This paper explores the interplay between theoretical frameworks and homeland security practice, focusing on the challenges of working within complex adaptive systems. Drawing from various disciplinary frameworks and personal experience, the author argues that theories seldom provide clear guidance for prospective actions within complex social systems. Their primary value lies in post-event analysis to understand what went wrong. The author asserts that generating context-specific theories is crucial for navigating the complexities of homeland security. The paper advocates for practitioners and students to learn how to create theory from their work. 


Christopher Bellavita

Christopher Bellavita, D., teaches in the Center for Homeland Defense and Security master’s degree program at the Naval Postgraduate School. He serves as Executive Editor of Homeland Security Affairs. Christopher received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

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No. 3 From Practice to Theory