National Security Law



This course surveys the framework of domestic and international laws that variously authorize and restrain the pursuit of the U.S. government's national security policies.

This course will be concerned primarily with: 

  1. the use of military force,
  2. the activities of the intelligence community, and
  3. counterterrorism-related activities (including the interrogation, detention, and trial of captured persons).

On successful completion of the course, students should:

  • Understand the sources, foundation and structure of national security law.
  • Recognize the participants in the national security system and understand the constitutional roles given to each participant.
  • Understand how power is shared by the branches of government in an effort to maintain national security.
  • Understand the law as it applies to specific national security issues such as the use of military force, the activities of the intelligence community, and counterterrorism activities.
  • Gain improved critical thinking skills.
  • Enjoy a broader understanding of domestic law and policy.

This course combines a case study approach with an examination of relevant decision-making material such as executive branch legal memos, as well as international treaties such as the Geneva Conventions. It also utilizes realistic exercises that require application of the principles gleaned from the cases and supplementary materials.