Special Report: Key Issues from the UAPI Continental Security Conference
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The University and Agency Partnership Initiative (UAPI) of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security conducted its first ever Continental Security Conference (CSC) on December 7/8, 2010 in Colorado Springs. The event brought together participants from Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and focused on common security issues of interest to all three nations with an emphasis on academic perspectives and contributions. This report provides background, a summary of the proceedings, and proposes a way ahead for this initiative. The genesis of the conference stems from the expansion of the UAPI into the international arena. In late 2009, the UAPI reached across the border to Canada in an effort to learn of their academic programs, better inform our comparative homeland security courses, and offer Canadian programs the academic support provided to UAPI partners domestically. After that visit, a decision was made to reach out to Mexico as well, through a conference that bought together academics, practitioners, and policymakers from the three countries that share the North American continent. The goals coming in to the CSC were straightforward. First was to develop knowledge and educate the participants on security issues and academic efforts as undertaken in each country. Second was to build relationships between the participants and to begin institutionalizing those relations between their organizations. Once the conference began, an additional goal was added: to generate a concrete list of objectives for future conferences. Attending the confer ence wer e representatives from academia, including two from Mexico, four from Canada, and nine from the U.S. military. The Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Public Safety Canada (PSC) were among the organizations representing the practitioner community. A complete list of organizations represented at the conference is in appendix A. Despite the participant nations' proximity to each other and the nature of today's natural and manmade threat environment, few long-term initiatives of this type exist. None of these has a primarily academic focus.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (June 2011), v.7 no. 15
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