Our speaker on 11 August 2015 was Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos.  He spoke about the highly competitive Master’s degree program in Security Studies he completed in December 2013. The program was fully sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and included his travel, meals, lodging, books and a laptop. Five hundred people applied to the program, 30 were accepted and only 21 in Chris’s group completed the program. Chris called it a “most rewarding experience.”  His fellow participants were from all aspects of law enforcement including 3 fire chiefs, Homeland Security officers, Secret Service agents, and air marshals. Chris is aware of only 4 other people from NH who have completed the program.
Chris took so much away from the program, but most valuable to him was the networking, research, and a greater understanding of local and international terrorist networks. He will be using this knowledge to teach a course in Homeland Security issues at Plymouth State this fall. He tells us we would be amazed at what is stopped in this country every day before it happens. He is concerned about smaller groups and “lone wolf” terrorists. Chris thinks a lot about the use of social media by people who use it as a powerful tool for “bad things.” He is concerned about balancing personal freedoms with security.
Chris currently sits on the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Committee in the State of NH.