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Human Factors in Homeland Security
2024 Winter Institute

The 2024 threat landscape is complex and dynamic. Dozens of environmental, social, technological, and economic stressors are interacting with increasing velocity. For many, their combined impact is causing unpredictability and stress. Climate change, wars raging in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, artificial intelligence, record numbers of migrants, and ever-increasing social and political tensions are just some examples. The whole of these intersecting crises is even more potentially dangerous and disruptive than the sum of the parts. Professionals concerned with safety and security, emergency management, and business continuity will be challenged to mitigate the impact of these converging threats. Having a better understanding of the human impact and behavioral consequences of the current threat landscape will be critical to success.  

Each year, the winter schedule allows the Homeland Security Human Factors Institute to offer some of our most popular and useful training programs, along with new and evolving topics, all in a condensed 8-week semester format. The eight one-hour classes are offered individually and in series as certificate programs.


Participants can join the live, instructor-led online classes each Tuesday from January 16 through March 5 at 1:00 PM (EST), or view the recorded programs at their convenience. Attendance to the live classes is not required for the certificate programs.

Stay current with the ever-changing threat landscape and give yourself a strategic and tactical advantage by applying accurate behavioral assumptions in all of your emergency and security-related preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. Register for individual classes or a certificate program today! Contact us for more information at   


Intended Audience

  • Emergency Managers

  • Security Professionals

  • Law Enforcement Professionals  

  • Intelligence Analysts, Investigators, & Operators

  • EMS and Fire Personnel

  • Human Resources Professionals

  • Business Continuity Planners

  • Risk Managers

  • Health & Safety Professionals  

  • Behavioral Health Professionals

  • Anyone involved in emergency preparedness, response and recovery 

AI - Behavioral Risk Thrust Area

For Winter Institute Participants interested exclusively in the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Behavioral Risk Management programs, we are offering a special two-session opportunity and certificate. Register for the two-class pairing, "The Behavioral Risks of AI" and "The Use of AI to Manage Behavioral Risk" and take one of the two final Winter Institute sessions at no cost, plus receive a special Certificate to demonstrate your achievement. 


Register for the two-session AI Thrust Bundle     


Class Descriptions & Schedule

The 2024 Winter Institute offers two program levels:


Level One includes foundational classes, and Level Two with advanced classes so participants can continue to build their knowledge base. Participants can register for individual classes, the Tier One or Two series, or the entire 8-class institute program. All classes are provided live online each Tuesday at 1:00 PM EST and recorded for convenient on-demand viewing.  






Level One Series

Tuesday, January 16 | Foundations of Human Behavior in Disasters and Emergencies

This awareness-level program is intended for anyone involved in the various phases of emergency management, security, business continuity planning, or related disciplines. The program addresses both the emotional and behavioral responses to disasters, violent incidents, and public health emergencies, and introduces strategies for managing the individual, organizational, and community impact of crisis events.

Emergency and disaster policies, plans, and exercises must be based on what people are most likely to do in crisis conditions. An incomplete or inaccurate understanding of human behavior in critical incidents can complicate and compromise emergency response and recovery efforts. This training program is intended for decision-makers and planners who have a responsibility to understand and stay current with behavioral research as it relates to emergency management. The program introduces must-know information to help leaders form accurate behavioral assumptions to guide plans and policies, emergency response protocols, drills, and exercises. 

Register for just this class

Tuesday, January 23 | Human Behavior and Mass Violence

Violence is behavior, and like other behaviors, insight into its causes and effects can provide actionable intelligence for everyone concerned with prevention, response, and recovery. The FBI has determined that individuals on a pathway to mass violence typically display four to five observable indicators before an attack. Stopping mass violence begins with understanding mass violence. 


Leaders and planners need to anticipate the entire life cycle of an incident of mass violence, including those involving firearms, as well as other forms such as bombings, vehicular attacks, and other weapons, such as knives. Our model involves the application of the four phases of emergency management (i.e., mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery) to mass violence incidents. It may not be possible to stop every act of violence, but violent actors can be disrupted, distracted, or defeated at several critical points along the pathway to violence.  This program will help participants prepare individuals, communities, and organizations to detect, deter, respond, and recover from targeted violence.

