Sean Haglund led the Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP), part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), through a tumultuous year to overcome major infrastructure security challenges. In 2022, OBP Associate Director Haglund spearheaded the office’s efforts to implement the National Policy for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the policy that guides our nation to secure the U.S., its allies, partners and interests against IEDs. His leadership has helped the U.S. better prevent, protect against, respond to, and mitigate the use of explosives against critical infrastructure, the private sector, and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial entities.
Haglund skillfully led OBP in 2022 during a time of significant security concerns that included an exponential spike in bomb threats targeting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). More than 30 of the 101 HBCUs received 49 bomb threats in January and February alone. Haglund demonstrated exceptional leadership, creativity, and collaboration while leading the office to develop and implement mitigations to counter the threat and increase resilience. Haglund led the team to assess the threat landscape, coordinate response efforts, host training seminars, tailor products and resources to schools, and provide key capacity-building and preparedness assistance to stakeholders.
More specifically, Haglund led OBP efforts to respond to the threats against HBCUs by:
- Helping lead a bomb threat forum with the Atlanta University Center Consortium, a nonprofit operating on behalf of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College. It is the world’s oldest and largest association of HBCUs. The discussion provided critical guidance for managing bomb threats while keeping students, facility, and staff safe from harm.
- Testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform about OBP’s ability to respond to emerging threats, including providing a vast array of resources that help prevent bomb attacks
- Overseeing the delivery of 27 courses that trained 1,253 people
- Developing a bomb threat plan template for universities, a mass bomb threat awareness job aid, and co-developing a CISA tabletop exercise package
- Publishing a bulletin (called the TRIPwire Awareness Bulletin) that explains how to respond to mass bomb threat campaigns
Haglund drove strategy for a wide range of free, innovative, capacity-building programs that now serve as the prototype for how to prevent, protect against, respond to, and mitigate the use of explosives. For instance, he oversaw OBP’s Counter-IED Training and Awareness e
ffort — a range of internationally accredited trainings in multiple formats delivered to participants from the public, major corporations, and high-profile agencies at all levels of government. OBP trained 18,000 people this year alone, bringing the total number of people OBP has now trained to 150,000 — a remarkable achievement.
Additionally, Haglund helped spearhead the growth of the Bomb-Making Materials Awareness Program, which is laser-focused on preventing IED attacks early, when adversaries try to acquire the necessary materials. This included collaborating closely with the FBI on Operation Flashpoint, an initiative that raises awareness among retailers across the U.S. of the dangers of domestic violent extremists and others purchasing explosive precursor chemicals from stores. The impact: Retailers and people across the nation now know about Operation Flashpoint, including the 8 million people who watched a segment about it on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt earlier this year. Such efforts have led more people to report suspicious activity that can be connected to bombs.
Haglund also led strategic efforts in many other areas. This included development of OBP’s Annual Operating Plan, which guided the office’s activities to increase capacity, speed delivery, use innovation and improve performance. Additionally, in 2022, he helped lead a rewrite of Presidential Policy Directive 17 (PPD-17): Countering IEDs, the policy that guides our nation to counter IEDs and secure the U.S., its allies, partners and interests from IEDs.
Haglund has been the driving force behind OBP’s key efforts to increase preparedness, reduce risk, and ultimately save lives and make the U.S. a more secure country.