Homeland Defense Academic Symposium

2020 Homeland Defense Academic Symposium

Postponed until December 2020 
NORAD and USNORTHCOM Headquarters, Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, CO 

Register for the Symposium - Coming soon

Important Dates and Deadlines

Contact Us

Call for Proposals or Abstracts


The first Homeland Defense Academic Symposium is June 23-25, 2020, at the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.  This event, hosted by the two commands, will feature a tabletop exercise focused on homeland defense issues, keynote speakers, and panel presentations.  


Academics and industry representatives from the United States and Canada are invited to attend, with the number of attendees limited to 80.  Registration will be available in early 2020. Participants will gain insight into the NORAD and USNORTHCOM unique missions, capabilities, and requirements, and be able to incorporate the most up-to-date information about the commands into their curriculums as appropriate. 

Additionally, North American academics (United States and Canada) are invited to research and write on a topic within the NORAD and USNORTHCOM purview. The top submissions will receive an invitation and funding to present their research at the 2020 Homeland Defense Academic Symposium. Additionally, each of the selected papers will compete for the Homeland Defense Academic Symposium writing award.  Please see the call for abstracts for more information.  


Important Dates and Deadlines

  • 23 October 2019—Call for Proposals or Abstracts Open
  • 23 November 2019—Proposals or Abstracts due
  • Week of 9 December 2019—Researcher notifications issued
  • TBD —Registration Open
  • 1 April 2020—Papers Due
  • TBD —Registration Closes
  • December 2020 Homeland Defense Academic Symposium

Contact Us

NADSAA Coordinator, n-nc.peterson.n-ncj7.mbx.j72-hd-academic-symposium@mail.mil

Call For Proposals or Abstracts

Call To Action
Writing Award
Abstract Criteria
Final Paper Criteria
Sample Research Topics


Today’s increasingly complex security environment is defined by increased inter-state competition, the changing nature of conflict, rapid technological change, and challenges from adversaries in every operating domain. Adversaries have methodically formulated doctrine and developed the capability to support it, specifically aimed at threatening our countries with conflict below the nuclear threshold.  

To meet the demand of the emerging security environment, the U.S. National Defense Strategy establishes “Defending the Homeland” as Defense Objective #1. The Canadian Defence Policy also stresses the significance of defense as part of its core missions, “Detect, deter, and defend against threats to or attacks on North America.”

In January 2019, the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Commander, General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, provided a call to action to the NORAD and USNORTHCOM staff, “…to inspire a command-wide transformation of our approach to the homeland defense mission in order to recapture the competitive advantage required to protect our citizens and way of life.”

The Combatant Commander’s call is to rethink how we think about homeland defense, no longer depending on 20th Century thinking to fight 21st Century adversaries. To assist in this transformation, the 2020 Homeland Defense Academic Symposium enlists the assistance of academia to seek new ways to shape the security environment and enhance the United States and Canadian defense capabilities.  

Call To Action

The NORAD and USNORTHCOM Commander further stated, “In recognizing our vulnerabilities, we must create a culture of experimentation and exploration to connect the dots in new ways, uncovering undiscovered opportunities and illuminating blind spots.” 

To assist in illuminating these blind spots, the 2020 Homeland Defense Academic Symposium seeks to address the Commander’s call to action, focusing on five current challenges:

  1. Conventional Deterrence
  2. Improving Arctic Capabilities
  3. Leveraging Commercial Technology
  4. Establishing a Homeland Defense Ecosystem
  5. Increasing Globally-Integrated Planning and Operations

American and Canadian academics are invited to research and write on a topic within the NORAD and USNORTHCOM purview, selecting a topic from one of the below categories. Participating researchers are requested to submit abstracts to the North American Defense and Security Academic Alliance (NADSAA) coordinator by November 23, 2019. The top submissions will receive an invitation and funding to present their research at the 2020 Homeland Defense Academic Symposium, June 23-25, 2020, at the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Additionally, each of the selected papers will be peer reviewed by fellow academics within the homeland defense academic community as well as by a team of NORAD and USNORTHCOM subject matter experts. Following this review, each approved paper will be submitted for publishing within the symposium’s journal.

Homeland Defense Academic Symposium Writing Award

Each of the selected papers will compete for the Homeland Defense Academic Symposium writing award. The winning author in each category will be recognized with an award at the 2020 Homeland Defense Academic Symposium. Submissions will be evaluated in two categories:

  1. Senior Researcher (University faculty, senior professionals and War College students)
  2. Junior Researcher (Graduate level students)

Proposal or Abstract Criteria

  • Proposals or abstracts should be no more than 500 words
  • Submissions must include author’s Curriculum Vitæ (CV) including a list of recent works/publications and contact information
  • Submit proposals or abstracts electronically to Ms. Lauren Schindler, NADSAA Coordinator, lauren.a.schindler.civ@mail.mil
  • Submissions are due no later than November 23, 2019

Final Paper Criteria

  • Approximately 10-20 double spaced pages, approximately 5,000-6,000 words (paper length is flexible to meet individual school requirements)
  • Development and defense of positon/argument
  • Implications for future homeland defense operation, analysis and planning
  • Historical accuracy
  • Quality of reference material

Sample Research Topics

Researchers are invited to select a research topic from the below categorized list.

