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Who We Are

The Center for Homeland Defense and Security Association (CHDS Association), a New Hampshire voluntary corporation, and a 501(c)(3) charitable entity, is committed to the advancement of the homeland security enterprise through the support and facilitation of educational and professional activities in the areas of homeland security, homeland defense, and public safety across the United States. In particular, the CHDS Association:

1. Solicits, receives and administers donated funds to conduct educational programs, research and activities that endeavor to further the safety, health and security of local communities and the country at large from all natural and human caused threats and hazards.

2. Facilitates the collaboration and networking among homeland security professionals in order to enhance practice throughout the United States.

3. Supports the development of a productive alumni network for attendees of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security programs.

Board of Directors

Debra Kirby 
Rich Blatus 
Vice President

Debra Kirby is Senior Vice President with Hillard Heintze a consulting firm and her area of practice centers on police reform across the U.S.  She has worked as Deputy Chief Inspector with the Garda Siochana Inspectorate, which reported directly to the Minister of the Irish Department of Justice and Equality, and served 27 years with the Chicago Police Department.  In addition to being a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, she is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and was a Fulbright Scholar for police studies. 

Rich Blatus is a thirty six year veteran of the FDNY currently serving as a Battalion Chief in the departments Special Operations Command and as a member of New York City's Urban Search and Rescue Team NYTF-1.  A strong proponent of fire service and emergency management training, Rich has presented globally at many fire and emergency management conferences.As a graduate of masters cohort 0701, and as an instructor with the departments Captains Development and Chief Officer Command programs,  Rich has been able to share the homeland security knowledge gained at the Naval Postgraduate School with newly promoted Chief and company officers within the FDNY.

Elaine Jennings
Patrice Hubbard

Elaine Jennings has 22 years in progressively increasing emergency management and homeland security leadership positions.  Elaine served in the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security as the Assistant Secretary for External Affairs and as the Director for Planning, Preparedness and Emerging Threats for the California Emergency Management Agency.  She has managed a number of initiatives in homeland security, counterterrorism and emergency management including overseen a number of projects to ensure the implementation of national guidance.   She has supervised programs for technical support to local responders and emergency managers and has led several initiatives to improve state and local capability to prevent and respond to a WMD attack.  Additionally, she has served in numerous EOC leadership positions during activations, managed Joint Information Centers and served as an Agency Spokesperson for crisis events.  Previous positions include serving at the Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security on the Presidential Management Fellowship and as an Advisor Public Safety Advisor to the Mayor of San Diego.   Elaine is currently working on a project to build programs related to Stadium Security, Crisis Communication and Executive Decision-Making in Crisis.

Patrice Hubbard is the Major of Special Projects at the St. Petersburg Police Department, where she began her career in law enforcement in 2002. She has served the St. Petersburg

Police Department in various roles and has been instrumental in guiding numerous projects to completion. She is a Certified Florida Public Pension Trustee and a Certified CFA/CALEA

Assessor. Patrice is a 2015 graduate of the CHDS Master’s Degree Program and recipient of the Philip Zimbardo Award and nominee for the Outstanding Thesis Award. She is an active board member of the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation, a trustee at Pinellas Community Church, a Financial Peace University coordinator and an avid runner. Patrice is married to Officer William Hubbard, who will be retiring in 2021 with 32 years of service to the St. Petersburg Police Department. Together they have six children and one grandchild.

Mike Biasotti
Past President
Christopher Pope
Past President

Michael Biasotti served 38 years with the New Windsor, NY police department – the last 11 years as Chief of Police.  He has led and been a member of numerous professional organizations and nonprofits related to public safety including Advisory Board Member, Mental Health of Arrestees and How it Impacts Police; the National Alliance on Mental Illness; International Association of Chiefs of Police; Immediate Past President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police; Board of Directors Member of The Treatment Advocacy Center; North Eastern Working Group Member Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS); Council Member New York State's Law Enforcement Accreditation Council; President Orange County Association of Chiefs of Police.  Chief Biasotti has spent the past two decades focusing on the decriminalization of mental illness, by fostering programs such as de-escalation training for all Law Enforcement officers, training for Judges and prosecutors, increasing programs which are actively geared towards encouraging those most ill to remain engaged in their treatment protocol in an effort to reduce repetitive involvement within the criminal justice system, reduce homelessness and repeated hospitalizations. 

