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Security Education In The 21 St Century: The Role Of Engineering

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary and Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1259.1 - 12.1259.8



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Paper Authors

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Bradley Rogers Arizona State University

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Dale Palmgren Arizona State University

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Dennis Giever Indiana University of Pennsylvania

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Mary Lynn Garcia Sandia National Laboratories

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Security Education in the 21st Century: The Role of Engineering Introduction

Higher education bears the primary responsibility for the development of the nation’s human resources in all fields, and security is no exception. However, the development of educational programs in the security field is complicated by the fact that the practice of security does not fit into the traditional classification of a profession. A typical high-level security team consists of a wide range of individual specialists, including scientists and engineers, applied social scientists, and those educated in the liberal arts. At the same time, effective solutions to security problems require that the varied specialists comprising the security team communicate effectively and strive toward a common goal. For example, an intelligence specialist with a background in languages and cultures needs to understand the type of specific threat information needed by an engineer that is designing a system to protect an embassy. Consequently, coupled with a need for discipline specific knowledge, there is a need for all members of the security team to have broad exposure to other disciplines and ways of approaching problems so that the security team can more effectively work together toward a common goal.

In the aftermath of September 11 2001, reducing the considerable vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks faced by open and democratic societies has become a priority throughout the world. In the United States this has led to a major reorganization of the federal government, the financing of two wars, and major paradigm shifts throughout the criminal justice, intelligence, diplomatic, military and educational infrastructures of the nation1. These changes were undertaken with the specific goal of focusing the nation’s resources on security, which is defined in this context as the protection of assets from malevolent human attacks. Resources that can be focused on security include hardware and technology, but, most importantly, they include the nation’s human resources. Higher education contributes to the nation’s security, both through focused research projects that develop hardware and technology and through the development of educational programs to produce a generation of leaders that can develop, articulate and implement solutions to increasingly complex security problems. The availability of funding has led to an extensive development of research capabilities within universities over the last five years. However, the development of rigorous academic curricula and standards in the security field has lagged behind.

Since September 2001, more than 100 academic institutions in the United States have developed curricula dedicated to the education of security professionals2. The development of rigorous educational programs in the field of security is made more difficult by the lack of an accepted body of knowledge in the field, and the proliferation of programs offering courses, certificates and degrees in “security” or “homeland security” with no vetting process to determine the quality or legitimacy of the conferred credentials. Furthermore, in practice the security profession includes specialists from a variety of almost autonomous backgrounds that often work in isolation. The result is that the degree programs listed in [2] tend to focus on particular aspects of security, the majority being non-technical in nature, and with resemblance between the curricula coincidental.2,3 The most effective programs will be those that embrace the interdisciplinary nature of the field and educate professionals in the fundamental broad methodologies of security, and yet support all the specializations of individual members of the security team, including those that have less mathematical maturity than scientists and engineers.

Rogers, B., & Palmgren, D., & Giever, D., & Garcia, M. L. (2007, June), Security Education In The 21 St Century: The Role Of Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1939

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