Skip Navigation

Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD516 Course ID: 4489 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course is provides an understanding of the structure of homeland security law and policy. This course will familiarize students with the extensive and complex legal codes that come under the heading of Homeland Security. The course will cover statutes, policy papers, presidential directives, and other documents related to homeland security allowing for an in-depth examination of the foundations of homeland security. The course will provide the student with important legal guidance allowing the student to accurately interpret, understand, and apply homeland security law and policy. The course provides a detailed overview of the subject of homeland security and includes definitions of homeland security, terrorism, the related law, and its development. The course discusses homeland security in other countries as well i.e. Europe, China, Japan.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/28/20 - 06/04/21 06/07/21 - 08/01/21 Spring 2021 Session D 8 Week session
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
02/22/21 - 07/30/21 08/02/21 - 09/26/21 Summer 2021 Session I 8 Week session
04/26/21 - 10/01/21 10/04/21 - 11/28/21 Fall 2021 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After completing this course the student will be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of certain major historical events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrine in the development of homeland security law and policy
  • Explain and discuss the sources of homeland security law and policy
  • Analyze the various statutes, policy papers, presidential directives, and other documents related to homeland security
  • Formulate and evaluate legal arguments based on primary and secondary sources
  • Evaluate the threat that terrorism poses as related to other threats
  • Create a conceptual understanding of homeland security law and policy, and the foundation and framework of homeland security
  • Assess the role that the government, whether it is state, local, tribal, or federal, plays in our protection
  • Analyze homeland security law and policy in relation to our Nation’s infrastructure
  • Apply homeland security law and procedures within various vignettes presented
  • Evaluate current issues in the news or proposed legislation in light of existing law and policy
  • Plan and develop an extensive research paper, case note, or position paper covering an aspect of homeland security law and policy of interest

Forum Participation: 40%

This class is a forum-centric class meaning that there are no exams or quizzes. Instead, the class will focus on forum-based activities.

In the forums, you will be asked to apply the legal concepts from our readings to fictitious situations. The readings include a variety of legal sources including statutes, cases, agency policies as well as scholarly articles called law review articles. Moreover, I have assigned several readings from a textbook that provides you with a good overview of many of the Homeland Security Law concepts and controversies that you will confront in the forums. You can locate the required reading materials in this class if you click on the Lessons tab. Also, I will post a series of supplemental readings in the forum and announcement sections of the class dealing with new cases or news stories over the course of the semester.

During Weeks 2, 3, and 4, you will confront a series of fictitious situations called cases. The fictitious situations in the forums raise several Homeland Security Law issues. For example, in Week 2, you will confront a situation dealing with government surveillance of individual computer use of citizens of the United States by a United States government agency. Based on your last name, you will be assigned to play the role of a decision-maker, stakeholder or interested party and then you will either defend the existing government policy, criticize the existing policy, or propose alternatives based on the character that you are tasked to represent in the forums for Week #2.

Let me provide you with a concrete example of how the Forum for Week#2 would work. First, you will read the fictitious case, and you would read the assigned readings. Before engaging in the discussion in the forums, you will submit a short-written policy proposal, criticism, or defense of the government policy in question depending upon your assigned role via the assignment tab. This write-up should be a summary of your main arguments in support of your position and you should base your written submissions, in large part, upon the legal sources that I have provided for you.

The case method found in Weeks 2, 3, and 4, derives from the method of instruction used by Harvard Business School and many other graduate and law schools across the United States. By asking you to apply concepts from the readings and to play the role of a specific decision-maker, Weeks 2, 3, and 4 ask you to see the perspectives of different decision-makers, stakeholders, and interested parties.

In Weeks 5, 6, and 7, we will engage in structured debates on several Homeland Security Law issues ripped from the headlines. As explained in the syllabus, I have assigned each of you to one of four teams based on the letter of your last name. For example, during Week#5, Team #1 will debate Team #2 regarding whether airport security should use profiling as a tool to combat terrorism. Before engaging in the forum debate, every student on one of the two teams debating will submit his or her written argument in the form of a one or two-page submission via the Assignment Portal. The two remaining teams will then serve as the judges for this debate, and the members of the other two teams are responsible for not only evaluating the arguments made by the debating teams but also must ask members of the teams that are debating several follow-up questions. At the end of the week, the students who are serving as judges will submit their written evaluation of the debate and vote for the winner of the debate based on their evaluation of a series of criteria that I will discuss later in the class.

During Week #6, Team #3 will debate Team#4, and the other two teams will serve as judges. Then, during Week #7, the team that won the debate in Week #5 will debate the team that won the debate in Week#6, and the two teams that lost the debates will serve as the judges. The members of the team that win Week#7’s debate will each earn three points of extra-credit added to their final grades. But, don’t worry, the members of the teams that lost the debates will also have an opportunity for extra credit.

