By Kevin Gray
“IN HOMELAND-SECURITY situations, collaboration and trust must prevail over the skills of direction and control, whether the people involved are handling an emergency or providing training,” says Glen Woodbury ’85. “Who leads what depends greatly upon who has expertise and what needs to be done.”
Woodbury is director of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Established to provide advanced education in the nascent academic discipline of homeland security, the center is organized as a network of faculty, staff, subject-matter experts, and learning technologists — “a reflection of what works best in the homeland-security environment,” he says.
Woodbury’s experience as a leader in emergency situations and one of the first recipients of the CHDS master’s degree in homeland defense and security combined to make him the perfect choice for director. He was a member of ROTC at Lafayette, where some of the fundamentals that have informed his approach over the years were cultivated. “Lafayette taught me the value of personal relationships, small organizational leadership, and how friendships really can be for life,” he says. He served as a communications officer in the U.S. Army through 1992, then managed Washington State’s Emergency Operations Center. “We were the place 911 centers called when they had emergencies beyond their resources,” he says. He became director of Washington’s Emergency Management Division in 1998, directing the state’s response to several emergencies, disasters, and heightened security-threat levels, including a major firestorm, annual floods, the World Trade Organization riots in 1999, Y2K, and the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.
Then 9/11 happened, which changed not only the world but also the field of emergency and national security management. In 2002-03 he served as president of the National Emergency Management Association. He enrolled in the master’s program at CHDS in 2003. “The program required in-residence attendance for two weeks each quarter, and the rest was completed through the web,” he says. “This was important because the students the program targeted were mid-level to senior-level government officials in public safety, military, and counter-terrorism fields. They couldn’t take several months off work to study the discipline they were living every day.”
When Woodbury graduated in 2004, he became a faculty member and associate director of CHDS and, in 2007, the center’s director and a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Quadrennial Review Advisory Council. He is responsible for center operations, political interface, and outreach to partners in the homeland-security community. “The center was not only responsible for initiating the first accredited master’s degree in the field and executive education courses, it was chartered to be the laboratory and catalyst for the growth of homeland-security education across the country,” he says. “Everything has been designed to be accessed easily and used by any college, university, or government agency that desires to enhance or create its own programs.”
The school’s main audience is police officers, firefighters, FBI agents, senior government officials, military personnel, and others who need access to the new academic discipline. “These men and women are so dedicated to the communities and nation they serve that they are willing to take a rigorous academic journey without slowing down in their daily dedication to the rest of us,” Woodbury says. One graduate, a police officer from New Jersey, who lost his best friend during the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, said he promised himself that he would dedicate the rest of his career to showing that his friend’s death was not in vain. “He has applied the lessons, education, skills, and philosophies that he learned in the master’s program to the profession he loves, in memory of his friend.”