Advisory Board

Dr. Paula D. Gordon

Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D. is an educator, writer, analyst, researcher, speaker, consultant, and independent contractor. She has taught at many institutions including the California State University System, the George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Richmond. Her current teaching includes the Auburn University Center for Governmental Services and Eastern Kentucky University. Visit her websites at,,, and Her newest website,, includes a two part copy of her dissertation, “Public Administration in the Public Interest” and a newly updated piece entitled “Wishes for the Family of Humankind”. The latter is also posted on the newly launched Global Futures Intelligence Systems website of The Millennium Project in the Global Ethics section at
Dr. Gordon has taught a wide variety of courses at many different institutions of higher learning throughout the nation. Topics have included Homeland Security Policy; Leadership in Challenging and Catastrophic Situations; Planning and Preparedness for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Post 9/11 and Post Katrina; Some Key Challenges Facing Homeland Security and Emergency Management Post 9–11 and Post Katrina; Critical Infrastructure; Management and Organizational Behavior; Leading Organizational Change; Women and Leadership; Organization Development Theory; Policy and Complex Global Challenges; Marketing and Business Ethics; Public Administration; Public Policy Analysis; Management Decisions: Tools and Judgment; Organization, Management, and Leadership; Managerial Communication; Strategic Planning; Project Management; Group Dynamics; Unleashing Creativity; Problem Solving; and Organizational Health; and Service-Oriented Marketing and Business Practices.
She has also led workshops, served as a presenter, or participated as a panelist in programs on ethics, values, and the public service. Her work in that arena has included the development of “The Ethics Map” that describes three different kinds of behavior that can be found in the public service: the ideal behavior that promotes the public good, value-neutral behavior, and behavior that is immoral and reflects an absence of a moral compass. She served as a presenter at the Transatlantic Workshop on Ethics and Integrity in 2007 in Adelphi, Maryland and has served as a workshop instructor, panelist, or presenter at the Federal Executive Institute (Charlottesville, Virginia), the Federal Executive Seminar Center (Oak Ridge, Tennessee), the Training Bureau of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Western Management Development Center and the Eastern Management Development Center of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and at national conferences of the American Society for Public Administration. Her work on “The Ethics Map” was also used in workshops conducted by the Department of Justice nationwide for local level administrators. She has also served as a presenter at programs and workshops on a variety of topics at The Naval War College, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, Brookings Institution, and the Lexington Institute.
Dr. Gordon’s Ph.D. in Public Administration is from American University in Washington, DC and her BA and MA degrees are from the University of California at Berkeley in the fields of Speech and Public Administration respectively. She completed course work in a second Ph.D. in Educational Policy Planning and Administration at the Graduate School of Education, University of California at Berkeley.
Her areas of focus in her graduate programs included leadership behavior and theory, including the development of a metamotivational theory of leadership based on the theories of Abraham Maslow; governmental management; organizational theory and development; policy analysis and implementation; and political philosophy. Her dissertation, “Public Administration in the Public Interest”, described a new paradigm of public administration that includes an emphasis on the role that American government and public administration should play in addressing complex societal problems and challenges. It is posted at in two parts. Her thesis is that it is the obligation of those serving in government to act in the public interest in accordance with the “mission statement” of the nation as it is expressed in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. In her dissertation, she further defines “acting in the public interest” as acting in such a way as to maximize the values of life, health, and freedom. She believes that this definition of acting in the public interest was the definition that informed the efforts of the Founding Fathers. Acting in a way that maximize these values is seen as a way that government can help create and sustain a society in which the highest individual as well as societal potentials and aspirations can be realized for the greater good of individuals as well as humankind in general.
She has served in a variety of roles in the Federal government and in the private sector. She founded and served as president of a nonprofit organization focused on drug abuse prevention and early intervention. That organization was based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has also served as a consultant and contractor, staff officer, troubleshooter, program and policy analyst, comparative scenario analyst, and director of special projects in a wide range of Federal agencies and Departments. In her various roles in the Federal government, she has coordinated intergovernmental, interagency, and interagency efforts in a broad range of issues areas, including drug abuse prevention (National Institute of Mental Health), energy (the US Federal Energy Office and Federal Energy Administration during the energy crisis of 1974), research utilization (the Research Applied to National Needs Program of the National Science Foundation), and education (on behalf of the US Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations for the Department of Education).
In the field of substance abuse prevention, Dr. Gordon has published articles in professional journals, including articles on the resolution of the controversy surrounding the effects of marijuana; the role that schools can play in addressing the problem of drug taking behavior among youth; constructive alternatives to drug-taking behavior; and recommendations for policies and programs that can be implemented in schools, communities, and in the criminal justice system. Her “Guide to Drug Abuse Programs and Policies” was distributed by the U.S. Office of Education. A majority of her publications and papers in the drug abuse prevention field can be found at . Her writing on the harmfulness of marijuana and other psychoactive, mood altering substances is also posted there.