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Tuesday, January 30 | Behavioral Challenges of Chemical, Biological, Radiological

and Nuclear (CBRN) Emergencies

The true tool of the terrorist is not chemical, biological, or radiological…rather, it is psychological. Terror is fear, and terrorists seek to create and manipulate levels of fear to achieve their strategic goals. The extreme lethality and disruptive effects of CBRN weapons make them highly attractive to extremist and terrorist groups, who conceive that their use will help them achieve their strategic goals. CBRN weapons are said to be true "terror weapons" because their psychological impact usually exceeds the extent of their physical destructiveness, however massive. 


Acts of unconventional terrorism, using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials, can result in unique and complex medical and psychological consequences. Understanding these nightmarish weapons as instruments of psychological warfare, rather than simply weapons of mass (physical) destruction is critical to planning and executing an effective response. For leaders and decision-makers to understand and develop effective countermeasures and strategies for consequence management, they must be fully aware of the powerful and unique psychological effects of these exotic hazards. 

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Tuesday, February 6 | Civil Unrest: Human Behavior in Groups, Crowds & Mobs

Worldwide, incidents of civil unrest have doubled over the last decade. Every region has experienced hundreds of civil unrest events over the last ten years. The world is currently experiencing one of the most significant and prolonged periods of civil unrest, often characterized by violence and the destruction of property. From leaf blowers to lasers, from balloons to drones, protestors, as well as public safety authorities are deploying new strategies and tactics.   

Safety and security professionals, as well as emergency management leaders and first responders of all types, benefit from knowledge and understanding of the causes, warning signs, and behavioral dynamics of groups, crowds, and mobs that are associated with violent and destructive behavior. Such an understanding better prepares decision-makers and responders for the challenges associated with the use of new and dangerous tactics, social media, and globalization as they relate to the development of crises and the potential of dangerous and violent collective behavior. Even civil unrest taking place in nearby communities can be highly disruptive to all types of business operations and pose a risk to employers and employees alike. This updated program provides timely, actionable information to better help leaders and responders protect their organizations’ personnel and assets when responding to potential group, crowd, or mob situations.

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Level Two Series 

Tuesday, February 13 | The Behavioral Risks of Artificial Intelligence (AI) 


Responsible innovation requires a sophisticated understanding of human behavior. While it is not helpful to catastrophize about the impact of AI on society, there are foreseeable adverse behavioral consequences already emerging. AI has the potential to cause several negative psychological effects on individuals. For instance, overuse of technology, including AI systems, can lead to addictive behaviors. During what the U.S. Surgeon General has described as "an epidemic of loneliness," the development of platforms that bring virtual companions to life through immersive conversations can deepen social isolation and contribute to a range of adverse interpersonal behaviors associated with insider threats and violence. In several documented cases, AI has already encouraged suicide and acts of targeted violence. Disinformation fueled by deep fakes can create fake news stories, fabricate political or business scandals, or damage an individual's or organization's reputation. Generative AI can also be used for social manipulation to sow discord and distrust within a community,  campus, or workplace by spreading false narratives or inciting individual and collective violence. AI is rocket fuel for social engineers increasing a wide range of security threats. It will be necessary for anyone concerned with security, emergency management, and business continuity to be aware of the potential adverse behavioral consequences associated with the rapid rise of generative AI.

