Alan D. Cohn is Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Planning, Analysis & Risk in the DHS Office of Policy. Cohn leads a diverse, multi-disciplinary team formed when the functions of the former Office of Risk Management and Analysis were integrated into DHS Policy’s Office of Strategic Plans. Cohn is responsible for work including strategy development, assessment, and evaluation, strategic environment assessment, risk modeling, assessment, and analysis, capability and vulnerability assessment, and economic and statistical analysis. Cohn also plays a key role in ensuring both substantive and structural linkage between strategy and the Department’s programming, budgeting, and major acquisition oversight processes.
As head of the Department’s strategic planning office, Cohn led the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), a year-long strategic review of homeland security involving over 500 subject matter experts that resulted in the QHSR Report (2010) and the FY2012-2016 DHS Strategic Plan. Cohn has also managed strategic assessments in areas such as aviation and surface transportation security, nuclear smuggling, counternarcotics, domain awareness, global supply chain security, cyber security, and emergency preparedness and response. Cohn represents DHS on National Security Staff interagency policy committees and on major strategy reviews such as the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Goldwater-Nichols 4, and the Project on National Security Reform.
Cohn has been a member of the career Senior Executive Service since 2007. Cohn previously served as Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response Policy in the DHS Office of Policy Development from 2006-2008, and was awarded the Secretary’s Silver Medal, the Department’s second-highest award, in 2007.
Cohn is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches classes on domestic preparedness law and national security crisis law. He authored a legal casebook, Domestic Preparedness: Law, Policy, and National Security (Carolina Academic Press 2012), and is a regular speaker and panelist.
Prior to joining DHS, Cohn was an associate and counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C. from 2000-2006, and an associate at Littler Mendelson, P.C. from 1997-1999. Cohn was an emergency medical technician in New York City and Colorado from 1990-1994, a FEMA Disaster Assistance Employee from 1995-2006, and a Planning Officer on the Fairfax County Urban Search & Rescue Task Force from 1998-2006. He responded to the 2005 hurricane season, the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Cohn holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.