She was an early advocate for the implementation of justice system-based intervention, education, and rehabilitation programs for drug law offenders and her efforts resulted in the implementation of some conferences on drug abuse prevention and intervention held by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs of the Department of Justice. Her recommendation to establish an office in the Executive Office of the President to coordinate Federal drug abuse prevention efforts played a key role in the creation of the White House Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP). SAODAP was a precursor to what is now the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). She also assisted the Minority Counsel of the Senate Government Operations Committee in working on the legislation that established SAODAP.
Dr. Gordon served as a staff officer and troubleshooter at the Federal Energy Office/Federal Energy Administration during the energy crisis of 1974 and played an instrumental role in bringing about an early resolution of the Independent Truckers’ Strike.
She was selected as a Department of Health, Education, & Welfare (HEW) Fellow and served a year in the Regional Office of HEW in Chicago (1976–1977).
Dr. Gordon ran for Congress in the 7th Congressional District of California in 1978. She received key support at the local, state, and national levels, including some major San Francisco Bay Area newspapers and some key state and national figures, including two now past Presidents.
At the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she served as a Schedule C appointee and carried out public liaison and policy analyst roles in variety of issue areas relating to the environment, environmental health, and agency Superfund responsibilities.
From mid-1998 through the year 2000, she played a role in influencing the scope and direction of national and global Y2K efforts, including national preparedness efforts. She wrote an extensive and widely circulated White Paper on major national and global initiatives needed to address the Year 2000 technology challenges. The White Paper is entitled: “A Call to Action: National and Global Implications of the Year 2000 and Embedded Systems Crisis”. Her recommendation to establish Peace Corps-type efforts to provide technical assistance to address Y2K challenges worldwide was picked up and acted upon by the United Nations. Archived material that she wrote on Y2K-related challenges can be found at
Since September 11, 2001, her efforts have been directed toward homeland security concerns. She has established a website at as a public service. The website is intended to serve as a free resource for policymakers and implementers, analysts, administrators, and managers. It is also intended to serve as a resource for educators, researchers, students, the media, and the general public. This website features reports, publications, articles, presentations, an extensive list of references and resources, and other material relating to homeland security and emergency management. An updated list of references and resources of over one hundred pages can be found at The content of the website has also been incorporated into the Homeland Security Digital Library at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Dr. Gordon’s current concerns include a focus on enhancing and building the skills and capabilities of those in roles of public responsibility and preparing to enter roles of public responsibility so that they will be in the best possible position to organize effectively and advance national homeland security and emergency management efforts. She feels that there is a great need for bridging the “cultural divide” that too often weakens the effectiveness of those engaged in homeland security and emergency management endeavors.
A particular area of concern is the current status of educational efforts in the fields of homeland security and defense and emergency management. She has developed and teaches three of the five courses offered in a Certificate Program by the Auburn University Center for Governmental Services. She is concerned about the widely differing perspectives that can be found regarding an all-hazards approach to homeland security and emergency management. She advocates education and training efforts that focus on a comprehensive all-hazards approach to emergency management and homeland security. Such an approach would encompass emergencies of all kinds and all levels of severity, including worst case catastrophes.
Selected works by Dr. Gordon in the fields of homeland security and emergency management include the following Comparative Scenario and Options Analysis: Important Tools for Agents of Change Post 9/11 and Post Hurricane Katrina, Improving Homeland Security & Critical Infrastructure Protection and Continuity Efforts, The Different Nature of Terrorism and Terrorist Threats Post 9/11 and the Implications of These Differences, The Homeland Security Impact Scale: An Alternative Approach to Assessing Homeland Security, Capabilities and Skills Needed by Those in New Roles of Responsibility for Homeland Security at the State and Local Levels of Government, and Some Conceptual Tools for Understanding and Addressing Catastrophic Challenges As Well As Other Lesser Emergencies. Her most recent paper is entitled “The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Their Implications for the U.S.” It appeared in The Journal of Physical Security, Volume 6(1), 2012, and is accessible online at
Dr. Gordon also worked for over a year doing secondary research on the subject of cancer research. A grant for this work made it possible for her to travel to many different places in the world, talking with researchers, attending conferences and symposia, and also giving presentations. The results of her work is a theory of carcinogenesis and anticarcinogenesis, the essence of which is that carcinogenesis can be best described as being “variations on themes that are themselves varied”, words borrowed from John Cage’s writings. The role that the immune system plays in the carcinogenic and anticarcinogenic processes is highlighted in her theory. An overview of this theory can be found at A next step with regard to this area of interest is to collaborate with a computer graphics design expert to develop a way to depict in a dynamic visual form a variety of the “variations on themes that are themselves varied” that are identified in her theory.
Dr. Gordon is also interested in developing an initiative that would highlight the efforts of Salman Khan (the Khan Academy) and others who are currently revolutionizing accessibility to educational resources to all in the world who wish to learn.
She is based in Washington, DC. Her LinkedIn address is