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It/s what you know. (Professional Development).

Security education initiatives, both degree programs and certifications, offer many options to security managers seeking to advance both financially and professionally.

Knowledge is power. Earnings power, that is. It has always been so, but in the Information Age, business professionals need more than ever to be well educated and well credentialed to be successful.

Consider, for example, that security executives responding to the 2002 ASIS International Employment Survey conducted by Westat Research of Rockville, Maryland, earned on average 26 percent more if they held a four-year degree. Those with a master's degree or higher earned another 15 percent more than their counterparts with a bachelor's degree. And those respondents with a CPP designation reported salaries ranging from 11 percent to 30 percent higher than those with no certification, depending on the type of organization.

Research also shows that security managers are taking on broader functions that reflect the increased role of security in today's unsettled world. Specifically, risk assessment, physical security, employee protection, and business continuity top the list of security policies and operations that have been strengthened or pushed to the forefront since 9-11, said respondents to the recent ASIS International member survey.

When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raised the terrorist threat level to Orange recently, "my life got turned upside down," says Mark Lex, CPP, global security director at a Fortune 100 company and chairman of the ASIS International Council on Business Practices. He was asked to immediately pull together a comprehensive business continuity and emergency response plan for the organization. "This was originally one of my 'stretch' goals to be started by the end of the year," he says. "That was accelerated to a completed project by the end of April."

Fortunately, security professionals can turn to any number of resources to ease their climb up the learning curve. A host of organizations stand ready to assist the security community as it embraces the demands of a post-9-11 world, providing a broad range of academic degrees and certifications.

But not every offering is of equal value. In some cases, it's buyer beware as groups with no long-term interest or stake in the security profession jump into the education and training arena.

"There's a lot of junk out there," says Kurt Arneson, physical security specialist, U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Arneson recently evaluated training programs for his employer. Many, he found, offered information that can be relevant today, he says, "but they will be gone tomorrow."

Courses. The increased demand for quality security education since 9-11 has altered course content and spawned many new degree programs. Kevin Peterson, CPP, president, Innovative Protection Solutions, studied the effects of homeland security on security education on behalf of the ASIS Council on Academic Programs at Colleges and Universities. In preliminary findings, Peterson notes that a trend in course content that began before 9-11 has intensified.

"Academic programs in security and management, particularly business management, and security and technology, mainly information assurance, are blending," he says. This trend is especially pronounced at the graduate level but occurs at many institutions around the country at various academic levels. (Peterson will present his final report in a session at the ASIS International 49th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in September in New Orleans.)

Carl T. Richards, Ph.D., director, Webster University, Washington, D.C., acknowledges that course content has changed but feels the impetus has been the instructors, "What has not changed is the course descriptions," he says, which is difficult to do at the university level. Rather, individual instructors, most of whom are industry professionals, have "made adjustments based on their experiences."

Degree programs are proliferating as well (for a geographical list of universities offering degrees and classes in the security discipline, log on to Johns Hopkins University is introducing an undergraduate concentration in security management, for example, as part of its bachelor of science in business and management degree program. Georgetown University is offering a Master of Arts in Security Studies through its Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. The University of Houston intends to offer a Master of Science in Security Management, and Drexel University, in conjunction with area community colleges, will offer degrees in emergency management and planning.

The University of Denver's University College is designing a security concentration in its Master of Professional Studies degree program as well as graduate- and undergraduate-level certificate programs in homeland security. Courses offered will include managing violence, conflict management systems, crisis public relations, risk assessment and management, and information systems security.

Enrollment in academic security programs is also on the rise, says Robert McCrie, Ph.D., CPP, professor of security management, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. While enrollment at the college was at 10,000 before 9-11, we are at 12,500 now," he says. Internships in security management through the college are also at an all-time high. "Those going into security see a correlation between the private sector and serving the country as a whole," says McCrie. "They see private security as a part of homeland security."

Curriculum. Traditionally, security courses have been folded into criminal justice programs. An example is The George Washington University (GWU), which offers a security management concentration in its Master of Forensic Sciences degree program. Course content in that program was redesigned significantly after 9-11, says professor and program director Eva Vincze, Ph.D., at the request of the local community. The emphasis is now on "integration and communication between corporations and government services," she says, with a focus on emergency preparedness, disaster planning, crisis management, and crisis prevention.

Many strong advocates, however, believe that security management courses should not be a subset of criminal justice, or "CJ with a twist," says David H. Gilmore, CPP, president of Colonial Safeguards, Inc., and chairman of the ASIS Academic Programs Council. In his view, today's security professionals require an entirely different set of skills and knowledge to work in the business world.

Dean Hunter, deputy director for the Washington, D.C., office of the Federal Protective Service, now within the Department of Homeland Security, saw a shift in his agency from a law enforcement focus to a security focus as an intern in the early 1990s. He pursued Webster University's Master's in Security Management degree and graduated just after the Oklahoma City bombing occurred.

