POLITICAL SCIENCE 388: U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
Northern Illinois University
Section 1: T, TH 11:00 AM -12:15 PM (DU 252)
Contact Information for Dr. Jones
Office: ZU 415
Office Hours: T, TH 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM or by appointment
Contact Information for Course Assistant:
Office: DU 476
Office Hours: To be announced by 9/1/06
This survey course in contemporary U.S. national security policy has two basic objectives. Its primary goal is to provide a solid and fairly broad introduction to the concepts, issues, and debates related to this important area of public policy. The first portion of the course will address essential background information, such as national interests, national capabilities, America’s global standing, the impact of September 11, 2001, and national strategy and force structure.
The second and larger portion of the course will focus on a range of real and potential threats to U.S. national security. Terrorism, of course, will be a key focus. We will discuss it as a general issue as well as explore variants, including suicide terrorism and the potential use of "dirty bombs." Other topics will include nuclear proliferation, ethnic and religious conflict, foreign energy dependency, and key geopolitical concerns (e.g., China, Russia, Western Europe, and the Middle East). We will give special attention to Iraq.
As we examine these many challenges, we will stop to consider several responses. For example, we will discuss whether arms control or national missile defense constitutes a more prudent answer to the spread of nuclear weapons. We will also analyze the best options for addressing terrorism. In addition, the class will debate whether the United States should contain or engage a rising China. Last, other national security responses that will receive our attention include military intervention, collective defense and security, and how to cope with America’s addiction to foreign sources of oil.
Given the time constraints of this course, our treatment of national security policy must be selective. There are clearly additional subjects that could be included in each part of the course. The choice of topics is designed to demonstrate the diverse nature of security policy as well as identify many (but not all) of the leading issues that challenge contemporary U.S. policy-makers. In particular, the course draws a clear distinction between foreign policy and security policy, placing emphasis on real threats to the safety and survival of the United States. Furthermore, military history, weapons systems, intelligence, national security bureaucracies, the mechanics of national security decision-making, and certain regions (e.g., Southeast Asia, Latin America, etc.) are featured in other university courses and, therefore, will not be our focus. This class is largely concerned with substantive U.S. national security policy issues and responses.
The second course objective is to have some fun putting ourselves in the shoes of national security policy-makers without sharing their ulcers, perhaps with the added benefit of preparing just a bit for a career in public service. We will accomplish this goal in a number of ways. For instance, lecture material will often raise questions where students will be asked to consider which policy direction is most beneficial to the United States now or in the future. There will also be a number of "discussion and debate" class periods where we will probe a particular issue in depth and actively discuss, as a group, the merits of various U.S. policy options. In addition, everyone should stay on top of breaking national security events and decisions by regularly monitoring a high quality newspaper and referencing relevant information at appropriate junctures in class. Last, each member of the class will assume the role of a national security practitioner and write a paper dealing with a future security crisis or challenge.
PREREQUISITE AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This is a fairly challenging 300-level course designed primarily for POLS majors and minors with a strong interest in international politics. Students should hold a junior or senior class standing. This is a prerequisite. It is strongly recommended POLS 285 or a solid introductory international relations course at another institution be completed before enrolling in this course. Non-majors and POLS majors who have not completed this coursework are welcome, but should consider themselves warned about these recommendations. Everyone enrolled in the class should have a serious interest in current U.S. national security policy and a willingness to work hard.
Good security policy students keep up with breaking events. Staying informed allows one to make better sense of the instructor's examples and other students' comments as well as participate in class. Monitoring the news will also help students draw linkages between the course material and the "real world." News articles will provide examples that can be referenced on examinations to highlight class concepts or in a paper to make a reasoned argument. Moreover, current events can be brought into class discussions, particularly on "discussion and debate" days. While once can draw on articles from papers like the Chicago Tribune or Christian Science Monitor, the two best sources for news developments related to U.S. national security policy are the following.
Washington Post (Click on http://www.washingtonpost.com (Click on "Nation," "World" and "Politics." Under "Nation" click on "National Security."
New York Times (Click on "U.S.," "World" and "Washington")
Unless the syllabus indicates it is a "debate and discussion" day, each class period will have a lecture component. However, students are welcome and encouraged to interrupt me to ask questions or make comments about the material. Also members of the class should be prepared to answer the many questions that I will regularly pose concerning a particular day’s material, a past class, a current event, or the assigned readings (which are to be completed before class). Regular and thoughtful participation will be rewarded.
