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Jeffrey S. McLeod


Director, Homeland Security and Public Safety Division, NGA Center, National Governors Association, Adjunct Professor of Law

B.A., University of Michigan; J.D., University of Pittsburgh; M.S. Carnegie Mellon

Jeff McLeod directs the Homeland Security & Public Safety (HSPS) Division at the National Governors Association (NGA). Founded in 1908, NGA is the bipartisan organization...

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Jeff McLeod directs the Homeland Security & Public Safety (HSPS) Division at the National Governors Association (NGA). Founded in 1908, NGA is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, speak with a collective voice on national policy, and develop innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism. 

The HSPS Division supports governors and their staff in developing data-driven, evidence-based solutions to states’ most critical public safety challenges. Areas of focus for the division include homeland security, cybersecurity, emergency management, "smart states" and technology transformation, criminal justice and public safety, opioid abuse, public health preparedness, and crisis communications. Through policy academies, learning labs, and other initiatives, Professor McLeod and his team support governors’ senior advisors—including cabinet secretaries, legal counsel, and policy staff—with strategic planning and policy implementation. In addition to consultative support, the division produces reports, white papers, webinars, and other resources providing guidance to states and the broader field on best practices and state innovations in public policy. 

In coordination with NGA’s Office of Government Relations, the HSPS Division supports the Council of Governors—created by Congress and formally established by Executive Order in 2010—which serves as a mechanism for governors and key federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense, and defense support to civil authorities. Recently, the HSPS Division spearheaded former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s NGA Chair's initiative, Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge. Through the initiative, NGA helped states develop strategies for strengthening cybersecurity practices as they relate to state IT networks, health care, education, safety, energy, transportation, critical infrastructure, economic development and workforce. In collaboration with NGA’s Health Division, the HSPS Division assisted executive-level teams from 13 states in developing comprehensive action plans for addressing the opioid epidemic. Outcomes of the policy academies included passage of state legislation, public awareness campaigns, cross-agency and regional initiatives, and new partnerships with universities and the private sector. 

Professor McLeod serves on the boards of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice Global Advisory Committee, and Cure Violence. He has testified before the United States Congress and state legislative bodies, and his writing has been published in the University of Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, the University of Pittsburgh Law Review, as well as The Hill, Government Technology, and other media outlets.

He graduated with highest distinction from Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College and served as Lead Executive Editor of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.

Before joining NGA, Professor McLeod worked in private practice. 

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