Around this time last year, I started to think about how to tell the story of homeland security to the public: the progress we’ve made, the new homeland security enterprise we’ve built, the evolving threats that remain, and the way we’ll surmount these as a nation.
I thought a good way to tell this story would be through a dialogue with students, faculty, and academic community members at colleges and universities around the country.
Now, almost ten months since we started, this “Campus Series” of events has been a great opportunity to discuss some of the most important homeland security issues we face, and to spread the word about our shared responsibility for keeping our nation safe and secure.
As I have said at each stop, homeland security begins with hometown security, and there’s a role for all of us to play.
Beginning with the inaugural State of America’s Homeland Security address in January, I have spoken at eight different campuses. I have addressed counterterrorism, border security, and cyber security. I have spoken about the importance of science and technology to our future security. And I have discussed the important role the public, and the private sector, must play.
Last night I had the honor of speaking at the Terry Sanford Lecture at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. The lively discussion moderated by Duke professors David Shanzer and Noah Pickus covered each of these topics, and also gave me a chance to reiterate a theme running through all the Campus Series speeches: that the threats we face are not static.
They are evolving and changing, and we – as a Department and as a nation – must be evolving and changing even more quickly and thoughtfully.
A key part of our success will therefore be engaging and empowering a broader array of groups and individuals to play their role in the shared responsibility for our security. Likewise, we must also recruit the best and brightest to join DHS in fulfilling our critical security missions.
One of the best parts of this Campus Series has been meeting and interacting with students, young professionals, and up-and-coming leaders. They are our next generation of security experts and public servants. Their ideas and energy will be vital to addressing our biggest security challenges, and getting ahead of tomorrow’s threats.
For students, educators, and professionals in the homeland security field, I welcome you to read – and share – the full 2011 Campus Lecture Series, available on the DHS website.