This article joins the growing debate regarding the current and future state of the homeland security affairs discipline. This debate has asked questions about what the discipline should be studying, how those studies should be conducted, and where the discipline should move in the future. I argue that many of these debates have focused on methodology; this is putting the cart before the horse. Homeland security needs to concern itself with questions of ontology and epistemology before it can tackle methodology. I illustrate why these questions are vital and suggest ways in which they may be approached. Ultimately I suggest that the discipline of International Relations offers useful insights here as a disciplinary model as it has self-consciously asked, and answered, these same questions through a series of sustained debates. The article concludes by investigating what a IR-inspired homeland security affairs discipline might look like.
The Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (JHSEM) publishes original, innovative and timely articles describing and assessing research and practice in the fields of homeland security and emergency management. JHSEM promotes a comprehensive and dynamic perspective, providing readers with up-to-date information regarding the evolving nature of the homeland security and emergency management fields.