Public Private Partnerships In The Security Industry And Security Management

By Daniel Sommer

The War on Terror for the United States began after a sequence of attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. These terrorist attacks left the most powerful nation in the world on its heels and reeling from the audacity of al-Qaida to launch a terrorist attack inside our borders. Subsequently, these asymmetric events have redefined how we as a nation must revisit security strategies to secure our homeland.

Security industry and security management officials alike have banded together with the government to develop and implement effective strategic security solutions. For example, homeland security professionals around the country after 9/11 began to form partnerships with the private sector to close knowledge gaps. Academia stepped in and developed advanced homeland security courses for private and public first-line supervisors and homeland security seniors. From offering a security industry degree or security management degree to public safety or first responder degrees, colleges and universities created momentum for the post-9/11 era of public-private partnerships in the security arena.

Historically, the United States has depended on its geographic location as a natural defense against foreign intruders, and ?we were able to treat national security as essentially an out-of-body experience. When confronted by threats, we dealt with them on the turf of our allies or our adversaries. Aside from the occasional disaster and heinous crime, civilian life at home has been virtually terror-free.’


Security Management Degree Program: Cost vs. Strategic Value Today’s security professional needs to understand that the complex threat environment is now focused in local communities and not on some obscure battlefield in a faraway country. The professional knowledge and skill-level required to devise and execute strategic security plans at this level, to direct operational response plans expediently, are offered within many security management degree programs. The combination of specialized knowledge and real-world experience is a critical litmus test of faculty at institutions that claim to offer top dollar security industry degree programs. Students need to be sure that they are going to walk away from any education in security with the strategic skills in management and communication they need to become top-level policy and decision makers.

Strategic Security: A Fine Balance of Risk and Opportunity As internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Schneier has properly observed, ‘Security is all about trade-offs, but when the stakes are considered infinitely high, the whole equation gets thrown out of kilter.’ These ‘trade-offs’ have received serious criticisms, thus, placing the government and its various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in a challenging position of protecting almost 300 million people against future terrorist attacks while simultaneously striving to protect and maintain their constitutional rights. This fine balance of risk and opportunity is present in the mind of every homeland security manager and even those in the private sector security industry.

Even the most advanced security industry degree and security management degree programs face extreme difficulty to provide curricula necessary to enrich and empower current and future security professionals with the knowledge and skills to make appropriate decisions under intense pressure where hundreds or thousands of lives are potentially at stake.

Conclusion There are many similarities between federal, state, and local security management degree programs and private sector security industry degree programs. While there are several courses of action available to prevent and counter future terrorist attacks, both types of programs place a premium on understanding the strategic nature of the terrorist threat to the homeland. Furthermore, the education of antiterrorism measures to the general public also will help in heightening daily situational awareness and provide a much needed perspective on the very real daily threat that will continue to combine the need for security with maintaining the constitutional freedoms inherent to our democratic nation.

About the Author: Dan Sommer works for Henley-Putnam University, a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. For more info on Henley-Putnam University,

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