People-first homeland security: recalibrating for community collaboration and engagement within a homeland security ecosystem
English, Angela Yvonne
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The nation’s socially constructed deficit-oriented discourse and linear organizational structure is incongruent with the decentralized, interconnected, and complex adaptive problems faced by homeland security. The thesis question is: Can the homeland security enterprise benefit from a people-centric, strengths-based systems approach to increase the nation’s ability to adapt, withstand and recover from disasters? In the current linear dominated all-hazards world, the ranks are experiencing less trust, less security, less cooperation, less effectiveness, and less happiness. In contrast, a people-centric, strengths-based world, in which community is central, features more involvement, more trust, more resiliency, more participation, more inclusiveness, and more empowerment. This thesis aims to show that the collective of homeland security needs an all-opportunities plan, a new way of thinking, based on the strengths of communities and the willingness of the American people to contribute. The concepts of appreciative inquiry, positive deviance, social network analysis, and social construction examined in research, and case studies were used to provide recommendations for the future. The thesis posits that the homeland security enterprise has evolved into a homeland security ecosystem due to globalization, social complexity, ubiquitous smart technologies, and the ability of communities of interest to form outside of traditional organizational structures.
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