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

Christopher Pope

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.


Rich Blatus 
Vice President

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 UrbanSearch 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. firesafeltd@aol.com

Farley Howell

Farley Howell joined the Oregon Federal Executive Board as Executive Director in April of 2016.  Mr. Howell supports the Policy Committee of the Oregon Federal Executive Board (OFEB) which sets goals and priorities based upon the common interests and needs of the local federal agencies.  The Policy Committee serves as a communications and networking forum for member agency leaders – a place where executives build relationships with colleagues and strengthen partnerships with fellow agencies. Mr. Howell served for 13 years as Federal Preparedness Coordinator and Director of the National Preparedness Division for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX office in Oakland, CA.  In that role, he led that Region’s preparedness efforts, facilitated threat assessments and capability estimation, represented the Regional Administrator as the principal advocate for preparedness activities, and oversaw Whole Community engagement. While at FEMA, Mr. Howell also administered Hazardous Materials, Continuity of Operations, Tribal Outreach, and Individual and Community Preparedness Programs, plus engaged in training, exercise and evaluation activities.  Mr. Howell served as Acting Deputy Regional Administrator from March 2014 through August 2015. Prior to joining FEMA, Mr. Howell served more than 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, where he commanded multiple medical squadrons and hospitals. 


Mike Biasotti
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. 

Bijan Karimi

Bijan Karimi is the Director of Business Continuity with the San Francisco Federal Reserve. In this role, he oversees the contingency planning lifecycle, policy implementation, hazard and threat analysis, and accompanying training and exercise development. In joining the SF Fed team, he unites over 15 years of emergency management and response experience with another decade in the financial services industry. Previously, he was the Assistant Deputy Director of Emergency Services with the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and Operations Chief in the city’s Covid-19 Command Center.  


Bijan is pursuing his doctorate in Policy and Planning from the University of Southern California, focusing on cryptocurrency and economic security.  He has a master’s degree in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and MBA from CalPoly. In his free time, he hosts a podcast, trail runs and makes items on his 3D printer. bpkarimi.nps@gmail.com

Elaine Jennings

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.  elainekjennings@gmail.com

Philip Kearney

Philip Kearney is an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, located in San Francisco.  He currently serves in the Special Prosecution & National Security Division, with an emphasis on export control and counter-proliferation.  Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Kearney served in the Organized Crime Strike Force.  Prior to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Kearney served for 17 years as an Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, finishing his career in the Homicide Unit.Mr. Kearney has also twice served as a United Nations war crimes prosecutor, first in Kosovo during 2001 and 2002 for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, then in 2007 and 2008 in The Hague, Netherlands, for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugolsavia.  In 2013 Mr. Kearney received the California Lawyer of the Year Award in Criminal Law.  Mr. Kearney is a fourth generation San Franciscan whose father and grandfather served as firemen in the San Francisco Fire Department.  He is married with two children.  Philip.Kearney@usdoj.gov

Debra Kirby 

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.  debra.kirby@hillardheintze.com 

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.


Greg Mamanna

Gregory Mammana started his career in law enforcement in 1994 with the Casa Grande Police (AZ) Department.  In 1998, he returned to his hometown when he was hired by Tucson Police Department.  He spent a majority of his career working in a patrol function in various assignments as he promoted to his current rank of Lieutenant.  Greg managed the Tucson Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security from 2011-2015, and is currently assigned as the Homeland Intelligence Unit and Tucson Real-time Analytical Crime Center commander.  Greg has served on a number of volunteer boards, one of which is the National Homeland Security Association Board of Directors. He is currently the NHSA President.  Gregory.n.mammana@raytheon.com

David O'Keeffe

David O’Keeffe  info@chdsa.org

John Flynn is an Assistant Chief with the Yonkers, NY Fire Department, where he began service as a Firefighter in 1998. 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 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 and a member of the Westchester County Executive’s Fire Advisory Board. John is a graduate of both the CHDS Executive Leaders Program and Master’s Degree Program. johnflynn1777@gmail.com

© 2018 CHDSA