Political Science Faculty Developing Book on Department of Homeland Security in Partnership with First DHS Secretary

Posted on 12/11/2018 6:12:22 PM

Aleea Perry, a faculty member in IUP’s Department of Political Science and a PhD in public administration, is working with former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge on a book about the development of the Department of Homeland Security.

Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first assistant to the president for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, became the first secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security.

The working title for the book is Creation in Crisis: The Development of the Department of Homeland Security. The book will address the issue of how the disparate agencies, departments, and components of what would soon become the third largest federal agency were considered, discussed, combined, and reorganized.

Perry and members of Governor Ridge’s staff are actively working to solicit interviews for the book, which also is designed to offer a real-life example of what actually happens when an agency is created to address immediate issues of homeland security from separate governmental components with an initial focus on a border-centric mission, Perry said.

Political Science students meet with IUP Trustee Mark HolmanCoordination with Mark Holman, a member of IUP’s Council of Trustees and an IUP Department of Political Science alumnus and partner with Governor Ridge at the Ridge Policy Group, was essential to the book coming to fruition, Perry said. Holman served as deputy assistant to the president in the White House Office of Homeland Security.

“Opportunities to document federal agency organizational history are rare, and I was not willing to miss out on this part of history,” Perry said. “It is kismet that my research interests are organizational development, and IUP has a real-time connection to the creation of the third-largest federal agency.”

IUP undergraduate and graduate students will work with Perry as research assistants to ensure that the book project has lasting academic value to current IUP students and their future careers.

“There are many textbooks written about the functions of the Department of Homeland Security, but none detailing the creation, development, and continued growth of the agency,” Perry said. “This book is intended to engage academic audiences in the organizational development of the agency, as well as the lessons learned for future reorganizations of federal functions.”

IUP Political Science students meet with Governor RidgeAs part of this work, Perry coordinated a meeting of 10 IUP students with Governor Ridge and his staff in October 2018, as part of an annual Department of Political Science trip to Washington, DC hosted by the Ridge Policy Group.

Governor Ridge shared insight into his time as governor of Pennsylvania, as well as his role in the Department of Homeland Security. Students were able to talk one-on-one with Governor Ridge and document their visit with a photograph.

Interviews will be conducted through 2019, with an estimated book completion date of fall 2020.

Perry joined the IUP faculty in 2016. She has a PhD in public administration with concentrations in public management and financial management from the University of Illinois–Chicago. Prior to her work at IUP, she was a grant writer and administrator for cities, towns, counties, nonprofits, and community colleges. She has also worked as a community development specialist for the State of Indiana and as a senior project manager for the City of Indianapolis.

Persons with information about the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and who are willing to be interviewed to share that information should contact Perry at aperry@iup.edu

Photo information: Aleea Perry took a group of IUP students to meet with former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and members of the Ridge Policy Group, including IUP Council of Trustees member Mark Holman.