National Security Law
Spring Term 2018-2019
2 (2 Contact, 0 Field)
Limited Enrollment - 3rd Year Priority
Full Year Course:
Assignments will include an opportunity to brief the “President” (played by the professor or a guest) on a national security topic of his or her choice. Students will learn practical skills (e.g., research, writing, problem-solving analysis, collaboration, oral communication) in the context of national security law. The course will be participatory, meaning that students are expected to contribute to class discussion each week.
Coursework includes a variety of assessment instruments to encourage and assess student learning and allow students to demonstrate their competency. The assignments are designed to mimic real-life scenarios that national security leaders face, and to help students hone practical skills. Students will be graded based on: (a) class participation (10%); (b) short weekly/biweekly written assignments (during the first part of the semester), asking students to respond to questions about the reading, a hypothetical, or a practice-skill prompt (20%); (c) briefing the “President” and her top national security advisers (during the second part of the semester) (30%); and (d) a take-home final examination (40%).
The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, which famously begins “We the People,” makes clear the high value our founders placed on national security and the role of law. The Preamble describes the Constitution’s very purpose as including “establish[ing] Justice, insur[ing] domestic Tranquility, provid[ing] for the common defence, … and secur[ing] … Liberty.” Today, national security remains a priority responsibility for our federal leaders. Our nation continues to strive for the right balance between security and liberty, mixed with a healthy does of Justice, all in the name of “form[ing] a more perfect Union.”
The Constitution has continued to provide a framework for our government’s exercise of national security powers. At the same time, the field of national security law has witnessed rapid growth and significant change, particularly over the past fifteen years. The coming years will be no less dynamic. This course examines national security law through a study of essential legal sources, historical precedents, and current and emerging national security issues. Topics include: each branch’s role (and limitations) in national security decision-making, war powers and military force, crime and counterterrorism, and the role of information in national security. In addition, each student will have the opportunity to brief the “President” (played by the professor or a guest) on a national security topic of his or her choice. Students will learn practical skills (e.g., research, writing, problem-solving analysis, collaboration, oral communication) in the context of national security law. The course will be participatory, meaning that students are expected to contribute to class discussion each week. Together, we will aim to better understand the role of law in keeping our homeland safe, and the relationship (and necessary balance) between security, liberty, and justice.
National Security Law