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 

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.  



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.  



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. 

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 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. 


Farley Howell

Farley Howell is a retired Registered Nurse, Air Force officer, and federal emergency manager who remains active in many volunteer organizations in the Portland, Oregon community.  Until his retirement in June 2018 he served as the Executive Director of the Oregon Federal Executive Board beginning in April of 2016.  Mr. Howell supported the Policy Committee of the Oregon Federal Executive Board 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 nearly 14 years as one of ten Federal Preparedness Coordinators nationwide 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 was appointed 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, medical groups, and hospitals.  In addition, he deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Provide Hope (peacekeeping effort in Somalia).  He holds Associates, Bachelors, and Master’s Degrees in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in National Security Strategy through the National Defense University in Washington D.C.  Mr. Howell is married, and with his wife Margaret has three children.



Christopher Pope
Past President

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.


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. 



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.



Natalie Gutierrez
Patrice Hubbard

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. ​


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. 



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. 



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 spent 23 years in law enforcement with Casa Grande Police Department (AZ) and Tucson Police Department, retiring in 2017. He spent much of his career working in a patrol function in various assignments as he promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Greg led in a variety of assignments, including the Tucson Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Section and the Audit and Analysis Section.  After retirement, Greg joined Raytheon Missiles and Defense where he is currently the Physical Security Lead Manager. Greg earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Arizona, a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Master of Arts in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (1401/1402).  Greg also served on the National Homeland Security Association (NHSA) from 2011-2017.



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. 



David O'Keeffe
Executive Director

David O’Keeffe  info@chdsa.org