top of page

The General & Flag Officer Executive Seminar (GFOS)

GFOS is designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Crisis Leadership specifically for the strategic-level leaders from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and their partners from state and local emergency management agencies. Established emergency management protocols and procedures superbly address most crises; however, this program will bring senior leaders together in an effort to increase the flexibility of their decision-making during novel events. That ability has proven to be critical when faced with unique-scale, unforeseen challenges, and political implications of 21st century emergencies.

The HKS Program on Crisis Leadership seeks to improve society’s capacity to deal with natural disasters, infrastructure, technology, and systems failures, emergent infections diseases, and terrorism. Professors Dutch Leonard and Arn Howitt have researched, studied, and analyzed leaders and organizations facing crisis situations for over a decade. Their book Managing Crises: Responses to Large Scale Emergencies (2009) provides a clear understanding of the different types of disasters governments confront and of the key challenges governments face in preparing for and responding to these events.

                                                                          SEPT 17-20, 2024 GFOS

WHERE: Harvard Kennedy School

WHO: National Guard General Officers ranking O7 and above and for civilians in order to attend would need to meet the O7 equivalent on the GS Scale.

WHY: GFOS will assist in developing leadership skills and organizational capabilities to respond to 21st Century homeland security emergencies. Throughout GFOS, central questions will focus on the strategic level of leadership: What do leaders need to do before a crisis, how do they need to operate during a crisis, and how do they make the greatest possible contribution with the available resources? Reviewing and addressing these prior to real world emergencies equips graduates to promptly respond when most needed.

HOW: Inaction or uncertainty in times of crisis can lead to costly mistakes. Using case studies on major events, GFOS provides participants with knowledge to effectively ground themselves in their roles amidst a crisis to accurately perceive what is occurring and what to do about it, while also creating connections with key stakeholders.

To Attend: For National Guard personnel, we will reach out to you as each state's senior leadership is alloted one seat for a primary and alternate nominee.

For non-national guard counterparts, please email us your full resume at for consideration.

APR 29 - MAY 2, 2025 GFOS Tentative

bottom of page