On the Frontline of Homeland Security Planning

Security Studies

The new Director of Security Studies, Dr. Nadav Morag, has been at the center of homeland security planning in the U.S. and Israel.

Throughout his career, Dr. Nadav Morag has been heavily engaged in counterterrorism and homeland security policy in the United States and Israel.

During a campaign of suicide bombings that resulted in the worst period of terrorism in Israeli history, Dr. Morag was appointed as a Senior Director at Israel’s National Security Council, a body that provided policy recommendations to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on national and international security issues. Among other things, he was involved in developing counterterrorism strategies, a national security strategy for the Israeli National Police, a new military service model for Israel, and recommendations for developing bilateral relations with a number of countries.

In the United States, Dr. Morag has taught at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. CHDS effectively functions as the graduate education arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Students in this highly selective program are chosen from the pool of mid- to senior-career homeland security officials at the federal, state, and local government levels in disciplines such as law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, public health, critical infrastructure, transportation, and border security.

Dr. Morag recently was appointed as Chair of the Department of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). He hopes to expand the program, both in training practitioners who will serve in the field as well as scholars who will lead research on emerging issues. The Department currently offers a Master’s in Homeland Security, two certificate programs in Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection, and a new undergraduate minor in Homeland Security.

“I think this is a good program, and it touches on all the main sub-fields of homeland security,” said Dr. Morag. “We have really great faculty, with expertise in a range of areas, and this will give students a broad and diverse outlook on the Homeland Security enterprise. For students engaged in the undergraduate minor, this coursework will broaden their horizons beyond traditional criminal justice fields so that they have a better understanding of the role of law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies in the larger picture of cooperating with other non-CJ agencies, as well as the private sector, in coping with major challenges to the security and stability of the nation.”

Dr. Morag views Homeland Security as “anything that is designed to cope with large-scale disruptions that present challenges to the rule of law, the functioning of government, and the functioning of society and the economy.” Given that broad definition, it is not surprising that homeland security includes such diverse fields as counterterrorism; emergency management; disaster management; preparedness and resilience; critical infrastructure protection; border, maritime, and transportation security; public health, and many other fields. Homeland Security actors include public agencies (federal, state, local, and tribal) and private sector companies, particularly those operating critical infrastructures, and it also includes international actors.

Before joining SHSU, Dr. Morag served as Dean of the College of Security Studies at Colorado Tech, where he developed curriculum for the graduate and undergraduate programs in Homeland Security as well as a Doctorate of Management with a concentration in Homeland Security. He also has served as a consultant with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in trying to identify common behavioral characteristics of suicide bombers.
Dr. Morag is also the author of Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons, which provides insight into how a range of democratic countries deal with the challenges of Homeland Security.

Dr. Morag hopes to launch the first Ph.D. program in the nation in Homeland Security in the future, as well as to develop executive education degree and certificate programs in Homeland Security for energy and/or healthcare companies in the Houston region.

Based on his experience, Dr. Morag said government agencies are looking for practitioners who can think and communicate effectively. He would like to generate more scholarly studies among graduate students to enhance their research skills and to add to the body of knowledge in the young, but growing field.

“The vast majority of students want to pursue careers in the field, and we can prepare future practitioners for these jobs or enhance the skills of current practitioners, by making them better thinkers and communicators,” said Dr. Morag. “For those interested in academic careers and desiring to contribute to the growing body of literature in homeland security studies, we can facilitate their career objectives by offering them a thesis option in the Master’s program and, in the future, we hope to also provide qualified students with a way to continue their academic development in homeland security studies at Sam via a PhD program.”

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