Alan D. Cohn
Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Planning, Analysis & Risk, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Adjunct Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor of Law
B.A., Columbia; J.D., Georgetown
Professor Cohn is Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Planning, Analysis & Risk at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In that role, he leads a...Continue Reading
Professor Cohn is Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Planning, Analysis & Risk at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In that role, he leads a diverse, multi-disciplinary team formed when the functions of the former Office of Risk Management and Analysis were integrated into DHS Policy's Office of Strategic Plans. Professor Cohn previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and head of DHS Policy's Office of Strategic Plans from 2008-2012, and as Director of Emergency Preparedness & Response Policy from 2006-2007. Professor Cohn led the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), a year-long strategic review of homeland security involving over 500 subject matter experts that resulted in the QHSR Report (2010) and the FY2012-2016 DHS Strategic Plan, documents that guide DHS's overall approach to investments. Professor Cohn represents DHS on National Security Staff interagency policy committees and on major strategy reviews such as the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Beyond Goldwater-Nichols 4, and the Project on National Security Reform. He has been a member of the career Senior Executive Service since 2007. Professor Cohn also has extensive client service experience through eight years of law practice prior to government service, working as an associate and counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C. from 2000-2006, and an associate at Littler Mendelson, P.C. from 1997-1999. Professor Cohn was an emergency medical technician in New York City and Colorado from 1990-1994, a FEMA Disaster Assistance Employee from 1995-2006, and a Planning Officer on the Fairfax County Urban Search & Rescue Task Force from 1998-2006. He responded to the 2005 hurricane season, the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Professor Cohn has taught a seminar on domestic preparedness law and policy at Georgetown Law since 2006. He authored a legal casebook based on the materials developed for this seminar, Domestic Preparedness: Law, Policy, and National Security (Carolina Academic Press 2012), and is a regular guest speaker and panelist. In 2012, Professor Cohn began co-teaching a class on national security crisis law with Professor Laura Donohue. National security crisis law teaches students interagency process, intelligence oversight, terrorism investigations, domestic incident management, cyber security, transborder security, and bioterrorism, and culminates in a multi-day simulation that tests students' ability to apply national security legal and policy principles during crisis.