Johnston, Suzanne 1963- (2013-05). A Case Study of the Defense Support of Civil Authorities Program. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • The intent of this record of study is to examine the effectiveness of the Defense Support of Civil Authorities program through the theoretical lens of adult learning. The study explores the program graduates' individual and organizational attempts to make sense of their new role of support of civil authority during a national crisis. Using a case study approach, selected aspects of the program were observed, reviewed, and analyzed. This approach included a series of interviews and a focus group discussion that allowed graduates to describe both their program experiences and the potential impact on their understanding of their roles during a national emergency. These experiences were then interpreted through the lens of adult learning theory. The findings suggest graduates must create a new definition of competence based upon their emerging role of supporting others in charge, rather than their previous notion of self-direction. The main conclusions drawn from this study provide preliminary evidence that suggests these adults must construct new meaning for themselves and for their organization in order to make coherent the complex arena of homeland security. Recommendations for further research include a focus on adult knowledge construction and the role of perceived individual and organizational contributions as a means of enhancing perceived adult competence.

ETD Chair

publication date

  • May 2013