence Studies, Medical (aspects), Operational Risk Management, and Violence Prevention. 

HSDC stresses that its courses are not watered down or revamped versions of criminal justice courses. Rather, they are specifically designed for homeland security and counter-terrorism, and the emphasis is on current problems and solutions.

The Computer Terrorism and Security section includes the courses “Terror on the Internet,” and “Internet Security: Hacking, Counter-hacking, and Society.” The Domestic Terrorism section has courses that include history, sources and vulnerabilities related to domestic terrorism. The school’s Homegrown Violent Extremists course studies the motivations, categorization and activities of domestic terrorists. 

The Infrastructure Protection program offers a course in which students learn risk, vulnerability, threat, and risk assessment methodologies related to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan partnership model, resource sectors, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives hazards and threats. 

The course focuses on physical, rather than cyber, threats to landmarks, manufacturing, power plants, food and agriculture, transportation networks and hubs, government facilities, commercial locations, and other physical campuses and facilities.

Intelligence Studies introduce concepts in information gathering and use of intelligence to avert risk. The Medical section teaches integrated medical management of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear casualties. The course develops skills in a working knowledge of the devices causing such effects, and the injuries and illnesses resulting. 

The course also covers best practices to manage the medical conditions appropriately.

Operational Risk Management includes both an introductory and an advanced course in principles and practices. Instruction is online and self-paced, requiring eight hours of study for the introductory course, and 16 hours of study for the advanced course. Work includes reading, discussions, exercises and practical applications.

A variety of courses in Terrorism are offered by HSDC including an introductory course about terrorism; suicide terrorism; counter-terrorism for first responders; and the future of terrorism (projected and anticipated future causes, where terrorism may originate in the near future, funding of counter-terrorism efforts, risk and threat assessment, and political implications).

Also included is a course that explores types and levels of threats, management of methods for counter-terrorism, psychological operations, risk and threat assessment, and reaction methodologies. The current coursework in Violence Prevention is a workplace violence course in the nature of such violence, strategies for thwarting it, and awareness of potential threats.

In addition to these core areas, HSDC also offers coursework in the psychology of terrorism, public utility security against terrorism, border security, monitoring of terrorist computer activity, surveillance, maritime security, rail transit security, school violence, and houses of worship violence.

Courses are, at present, offered only on a contractual basis with a public-service governmental agency or a commercial enterprise, but HSDC plans to offer programs both online and at multiple campuses in the U.S. and elsewhere that are being built or planned. 

Both non-credit and credit certificate and diploma programs are, or will be, included as educational regulatory compliance is met at each of the campus locations. 

Future plans call for offering graduate-level degree programs. HSDC places its emphasis on coursework specific to homeland security, counter-terrorism, modern public safety, and disaster management. The courses are taught by practitioners in homeland security, or those who are recently retired from such work. HSDC feels that keeps the coursework fresh and “real world.”

For further information on enrollment, or hosting a seminar or course, go to their website. The website also lists professional development and continuing education public safety programs that will be open for enrollment. 


Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at



Published in Law and Order, Nov 2013

Rating : 9.5



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