I will evaluate each of you on the quality of your submissions as well as your participation in the forums each week.

As you can see, questions and topics posed in the Forums are designed to promote thought and insight. Students must provide a critical review of the questions, topics and issues posed and substantively reply to the contributions of at least three peers. And remember that I will ask each of you a series of follow-up questions and you are required to answer my questions. Individual postings should include a full discussion of the content of the question posed and explain how it relates to the concepts in the weekly text readings and other resources. The postings should be analytic in nature and include comparisons/contrasts, and examples that can bolster your point. The Forum is for your benefit and it is important to respond to the discussion topic and to engage others in a running dialogue.

Your initial post should be made by Wednesday each week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. Note that at least one response to your classmates must be made before Sunday. If you make all of your responsive posts on Sunday, you will not earn full points for timeliness.

This can be accomplished by

· Validating with additional evidence from the literature.

· Posing a thoughtful question with commentary which generates further discussion.

· Providing an alternative point-of-view, with evidence and examples.

· Offering additional insight into how the concept might be understood, with evidence provided with real world examples.

You should be active in the classroom throughout the week and actively engaged in the back-and-forth discussion between your colleagues and the professor.

The forum grading rubric can be found in gradebook by clicking on the forum entry.

Written Submissions Based on Forum Activities: 30% of Grade

During the three weeks of case analysis, you will submit a short position paper prior to participating in the forums. You can reuse all or part of the position papers that you write related to the three weeks of case analysis as your initial forum posts during Weeks 2, 3, and 4. During the three weeks of debating, you will either submit your position paper or an evaluation of the debate. If you are on a debating team, you should submit your position paper no later than Wednesday. If you are on the evaluation team, you should submit your individual evaluation form no later than Monday morning following the debate. Each of your six written submissions linked to the forum activities count for 5% of your grade.

Paper Based Activities: 30% of Grade

In addition to the forum activities, each of you will write a 5-page paper. Your paper will address of the one of the many topics discussed in the forums. You can elect to write either a position paper, a case note, or a traditional research style paper. I will provide more description of the difference between these three types of papers later in the class. You will be required to submit your paper’s topic along with your tentative sources in the forum during Week#3. Additionally, you will be asked to post your outline during Week #4 and first draft of your paper during Week #7 in the forums for critique and review by your peers. While your rough draft will not be graded, you are strongly encouraged to post your rough draft in the forums. Your final paper is due on the last day of the class and you should post your final draft in the forum and submit your final draft via the assignment portal.

For the research paper, students will be graded using a Rubric. This will help with understanding what constitutes the grade assigned to each paper.

Exams: 0% of Grade

There are no exams in this class.

NameGrade %
Introduction 1.00 %
Introduction Forum 1.00 %
Forum Participation 39.00 %
Week #1 Forum 4.88 %
Week #2 Forum 4.88 %
Week #3 Forum 4.88 %
Week #4 Forum 4.88 %
Week #5 Forum 4.88 %
Week #6 Forum 4.88 %
Week #7 Forum 4.88 %
Week #8 Forum 4.88 %
Case Writeups 15.00 %
Week #2 Position Paper 5.00 %
Week#3 Position Paper 5.00 %
Week #4 Position Paper 5.00 %
Debate Position Papers/Evaluations 15.00 %
Week #5 Position Paper or Evaluation 5.00 %
Week #6 Position Paper or Evaluation 5.00 %
Week #7 Position Paper or Evaluation 5.00 %
Paper 30.00 %
Paper Topic-Week #3 3.00 %
Paper Outline-Week #4 4.50 %
First Draft-Week #7 0.00 %
Final Paper 22.50 %
Winning Team Debate 2.00 %
Winning Team Debate 2.00 %
Week#8 Extra-Credit 1.50 %
Extra-Credit Forum 1.50 %

Required Course e-book:

Jane A. Bullock, et al., Homeland Security: The Essentials (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2013).

You can locate these readings via the Lessons section of this class under Reading and Resources.

Course handouts, policy decisions/statutes, and case law will also be required reading and found in the “Lessons” folder for each week’s assigned and suggested reading. Additionally, you should review each week’s Lesson notes for tips.

Not Required but recommended: The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass'n et. al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).

Helpful Websites: Throughout the class, you should keep abreast on the latest developments in Homeland Security Law.

Below you will find a list of some helpful websites that you should review throughout the semester to keep abreast of the latest developments in Homeland Security Law:

Homeland Security Website:

Homeland Security Affairs:

Lawfare Blog:

Homeland Security Newswire:

Book Title:Homeland Security: The Essentials (E-book available through the APUS Online Library)
Publication Info:Butterworth-Heinemann
Author:Jane A. Bullock, George D. Haddow and Damon P. Coppola
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.