Accession Number:



Obsessive-Compulsive Homeland Security: Insights from the Neurobiological Security Motivation System

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:

Naval Postgraduate School

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This thesis explores the impact of human neurobiology on the securitization process within the homeland security field. It proposes a model for how activation of the neurobiological security-motivation system can lead to securitization in response to a security speech act. It explores the model by qualitatively analyzing three examples of securitization processes in the homeland security field for security motivation markers the 911 terrorist attacks, Russian social media propaganda, and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This thesis found evidence that security motivation may be having an impact on security-related decisions within the homeland security field through its bias toward compulsive precautionary behavior rather than cognitive reassessment. It recommends 1 further study of security motivation triggers and duration of activation 2 changes in the communication of potential threats by security practitioners and 3 exploration of how trauma-informed practices can protect cognitive capacity and reduce compulsive security-related behavior.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Civil Defense

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]