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School of Business’ Center for Infrastructure Protection – Enhancing Research Focus

Dr. Mark Troutman, Director of the Center for Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, School of Business talked to us for a few moments in a Q&A session as the subject of the “Researcher Spotlight” feature. Troutman talks about the Center for Infrastructure and Homeland Security’s current and future projects, as well as opportunities for engagement for School of Business faculty.

What is the Center’s research focus? How would you like the Center’s research to progress in the next several years?

At our Center, we focus on Infrastructure Protection.  Infrastructure comprises those systems that provide essential functions to our everyday lives – systems such as energy, telecommunications, water systems, transportation, finance and others.  Most of these systems are provided by firms in the private sector. An essential focus of our Center is researching the business case for security and resilience within firms. Practical applications of this include business continuity, supply line security and the application of a cost-benefit mindset to investments in security and resilience. For example, at a private firm such as a power company, costs like protection can delete from profits.  Consequently, companies do not want to over invest in protecting infrastructure. We provide applied research and professional education that helps companies anticipate, avoid and recover from disruptions so as to keep infrastructure functioning.  At the same time, this supports efforts by companies to make investments over time to achieve the goal of improved economic security and resilience.

Please describe some of the Center’s most recent initiatives.

We are working on a 5-year engagement with the Department of Homeland Security to create curriculum and create leaders in the industry through master’s degree programs and executive MBA programs here at Mason. Our approach helps corporate leaders understand and address problems in this space that are interdisciplinary and involve complex business – government relationship.  Threats to companies that operate in these industries frequently occur across national borders and involve horizontal and vertical government relationships.  Our research aims to equip C-Level leaders and Board members – particularly those involved in Chief Operations Officer and Chief Security Officer roles – in challenges that are interdisciplinary, international, industry – government, inter-agency and inter – government in nature.

Please describe upcoming initiatives.

We are hosting a conference entitled, “Frontiers in Resilience Symposium: Developing Innovative Resilience Solutions at the Interface of Science, Economics, and Policy,” this May 10 – May 11 with Sandia National Laboratories at the Arlington campus. The Symposium will bring together thought leaders, practitioners, and researchers to give multi-disciplinary, solution-based talks that explore the critical intersection of engineering, policy, and economics as the foundation of resilience. Also, to foster conversations and collaboration toward identifying resilience solutions for our most complex and challenging national security concerns.

What is your approach on research partnerships?

Focus on private sector firms and their challenges, but maintain awareness and involvement with the development of government policy. There is a growing awareness that the solutions to challenges of firms in the critical infrastructure sectors have to be solved by firms as they know their operations the best.  We aim to assist with thought leadership that helps solve those problems.

What do you recommend for new junior faculty to get started on your Center’s work? What paths should they take?

We would love to have more faculty participation, executive education, industry engagements, making presentations, and partnerships. Reciprocally, we would highlight places that they want to showcase their research. We have a monthly publication and we are always looking for contributors and academic articles. To contribute to the CIP Report or for more information, please contact Dr. Troutman at mtroutma@gmu.edu.

About Mark Troutman:

Dr. Mark Troutman joined the joined the Center for Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security as Associate Director in October 2011 following his retirement from the United States Army with the rank of Colonel at the conclusion of 28 years of service. His duties include strategic planning and development for the Center and oversight of daily activity.  He became Director of the Center with its move to the George Mason University School of Business in 2015.

Dr. Troutman’s final military assignment was Deputy Chair of the Economics Department, Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University. In this capacity, he developed and taught executive masters level courses in economics and led seminars focused on study of the defense and financial services industry. An Armor (Operations) officer his career included over twenty years command and planning assignments in the United States, Europe, South Korea and the Middle East. Key assignments include Director, Army, Marine Corps and Missile Defense Export Programs at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Office of Secretary of Defense; Chief of Plans, Multi National Forces-Iraq; and member of an assessment team for transition of leadership to NATO headquarters in Afghanistan.

Mark is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the United States Military Academy. Military education includes School of Advanced Military Studies (US Army Command and General Staff College) and the Army War College (National Security Policy Program). Civilian education includes Master, Public Policy from John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and PhD (Economics), George Mason University.

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Christina Batcheler

Christina Batcheler is a Program Operations & Public Relations Specialist with Research Partnerships & Grants Initiative, School of Business and Center for Assurance Research and Engineering (CARE), Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University. If you are a member of the media, please contact me at: cbatchel@gmu.edu. http://business.gmu.edu/partnerships-grants/ http://care.vse.gmu.edu/ Follow our tweets at: https://twitter.com/masoncyber

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