Christopher Pope spent 30 years in the fire service, retiring in 2006 as the Chief of the Concord, NH Fire Department.  In August of the same year, Governor Lynch appointed him to serve as his Homeland Security Advisor and the NH state Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.  Mr. Pope stepped down in 2013 at the conclusion of Governor Lynch's last term and now serves as adjunct faculty in the Homeland Security program of the Van Loan Graduate School at Endicott College.  He also serves on the board of trustees of the University System of New Hampshire.


Michael Sharp
Natalie Gutierrez

Michael Sharp is a Nuclear Nonproliferation Specialist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory managing the Department of State portfolio focusing on International Safeguards, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Security. He has worked for the United Nations - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), developing a strategic site-wide masterplan for the IAEA Seibersdorf Laboratory and completed the Nuclear Graduate Fellowship Program sponsored by the Department of Energy - National Nuclear Security Administration. Michael worked as civil servant at the USDA – Animal Plant Health Inspection Services, supporting the regulatory security of biologics, pathogens and vectors, tracking epidemiological outbreaks, and conducting microbiological laboratory inspections. Furthermore, he spent several years working as a U.S. Department of Defense contractor in Doha, Qatar and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Michael completed his Masters in Homeland Security at the Pennsylvania State University and his Bachelors in Political Science at Temple University.

Natalie Kiljanski-Gutierrez serves as the Director of Public Safety Grants and Contracts for the City of Chicago.  Her duties include management of all existing and prospective grant funding for City of Chicago public safety departments.     The public safety grants portfolio totals over $245M annually in federal, state and private grant funds and encompasses grants for: Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications and Chicago Office of Public Safety Administration.  Over half of the grant funds are for homeland security.  Natalie also oversees all contracting and procurement for Chicago’s public safety agencies.   This includes over 100 contracts managed directly by public safety and over 100 others public safety utilizes and tracks.  At the local, state and federal level Natalie champions funding negotiations and collaborative efforts towards standardization and accountability. Natalie works alongside senior executives, State representatives, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to establish strategic goals on safety and security throughout the urban area. Prior to her current role, Natalie was Managing Director of Administration for the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications where she oversaw all sections within administration: Finance, Grants, Human Resources/Personnel, and Contracts. A native of Chicagoland area, Natalie holds a Master of Public Policy and Administration, with a specialization in Public Safety and Security, from Northwestern University.  In Q1 2020 Natalie completed the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Executive Leaders Program. Natalie’s commitment to her goals is further inspired as a mother of two and first generation Polish American. ​

Jessica Bress
Jay Tabb

Jessica Bress serves as the Strategic Projects Advisor in the Executive Office of the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, DC. Prior to her current role, Jessica served as the Deputy Director of the Maurice T. Turner Jr. Metropolitan Police Academy where she maintained responsibility for the full spectrum of operations and personnel management across the academy’s four branches of Recruit Training, Continuing Studies, Specialized Training, and the Cadet Corps. Previous positions include serving as a Policy Advisor and as a Special Assistant at the Department of Behavioral Health as well as a Program Analyst at DC Health.  Jessica holds a Master’s in Public Health from The George Washington University, a Masters in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a Bachelors from College of the Holy Cross. Jessica’s dedication to systems-level improvement is further motivated by her two children.

