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    Massachusetts National Guard, with Homeland Security Institute and Harvard Kennedy School, hosts annual General and Flag Officer Seminar

    Massachusetts National Guard, with Homeland Security Institute and Harvard Kennedy School, hosts annual General and Flag Officer Seminar

    Photo By Airman 1st Class Julia Ahaesy | General and Flag Officer Seminar (GFOS) participants pose for a group photo during the...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Julia Ahaesy 

    102nd Intelligence Wing   

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Massachusetts National Guard, in collaboration with the National Guard Bureau Homeland Security Institute (HSI), hosted the annual General and Flag Officer Seminar (GFOS), designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) program on Crisis Leadership, here, April 23-26, 2024.

    Strategic-level leaders across the nation’s 54 states and territories, Paraguay, Germany and Canada traveled to Harvard University to participate in a curriculum designed to prepare them for homeland security emergencies, from natural disasters to emergent infectious diseases to terrorism.

    HKS professors Dutch Leonard and Arnold Howitt walked participants through various case studies of major events in an open discussion, while senior leaders were invited to share their knowledge and lessons learned during first-hand crisis management experiences. The seminar fostered collaboration and networking, allowing participants the opportunity to strengthen relationships with senior-level personnel in key partner agencies, better preparing them for major disasters that require the National Guard to collaborate with civilian response and non-government organizations.

    Leonard and Howitt, co-authors of “Managing Crises: Responses to Large Scale Emergencies,” have studied crisis leadership for over a decade. They recognize the National Guard is frequently involved in multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency responses, therefore the program is designed to develop senior leaders’ understanding and national response skills for potential large-scale, unique emergencies.

    “I hope that participants gain insight into a number of issues that shape their participation in disaster response,” said Howitt. “A greater understanding of decision-making as individuals and in groups, effective collaboration methods across organizations and levels of government and relations between political leaders and operational commanders like themselves. Moreover, we trust that the contacts and networks that form among the participants will prove valuable touch points in the years to come.”

    To meet current situations, the team has shaped GFOS over the last several years to best respond to unforeseen crises. The most significant change made was the distinction between “routine” emergencies and “non-routine” emergencies, said Leonard.

    “Other programs that these participants might take, or have taken, would emphasize the important, but limited, form of preparation and response oriented toward routine emergencies,” said Leonard. “Active consideration of how novel circumstances are different – a main focus of this course – is largely absent from other emergency management curricula. We see this as a key value-add flowing from our program.”

    The seminar is specifically designed for General and Flag Officers and their civilian equivalent counterparts. Along with strategic-level leaders from the National Guard Bureau, HSI invites interagency personnel within the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Massachusetts National Guard’s State Partners in Paraguay and Kenya. Invitations are also extended to Germany, Canada, Israeli Defense Forces and Irish Defense Forces.

    “We encourage as many organizations to attend as we can all learn from complex multiagency emergencies to better understand key priorities and how to save lives at a moment's notice,” said 1st Lt. Roseli Rodriguez, HSI Operations Officer.



    Date Taken: 04.26.2024
    Date Posted: 05.02.2024 13:21
    Story ID: 470096

    Web Views: 94
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