Get access

Whither Civil Defense and Homeland Security in the Study of Public Policy? A Look at Research on the Policy, the Public, and the Process


  • The author would like to thank Hank Jenkins-Smith, Kuhika Gupta, Matthew Nowlin, Cyndi Ripberger, and the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on earlier iterations of this manuscript.

Joseph T. Ripberger is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Oklahoma. His research focuses on national security, the policy process, public opinion, and agenda setting.


Though the policy science movement was born with the purpose of counseling the Department of Defense on a plethora of security matters, modern research within the field of public policy has tended to neglect issues of defense and security focusing instead on a wide variety of domestic problems. This nearly exclusive focus on domestic issues remained largely intact until September 11, 2001, when the threat of terrorism propelled defense and security back onto the disciplinary research agenda. Though exceptionally slow to adjust, policy scholars are gradually coming to terms with this new reality and are beginning to focus on security and defense in a way that informs policymakers and advances policy theory. This research note is meant to introduce interested readers to this trend by exploring broad themes and exemplar works within the field over the last few years.