Virtual Panel discusses Security Environment Concerns
(l-r) Robert Garven, CGSC professor, Col. Scott Green, CGSS Director, Col.
(Ret.) Robert Kerry (on screen), Department of Homeland Security, and Dr.
Mahir Ibrahimov, Director of CASO, conduct the Cultural and Area Studies
Office CASO second panel briefing of the year July 21 entitled - "The
Changing Landscape of Homeland Security in Light of the Pandemic and
Societal Unrest,"
(Photo Credit: Dan Neal)

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.--Command and General Staff College’s Cultural and Area Studies Office, CASO, hosted its second panel briefing of the year on July 24 entitled - "The Changing Landscape of Homeland Security in Light of the Pandemic and Societal Unrest," Two panelists shared data and analysis of the situational environment.

Dr. Mahir J. Ibrahimov, Director, CASO, organized the event that was presented at the Lewis and Clark Center’s Arnold Conference Room and served as the moderator. Only the panel members and technical staff were present and this was the first virtual panel sponsored by CASO.

The panelists were Col. (retired) Mark Kerry, Chief, Planning Division, Department of Homeland Security, Joint Incident

Advisory Group, Washington, DC; and Robert C. Garven, Assistant Professor, Department of Army Tactics, CGSC, Fort Leavenworth, KS. Kerry joined the panel via video-teleconference from his headquarters in Washington, DC.

Col. Scott Green, Director, U.S. Army Command and General Staff School, CGSC, provided senior Leader opening remarks. Green noted CASO, in conjunction with its many partners continues the discussion of many of the most important topics in support of U.S. national defense and national security objectives across the spectrum of conflict including the possibility of large-scale combat operations.

Kerry opened the discussion. He summed up the current environment saying COVID, civil unrest, nation-state threats, disasters, and great-power competition has exposed gaps in our strategic planning. The solution, he said, requires a whole-of-government approach. “This environment has certainly impacted DHS and DOD operations,” he said.

Two events in 2017 – North Korean ballistic missile threat, and massive natural disasters through 17 named storms and many Category 5 hurricanes. Since then, the pandemic and wide-spread civil unrest have added additional threats to the environment.

“How do we address all these things?” he asked. He suggested the need to establish a U.S. government agency with an enduring, dedicated, systemic, inter-agency planning cell. He also called for the creation of a mechanism and organizational architecture to support a whole-of-government response to National Security Events.

Garven explained CGSC’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities and Homeland Security Studies Programs including 15 electives offered within the Command and General Staff Officers Course. He touched on a number of natural disasters, epidemics, additional capabilities of major power states, and terrorism issues that have changed our security environment.

The military support civil authorities to save lives, restore essential services, maintain or restore law and order, protect infrastructure and property, support maintenance and restoration of local government, and shape the environment for intergovernmental success, said Garven. He noted that only happens by request from civilian authority and that when supporting civil action civilians are always in charge.

Garven covered the four major legal considerations for use of Defense assets in support of civilian authorities – Insurrection Act of 1807, Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, Economy Act of 1982, and Robert T. Stafford Act of 1988.

Following the presentations by the panelists, Ibrahimov led a 1-hour question and answer discussion that touched on the details of their comments.

This panel is part of series seminars or panel discussions on issues of operational and strategic importance to the U.S., which CASO in coordination with CGSC, universities, think tanks, inter-agency and other partners conducts every two to three months broadcasting them through Video Teleconference and live on CGSC's Facebook page. Videos of the sessions are available on the CGSC Facebook and YouTube sites.

For questions on CASO events please contact: Dr. Mahir J. Ibrahimov, Director, Cultural and Area Studies Office (CASO), U.S. Army CGSC at (913)684-3345 or