The Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS)

Managing Disruption and Violence (MDV) Program

The Managing Disruption and Violence (MDV) M.A. Program provides the practical persuasive communication principles, concepts, and processes needed by organizations to address the challenges of disruptive or violent behavior from external groups.  Graduates of this program will be proficient in the practical skills needed to develop and manage successful persuasive communication programs needed by organizations such as:

  • National security departments and agencies
  • Homeland security agencies
  • Major law enforcement organizations
  • Government and commercial consulting/contracting companies
  • Commercial corporations
  • Advocacy groups

Integrated Risk Value © methodology

The methodology taught to achieve this complex problem solving is the Integrated Risk Value © methodology. At a basic level, the goal of most organizational communications is to persuade people to adopt a desired behavior. What makes these communications different is based on “who” you are, “whom” you are messaging to, and “why” you are messaging to them. Depending on how these three aspects are situationally defined, the dynamics, understanding, applications and consequences can differ tremendously despite the intersection of many common terms, concepts and disciplines. Integrated Risk Value (IRV) methodology focuses on organizations that are communicating to external audiences who are potentially or actively participating in disruptive or violent behavior. The components of IRV methodology are:


Planning, Understanding and Measurement:

Developing and measuring the effectiveness of group communication strategies, whether your own or evaluating your competitor’s, requires a holistic, integrated approach. Multidisciplinary methods are required to provide the insights needed to understand and measure the many influences that can impact a group’s perceptions, which in turn drives their behavior.  These methods, insights and influences are inextricably linked, just as are actions and words. One cannot define or measure an approach by looking only at some of the parts, but only by understanding the relative whole. IRV methodology provides an integrated approach to everything from strategic development and messaging to audience understanding and Measurements of Effectiveness.

Net Effect Messaging:

The larger your organization is, the more diverse, separated and specialized its internal sub-organizations and roles become. These internal sub-organizations often see themselves as independent from each other and focus only on achieving their specific role as efficiently as they can. Often lost is that external groups do not see this separation, and form their perceptions based on the larger organization as a whole. It is essential in the planning and execution of a communication strategy to measure what the “net effect messaging” is of the organization’s different actions and words on the desired group’s perceptions and behavior. This assessment must be integrated at the outset in the organization’s strategic planning development in order to provide a predictably successful “net effect messaging” effort. Leaving the messaging planning as an annex to be developed after the overall strategic development, or worse yet, having no integrated messaging planning at all, leaves the organization highly vulnerable to ineffective, conflicted, or unintended results. In persuading a group, it is often more important how what you do is perceived than it is what you do. The best intentions do not overcome poor audience perceptions. IRV methodology includes processes and assessments on how to plan and manage large organization “net effect messaging.”

Risk Value:

It is critically important to understand what causal factors drive a group’s behavior in order to communicate effectively with them. Otherwise you will likely not connect with nor persuade them. The higher on the behavior consequence vector of the below figure that an external group operates, the more likely it is that their perceptions and causal factors are entirely different than those of your organization. What makes sense to and works for your organization and its supporters will not necessarily make sense to or be accepted by the external group or their supporters. What drives the causal factors behind the behaviors of external groups in this operational space are both how and with what intensity they perceive values and risk. A high value issue will require little risk or benefit perception in order to drive action.  A high risk or benefit perception attached to a low intensity value will also drive behavior. The most critical areas are where high intensity values and high intensity risks intersect. The ability to create predictably successful communication strategies with these audiences is dependent on understanding what these drivers are and how to apply successful approaches to them. Risk Value analytics is a core competency IRV methodology.

Kevin McCarty, M.A.

Risk Perception:

How and with what intensity a group perceives risk is a key driver in their behavior. There are many different risk factors that can drive behavior. Key to persuasive communication is knowing what factors are driving the issue and how to address them.  Risk Perception is a peer reviewed research area based on the work of Dr. Paul Slovic of the University of Oregon and other peer reviewed sources. IRV methodology will familiarize the student with this field and the practical application of it to making predictably successful communication strategies.


Human values tend to be cross-cultural in a general sense, however the priority and intensity with which they are held depends greatly on the experience and culture of the group. In today’s world of disappearing borders and the ease of exchange of information, groups are becoming more and more defined and grouped by their values and perceptions than by traditional demographics such as gender, age, ethnicity and location. Being able to see how a high value group perceives values and how different it is from your organization is critical to understanding and developing successful strategies. Learning and evaluating the differing methods to assess these core value perceptions and how to apply predictably successful strategies is essential to IRV methodology.

Kevin McCarty, M.A.

Program Chair

Kevin McCarty served under Presidents Obama and Bush at the National Security Council Staff as the Director for Global Outreach, where he was responsible for the coordination across government of what was known as the “War of Ideas” to counter terrorism. Prior to that he served at the Central Intelligence Agency and as an E-2C Naval Flight Officer. His service in the Navy consisted of many carrier and detached deployments around the world supporting many missions including no-fly zones, contingency, multi-national exercises and counter-drug operations. He served as a squadron Commanding Officer, a Joint Service Officer and is a TOPGUN graduate.