Jay Tabb is the Executive Vice President for Security & Analytics at Striveworks, an artificial intelligence and machine learning company focused on operational integration of AI/ML for government and commercial clients.  Jay has over three decades of national security, law enforcement, and military experience managing and mitigating organizational risk.  Jay served nearly twenty-three years in the FBI, culminating as the Executive Assistant Director of the FBI's National Security Branch where he led a global workforce over 8,000 personnel in the homeland defense of our nation. Since joining the FBI in 1997, he held a variety of positions, including service as an operator on the FBI’s elite counterterrorism unit, the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), leadership of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Washington DC, Commander of the HRT, Deputy Assistant Director in charge of counterterrorism operations for the FBI, and Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for the FBI in Washington State.  Jay is a recipient of the U.S. Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service for his leadership during a prominent global counterterrorism investigation, and the Exceptional Service Medal from the Director of National Intelligence for leadership in a sensitive national security matter, as well as the FBI Medal of Valor and two FBI Stars for heroism in direct action.  Jay’s military service began in 1989 and included over seven years an infantry officer in the U.S Marine Corps, including several command and staff billets and command during combat operations in the Middle East.  Jay holds a Bachelor’s in Economics from Texas A&M University and is a CHDS ELP graduate.

John Flynn is the Chief of the Ocean Reef Community Association Fire-EMS Department, located in North Key Largo, Florida. Formerly, John served for thirty-two years with the Yonkers, NY Fire Department, retiring in 2020 as an Assistant Chief.  John has served in a wide variety of operational, executive, and administrative positions with the YFD, as well as adjunct instructor with the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. He has authored several articles for international fire and emergency management journals and has worked as a consultant/subject matter expert for both private sector and government organizations in public safety and HS policy and curriculum development. John has been credentialed with the Chief Fire Officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and the Certified Emergency Manager designation from the International Association of Emergency Managers. He is a Principal Member of the National Fire Protection Association 1026 Committee: Standard for incident management professional qualifications. John is a graduate of both the CHDS Executive Leaders Program and Master’s Degree Program.

William Dwyer

Captain Dwyer is currently serving as the Staff Judge Advocate for US Southern Command in Doral Florida. He is the principal legal advisor/Chief Counsel for the Geographic Combatant Commander for South and Central America as well as the Caribbean for all US military operations. Previously, he served as a Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Operations Law Attorney and the Chief of Legal Engagements for US Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii. In this role, he advised on a variety of operational issues involving the South China Sea and North Korea. He also led numerous legal engagements throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific to advance the Rule of Law. Prior to that, he served as the Seventeenth District SJA in Juneau, Alaska. His duties included advising on operations, maritime security, military justice and international law for Coast Guard units in Alaska and the Arctic. Previously, he served in the Office of Legal Counsel, US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany. He provided operational legal advice on a variety of areas including piracy, maritime security, and targeting. Additionally, Captain Dwyer served as a legal advisor for Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. He conducted legal engagements and training throughout the African Continent. Additionally, Captain Dwyer has had numerous other legal and operational assignments in his nearly 25 years of military service. He is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy, Rutgers Law School, The Naval Postgraduate School, and the Army War College.

Rich Rosell

Rich Rosell serves as the Police Chief and Director of Public Safety for the Town of Indian River Shores, FL. He previously was the Director of Public Safety for the Town of Dover, NJ. Between Dover and Indian River Shores, he also served as Director of Public Safety for the Township of Springfield, Union County, NJ. He is a 27-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police, retiring at the rank of Captain. He has a very diverse skill set with vast operational, training, policy making, homeland security, management, and administrative experience. Rosell held various positions while serving with the New Jersey State Police, which include: Advisor to the Superintendent of State Police, Strategic Initiatives Officer, Regional Field Operations Commander, Special Operations Bureau Chief, Emergency Management Bureau Chief, Hurricane Katrina Task Force Commander, Station Commander, and S.W.A.T. Supervisor. Rosell has extensive experience teaching graduate level students at Seton Hall University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. He also has extensive police and military training experience, including international training experience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Thomas Edison State College in Human Services, a Master’s Degree from Seton Hall University in Human Resources Training and Development, and a Master’s Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Homeland Defense and Security Studies. Rosell is currently in the dissertation process for Drew University’s Doctor of Letters degree program. He is a former U.S. Marine, a former NJ Army National Guardsman and a former member of the US Army Reserve and held the rank of Master Sergeant.

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