WASHINGTON – The Chairman and Ranking Members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) today introduced a bill that would create a National Homeland Security Academy. The National Homeland Security Academy Act of 2005 aims make sure homeland security professionals are given the full range of skills necessary to make this country safe.
“It is important that we provide the professionals who serve at the Department of Homeland Security with the resources and education they need to help the Department of Homeland Security fulfill its critical mission–to help keep our nation as safe as possible. Our legislation will create the National Homeland Security Academy to help train homeland security professionals at all levels of governments and to provide them with tools they can use to enhance their effectiveness in their positions.” “It was clear to me as I was working to create a Department of Homeland Security that we would need to find a way to make sure Department professionals, as well as the state and local officials with whom they work, understand the full scope and range of responsibilities entrusted to the Department – not just the details of their own particular jobs,” Lieberman said. “This academy would accomplish that. It would cultivate leaders, teach the full range of skills necessary for robust homeland security, and provide cross-disciplinary and joint education and training to government officials at the federal, state and local levels so that they can develop the bonds and relationships that will make their work more efficient and effective.” The Senators’ vision of the academy is modeled after War College created by the Department of Defense, which provides its leaders with a deep and thorough understanding of military and defense matters. The National Homeland Security Academy would ensure that new and mid-level executive employees at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)- as well as other federal, state, and local leaders with homeland security responsibilities – have a thorough understanding of the strategic missions of the Department of Homeland Security, as well access to hands-on training exercises, and real-time simulation. The centerpiece of the Academy would be the National Homeland Security Education and Strategy Center, where federal homeland security officials would receive initial and continuing homeland security education. The Academy would also incorporate the Center for Homeland Defense and Security run by the Naval Postgraduate School at the direction of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. In addition, the bill establishes a National Homeland Security Education Network, comprised of the academies and training centers within the jurisdiction of DHS – like the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – as well as a communications network capable of providing distance learning opportunities. The bill also creates a new State and Local Education and Training Coordinator within the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness to help DHS make better use of state and local education and training programs.