Paradigms for Cybersecurity Education in a Homeland Security Program


Cybersecurity threats to the nation are growing in intensity, frequency, and severity and are a very real threat to the security of the country. Academia has responded to a wide variety of homeland security (HS) threats to the nation by creating formal curricula in the field, although these programs almost exclusively focus on physical threats (e.g., terrorist attacks, and natural and man-made disasters), law and policy and transportation . Although cybersecurity programs are commonly available in U.S. colleges and universities, they are invariably offered as a technical course of study nested within engineering (or other STEM) programs. We observe that technical and calculus-based courses might not be well suited to HS students and do not necessarily meet a broad suite of professional needs in this discipline. As a result, cybersecurity principles, and strategies tend to be under-represented in the typical HS program. This paper proposes paradigms that could be included in a cybersecurity curriculum that are consistent with the broad array of outcomes now evident in many HS degree programs.

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Gary C. Kessler

Gary C. Kessler is an Associate Professor of Homeland Security at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, specializing in cybersecurity. He also does consulting related to information security and digital forensics, is a member of the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and is an adjunct faculty member at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. From 2011–2012, Gary was the Program Director of the M.S. in Information Assurance program at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont; from 2000–2010, he was an Associate Professor at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, where he designed and directed undergraduate and graduate programs related to information security and digital forensics, and led the effort in Champlain’s designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE). Gary is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Computer Examiner (CCE), and on the board of directors of the Consortium of Digital Forensic Specialists (CDFS). He holds a B.A. in Mathematics, an M.S. in Computer Science, and a Ph.D. in Computing Technology in Education. Gary is the coauthor of two professional texts and over 70 articles and papers, a frequent speaker at industry events, and immediate past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law. Gary can be contacted at

James Ramsay

James Ramsay is Program Coordinator and Professor of Homeland Security at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, the program that he started in 2006 and where he teaches environmental security, emergency management, exercise design and evaluation, strategic planning and decision making, and terrorism origins and ideologies. Jim has almost 20 years experience in public health education, emergency management, and occupational safety and environmental health, and was recently appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors to the Director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in the CDC. He also serves on the Board of Directors for ABET, Inc. In addition, Jim serves on the Education Standards Committees for both the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), where he also chairs the committee; has also been a frequent scientific reviewer for the National Occupational Research Agenda; and currently serves as reviewer for the Homeland Security Affairs Journal, the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Journal of Homeland Security Education. He has served as a subject matter expert and consultant on a wide range of emergency management planning and evaluation issues as well as occupational safety and health challenges for many organizations. He is the co-editor of Introduction to Homeland Security (2012) and Homeland Security Case Studies (2013), and is currently co-editing Fundamentals of Environmental Security (expected 2014).

Suggested Citation

Kessler, G. C. & Ramsay, J. (2013). Paradigms for cybersecurity education in a homeland security program. Journal of Homeland Security Education, 2, 35-44.