"That event caused a drastic change in FPS," he said, as more funds, more personnel, and more emphasis on security were brought into the agency. Because of his education, Hunter was well positioned to take advantage of the career changing opportunities.

The push for this new educational paradigm has increased since 9-11, but the move toward this objective has been underway for decades. An early landmark of progress was in 1972 when the ASIS Foundation produced guidelines to give curriculum guidance to colleges and universities interested in pursuing degree programs in security that were outside of the criminal justice umbrella.

These concepts were refined further when ASIS assisted Webster University in replacing its administration of justice master's degree program with one in security management, eventually called "Business and Organizational Security Management." Although a major step in higher security education, the program's advocates, including Richards, recognized that much more work needed to be done if security was to gain academic stature.

In response, ASIS sponsored its first Academic Practitioners Symposium at Webster University in St. Louis. Security academicians and practitioners were invited to engage in discussions with a two-fold purpose: develop a course to introduce business students to the subject of security and provide a forum for academicians and security practitioners to meet, share ideas, and discuss potential improvements in security education.

Subsequent symposia have been held at the University of Nevada at Reno, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Maryland. The focus of each has been tangible outcomes: an instructor course outline, a student text, and a comprehensive bibliography.

A major undertaking identified i8 core elements of security, which range from physical security to risk management to loss prevention to security architecture and engineering. These core elements lead to curriculum models at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Both models provide the course title, a catalog description, the course objectives, and the course rationale.

While the models do not include course syllabi or teaching points, they do "provide the best judgment of assembled academicians and practitioners regarding security education for the 21st century," says Gilmore. While chairing the 2002 symposium at the University of Cincinnati, Gilmore noted that progress has been made, but "we do not have a consensus in the security education field as to what graduates ought to know."

So what is the practical role of security education? "I wanted to get more well-rounded information on the security field," says Lisa Gearhart, contractor specialist security officer/facility security officer for Lockheed Martin Technical Operations. A recent graduate from the Webster University Master's in Security Management program, Gearhart also knew she needed an advanced degree to stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs. Her degree helped her to obtain a new job with her current employer, one that is more technical than her previous responsibilities. "Without the degree, I would have needed more experience," she comments.

"I wanted more than just experience; I had a lot of experience," says Arneson, who also holds a master degree in security management from Webster. The course content underscored the "building blocks of security," and Arneson was able to move to a better position as a direct result of his studies.

Positions. In an effort to further clarify the core competencies expected of security graduates, a subset of ASIS Academic Practitioner Symposium attendees, led by Richards, prepared a Security Education and Career Study to examine the criteria used by employers filling various security positions, particularly security management positions.

An eight-question survey form developed by the committee was sent by e-mail, fax, and regular mail to 1,397 randomly selected small to medium-size education, healthcare, retail, and transportation firms as well as 500 of the Fortune 1000 companies. Preliminary findings based on a small number of respondents show that experience is the key element in filling general security positions. For management positions, however, security education is more important. Further study is needed to see whether these early findings hold true, says Richards. The objective will be to clarify the role of education in providing the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform today's security tasks.

Requirements in the chief security officer (CSO) position description conceptualized jointly by ASIS and Boyden Global Executive Search give another look at the experience and education expected for senior security positions. Key responsibilities include strategy development; information gathering and risk assessment; company preparedness; incident prevention; securing people, core business, information, and reputation; incident response, management, and recovery; and investor relations, public affairs, and government relations coordination.

Ideally, the position description notes, candidates for CSO positions will have an advanced degree in law, business, economics, or political science. "The CSO needs to be more strategic than tactical," says Lance Wright, principal, Boyden Global Executive Search. "The position requires a high degree of emotional intelligence and the ability to calmly facilitate resolution of crisis situations."

Fine-tuning this position description and its strategic focus is one of the initiatives being undertaken by the ASIS Guidelines Commission. According to Chad Callaghan, CPP, vice president of loss prevention services at Marriott International and co-chair of the commission, the intent is to underscore the security focus of the position since, as originally written, it overly emphasizes information systems. The educational components of the job "need to be ongoing," says Callaghan, "with a combination of security education, business acumen, and certification."

Any guideline that ASIS releases "goes through a review process that starts with the councils," says commission member Michael Crane, CPP, senior vice president and general counsel, IPC International Corporation. The CSO job description is now under review by the ASIS Business Practices Council. A draft job description will eventually be released by the Guidelines Commission for general comment.

Another firm looking into the CSO job description is the Risk Analysis Group, which provides security training and certification programs for Fortune 2000 companies. From an education perspective, the company advocates a business or law degree to augment the largely law enforcement experience that security executives bring to their positions.