1. Conventional Deterrence - Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Deterrence in the Homelands:  How can our commands better pursue a deterrence by denial strategy in homeland defense? 
  • How can a conventional deterrence strategy (focused below the nuclear threshold) be employed to counter the rise of peer and near-peer adversaries? What would constitute a credible conventional deterrence architecture?  
  • Explore the interdependencies between deterrence by denial and deterrence by punishment.  Given the capabilities of near-peer adversaries and their ability to defend against counterattacks, as well as their ability to hold critical infrastructure in the homelands at risk, how does the ability or inability to defend critical infrastructure impact the ability to inflict punishment and ultimately deter?
  • How has conventional (non-nuclear) deterrence succeeded? Under what conditions has conventional strategic deterrence succeeded in the past and elsewhere? What changes to these conditions led to failure? What insights and lessons can or should be drawn from the nearly seven decades of successful nuclear deterrence?
  • What are the strategic objectives of Russia and China? How do they align and diverge? Given that, how should the West deter Russia and China from considering/taking action?

2. Improving Arctic Capabilities - Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Arctic Communications:  The Arctic poses significant challenges to our ability to command and control and communicate within the region. What capability and capacity is available now and will be available in the future to improve communication in the Arctic? Determine which combination of communications provides assured communications to bases and mobile platforms. [e.g., High Frequency, Ultra High Frequency, Very High Frequency, Line of Sight, Satellite Communications (SATCOM)]
  • Arctic Infrastructure and Basing:  Is there an optimal infrastructure to satisfy operational and defense requirements? Consider near-term and persistent basing solutions that meet uncertain future demands and meets the extreme environmental conditions.
  • Mitigating Threats in the Arctic by Creating an Arctic Joint Task Force (JTF):  Given the strategic significance the Arctic plays in NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s homeland defense posture within the northern hemisphere, we must increase our operational capacity in the region. Would the creation of an Arctic JTF serve as an effective means of mitigating the threats and challenges of the evolving Arctic?

3. Leveraging Commercial Technology -  Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Cyber defense of Canada and the United States and critical infrastructure protection.
  • How can the U.S. acquisition process be reformed to meet the speed of relevancy for 21st century security challenges and at the same time encourage industry's "buy-in?"
  • How can NORAD and USNORTHCOM maximize the potential or increase the shared value of commercial and industry integration in developing homeland defense technological solutions?
  • Cyber Security - Energy Sector:  Align recommendations from the research on non-Department of Defense (DOD)/Department of National Defence (DND) energy sector critical infrastructure and key resources with defense critical infrastructure nodes that may rely upon them.

4. Establishing an HD Ecosystem - Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Domain Awareness
    • How can NORAD and USNORTHCOM optimize detection capability in an era of trans-regional, all-domain, multi-functional threats?
    • How do NORAD and USNORTHCOM maintain all-domain awareness as adversaries field advanced weapons (e.g., hyper-glide vehicles, hypersonic cruise missiles)
    • What is the optimal combination of new and emerging technology that can produce an intuitive, layered sensing grid to enable all-domain awareness?
  • Joint, All-Domain Command and Control
    • What is the optimal architecture that would enable Joint All-Domain command and control (C2)?
    • How do we design and implement an operationally-relevant C2 structure that maximizes the elements below to improve our ability to predict, detect, correlate, and track any threat to North America?
      • Big Data Analytics
      • Edge Computing
      • Machine Learning
      • Artificial Intelligence
  • Advanced Defeat Mechanisms
    • How do we collectively meet the current demands of the ballistic and cruise missile threat, while also preparing for the future threat of supersonic and hypersonic weapons? 
    • What type of technology investments will enable a defeat capability against new and evolving threats? How can we flip the cost-curve on missile defense?

5. Increasing Globally-Integrated Planning and Operations - Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Given the complementary nature of homeland defense and the “fight forward,” how can we improve our integration in every stage of planning and operations?
  • Considering the USNORTHCOM requirement to preserve power projection capability, how can we improve integration of homeland defense objectives into other combatant commands priorities and decision-making processes? 
  • Cross-Area of Responsibility (AOR) avenues of approach, cross-domain capabilities, and significantly increased weapon ranges eliminate the ability to contain a regional conflict. Any regional conflict will have global implications. How will that effect our approach to globally-integrated operations?

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