Cathy Lanier had to think like a terrorist and come up with a way to kill a few thousand people at a picnic. It’s all part of a master’s degree program that the Washington, D.C. police commander of special operations is taking in the fast-growing field of homeland security education, the Washington Post reports. Schools across the nation are revamping curricula and research as they try to keep pace with the changes brought on by the 2001 terrorist attacks and take advantage of a large pool of homeland security money. At hundreds of schools, Sept. 11 is influencing how topics are taught, from medicine to firefighting to politics to computer networking.
The changes are driven by policy, interest from students and faculty, demands from employers, a sense of mission — and money. The federal government has pumped cash into this new fight, spending more than $12 billion for homeland security research and development over the past four budget years. “Homeland security is probably going to be the government’s biggest employer in the next decade,” said Steven R. David, who directs the homeland security certificate program at Johns Hopkins University. “It’s growing by leaps and bounds,” said Stanley Supinski, chairman of the Homeland Security/Defense Education Consortium, which was established by two military commands in the Department of Defense, two universities in Colorado and the Naval Postgraduate School.