David Leighton, president and founder of the Risk Analysis Group, also believes that a CSO should not come from the IT function. "A CSO needs training in making good business decisions, in dealing with political issues, and in facilitating communication among groups," he says. The person for the job is frequently a current employee who has a CPP or other certification. However, "boardroom training is a must," says Leighton, if the CSO is to become a "big asset."

Certification. No matter what academic credentials a security director brings to his or her position, the need for ongoing education is undisputed among academics, researchers, and students alike. Dean Hunter of FPS encourages his 300-person staff to pursue advanced degrees and has backed this stance with a robust education and training budget. "I would not be such a strong advocate if I had not seen firsthand what it did for me," Hunter comments.

Pursuing further advanced degrees and certifications is a goal of most of the students contacted for this article, many of whom held bachelor degrees in such diverse subjects as geology and music. I don't think you ever stop being a student," says Patti Grimes, counterintelligence and technical security analyst for the National Infrastructure Protection Center, now a part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Ph.D. programs in security are rare, but academic and professional certifications are more prevalent and more attainable, particularly using online options. For example, Webster graduate Rick Gordon, senior program security manager for the director of requirements, Air Combat Command, United States Air Force, recently completed a project to "push security education out to the war fighters" electronically via an intranet.

The American Military University (AMU) has partnered with ASIS to deliver a plethora of online degree programs. A part of the American Public University System, AMU offers certificates and degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels focusing on such topics as homeland security, intelligence, information technology, and counterterrorism. An online version of the Webster master's degree is also under development.

Nearly 10,000 individuals have received the CPP certification since its inception in 1977. Candidates qualify through a combination of experience and intensive testing on such topics as the legal aspects of security, personnel security, and the protection of sensitive information.

New professional certifications have also been developed, some centered around a homeland security theme, such as the one offered by the American College of Forensic Examiners, and others focusing on specific technical subjects, such as the Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) and Physical Security Professional (PSP) certifications offered by ASIS International. Testing for the new ASIS programs begins in July 2003.

Certifications are "an objective way to recognize demonstrated expertise," says Geoffrey Craighead, CPP, vice president, high-rise services, Pinkerton, Inc., and president of the ASIS Professional Certification Board. They provide a benchmark for prospective employers and a tool for measuring a person's professional competence. Craig-head acknowledges that "there's a trust factor" among those with the credentials that transcends pure reputation. "You know that person is a reliable source, he says, because of the accomplishment.

Success in the security profession often means something didn't happen rather than something tangible did occur. But the value of a security education is something that can be measured in dollars as well as in professional acumen, say both those who deliver and receive the end products.

What's it worth to you?


Colleges and universities are contributing to the larger security community through research largely focused on issues relevant to the newly formed U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For example, twelve Virginia universities have helped to found the Virginia Institute for Defense and Homeland Security. Based at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Virginia, the institute will develop research, education, and technology programs at member institutions and companies. Research will emphasize telecommunications, biodefense, sensor systems, and risk management.

A partnership between Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Haven will focus on national security studies and homeland security. Programs will include a graduate certificate with a non-IT concentration and will be offered in California and Connecticut.

The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, California, is developing a homeland security initiative with a dual purpose: to respond to the secretary of defense's designation of homeland security as a top DoD priority, and to leverage unique NPS capabilities to accomplish specialized homeland security graduate education and research. The program offers seminars and a master's degree with a certificate option for the civilian and military employees responsible for homeland defense.

The NPS also funds research. In FY 2002, $400,000 was awarded to six projects, including studies of an infrared face recognition system, the vulnerability of wireless networks, and intelligent software decoys.

The Ohio State University (OSU) established its Program for International and Homeland Security in April 2002. Envisioned as a center for researching, studying, and developing "practical, affordable solutions to problems affecting [U.S.] national security," the program fosters interdisciplinary research and study within the university. DSU is the second largest university in the United States to have all its disciplines in one location, and 21 "focus groups" have been formed around such subjects as agriterrorism, business and economic issues, medical care delivery, and border security.

The objective is to "get out of the ivory tower and focus on results and technological developments," says Todd Stewart, Ph.D., the program's director.

He envisions master's degree projects in which students would take on a real world security problem faced by an agency, come up with a solution, and sell it to the agency. The research, then, would be "focused toward solutions," he says, "not just satisfying intellectual curiosity."

A recent initiative supported by the OSU program is the National Academic Consortium for Homeland Security (, set up to become an online national database of relevant educational programs, "from community college training for first responders to degree programs at major universities," says Stewart.

The impetus for many of the newly focused research efforts is the large pool of funds that is likely to become available from the Department of Homeland Security. "There is lots of enterprise in the state of Ohio," adds Stewart, and his program is also working with the state on homeland security initiatives.

Mary Alice Davidson is director of communications for ASIS International.

@ To discuss security education with some of those interviewed for this article, log onto, go to "Forums," and click on "academic programs." And for more in-depth information on education and certification programs, go to
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Title Annotation:security management courses
Author:Davidson, Mary Alice
Publication:Security Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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