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Tuesday, February 20 | The Use of Artificial Intelligence to Manage Behavioral Risk     


AI is already taking physical security and violence prevention to new levels.  It can be used to detect and prevent physical security breaches by analyzing large amounts of data identifying patterns that may indicate a security breach and automating security processes, such as monitoring surveillance cameras and identifying potential threats. AI-powered behavioral analysis can help reduce the risk of security breaches and strengthen an organization’s overall security posture by augmenting traditional methods of detection with proactive, real-time detection of anomalies and potential threats.  AI-powered behavioral analysis can also be used to improve and expedite violence risk assessment.  It can help mitigate bias by supplementing subjective human judgments with unadulterated data-driven predictions. It is important to note that AI-powered behavioral analysis is not a silver bullet for security risks and should be used in conjunction with other security measures. AI should not replace professional judgment in assessment and management but can give security practitioners and threat assessment professionals a new set of tools to aid in the speed and accuracy of their processes.  

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Tuesday, February 27 | Behavioral Concerns in an Era of Polycrisis

Multiple, simultaneous crises are occurring around the world. The term, polycrisis, is increasingly used to describe the interaction of different crises that can result in harms greater than the sum that the crises would produce in isolation. With wars raging in Central Europe and the Middle East, escalating social and political tensions, the lingering effects of the pandemic, climate change, and the rise of AI, many people are experiencing a type of increased anxiety and stress for which they have no precedent, and few coping mechanisms. This can give people a sense that the world around them is in a state of constant, unpredictable change and that they can no longer rely on their existing beliefs or assumptions from more certain times. This sense of fear is central to ways in which people seek safety and security. Stress and fear can increase arousal and irritability, decrease self-regulation, and increase the availability of negative and hostile thoughts. Stress can harm cognitive function, which may reduce the ability to resolve a conflict without violence. People who are stressed and fearful also perceive others as behaving aggressively, increasing the odds of hostile confrontations.


Stress and uncertainty also impact performance and wellness.  Strongly interconnected, overlapping crises are having significant psychological effects on individuals, communities,  and organizations. It will be important for leaders and decision-makers to understand the behavioral impacts as they attempt to mitigate the fallout of polycrises.

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Tuesday, March 5 | The Behavioral Response to Climate Change

According to the American and European weather agencies, 2023 was the hottest year in recorded history with average global temperatures predicted to climb closer to critical environmental tipping points sooner than expected. Climate change has the potential to create dangerous and disruptive events in our communities and businesses and is recognized as a threat multiplier for a range of adverse behaviors. There are significant behavioral changes associated with climate change that must be incorporated into plans and procedures. Researchers have also seen a rise in climate grief, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and depression, as well as rising interpersonal aggression and violence.


Leaders, decision-makers, and planners need to understand how both the direct and indirect impacts of climate change will affect those they serve.  Security, Emergency Management, and Business Continuity professionals must recalibrate their strategies and tactics to meet the operational and behavioral challenges of a warming planet. Anyone involved in disciplines related to safety and security, emergency management, and business continuity must begin to anticipate the behavioral consequences of climate change; they will be some of the greatest challenges we will face.

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Program Fees

The fee for individual classes is $75.00 (USD). Each four-class Level One or Two program is $300.00, and the entire Winter Institute program including all eight classes is $599.00. Participants enrolling in both the Level One and Level Two series, as well as the full eight-week Institute, are eligible for Winter Institute certificates.  Please call for special pricing for groups of 8 or more participants. The programs can be completed live, online, or by viewing the recorded presentations before April 15, 2024. ​ All major credit cards, as well as debit cards, are accepted for payment. 

Please allow 24 hours to receive a confirmation email after you have registered.


The Winter Institute classes are taught by Steve Crimando, the founder and principal of Behavioral Science Applications LLC. Steve is a 30+ year veteran emergency and disaster behavioral health professional and violence prevention expert.  He is a Certified Threat Manager (CTM) with the Association of Threat Management Professionals (ATAP), a Certified Master Trainer (CMT) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Threat Evaluation and Reporting (NTER) program, and a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (DRCC), as well as a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress (BCETS).


Steve was deployed to the 9/11 and 1993 World Trade Center attacks, New Jersey’s anthrax screening center, and many other disasters and acts of terrorism. He is a published author frequently called upon by the media and the courts as an expert in crisis prevention and response. He provides training and support to multinational corporations, law enforcement, intelligence, military agencies, and NGOs worldwide.

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