For class meetings devoted to the discussion and debate of U.S. policy options, everyone’s active and thoughtful participation is absolutely essential and expected. During these sessions I will guide the class discussion and highlight key concepts and points when appropriate, but the vast majority of our time will be spent discussing and dissecting U.S. national security policy as a group. A good portion of the class participation grade (discussed below) will be dependent on students’ performance during these sessions. At times, these class periods may involve group work and exercises.
To ensure the quality of these class periods, everyone is expected to do three things. First, all assigned readings on the issue under discussion should be read carefully before class. Second, there will be relevant reading material from the previous class or two that should be reviewed. Copies of these readings should be brought to class as reference material for discussion and group exercises. Third, some time should be spent prior to class considering any questions or guidelines that the instructor may have highlighted at the previous meeting.
There are two required textbooks available for purchase at the university bookstore. I have made a conscious effort to keep the material as affordable and update-to-date as possible. Therefore, the books are recently published paperback editions. To be successful in this course, I strongly encourage students to have personal copies of each of the following books:
The first requirement is written examinations. The midterm exam is scheduled for Tuesday, October 17 and will be worth 25 percent of the course grade. The final exam will be administered on Tuesday, December 12 during the university’s examination period and be worth 25 percent of the final course grade. Both examinations must be completed to pass the course. Each test will be composed of a variety of written identification and short answer questions. Prior to each exam, I will outline the specific exam format, discuss my grading standards, and distribute a study guide. An optional outside review sessions will be offered for students who wish such assistance.
The second course requirement is participation. Components of this grade include (a) regular and thoughtful participation in class lectures and discussions, (b) regular attendance (no more than three absences), (c) regular and thoughtful engagement on class days designated as "discussion and debate." Failure to fulfill any one these expectations satisfactorily or any additional assignment will significantly reduce the participation grade, which is worth 15 percent of the final course grade.
In general, relevant in-class participation (a and c) will be evaluated according to the following scale (with plus and minus grades being possible):
A = regular and thoughtful participation
B = occasional and thoughtful participation
C = regular attendance, but little or no participation
D = less than regular attendance
F = little or no attendance
Attendance is taken each class session. At the end of the semester, the total number of class meetings is divided into the number of times a student was present. The resulting percentage is then converted to a letter grade. Specifically, it counts for one-third of the participation grade with in-class participation (discussed above) accounting for the remaining two-thirds. Missing class no more than two or three times will result in an "A" range grade for this portion of the participation grade. Please note that a half letter grade deduction will be taken from the overall course participation grade (not just the attendance grade) for each class missed after the fifth absence.
The third course requirement is a quiz on Chapter 3 of Snow's National Security for a New Era on "The American Experience." The chapter provides important information that each student should be exposed to, but it is a subject that does not necessarily warrant an entire class period. Thus one way to ensure that everyone gives its attention is to have a straightforward, short answer quiz of about 15-20 questions. The quiz will be designed to test one's basic knowledge of the chapter's central concepts. It will be held on Tuesday, November 7 and be worth five percent of the course. Please note that there will be no make up quizzes unless there are serious and legitimate extenuating circumstances supported by documentation.
The fourth course requirement is a small number (approximately five) quizzes on the assigned readings in the Annual Editions book. These quizzes will be unannounced and distributed randomly throughout the semester. They will normally consist of about five questions and test one's basic understanding of the central arguments and facts from a selected reading from the Annual Editions book that was assigned for that day. On occasion, these quizzes may ask students to draw basic linkages between a reading and a previously discussed concept or two from lecture. The grades from the number of administered pop quizzes will be averaged and the resulting grade will count toward 10 percent of the final course grade. Regardless of the number of quizzes administered, students will be allowed to drop their lowest individual quiz grade. Please note that there are no make up pop quizzes. Missed quizzes count as zeros, but remember one missed quiz can be dropped under the policy outlined in the previous sentence.
Last, one task many national security policy practitioners, particularly midlevel bureaucrats, confront is the need to look at current realities and trends, think in worst case scenarios, and forecast the "next" major national security challenge or crisis. The fifth course requirement is a seven-page paper that identifies a possible future national security challenge or crisis. (The paper should not exceed 10 pages.) "Future" is not defined in days or months, but rather by a five, 10, 15, 20, or even 25-year period. Besides fully explaining why this challenge or crisis is likely to emerge and what U.S. interests it affects, the paper should present a persuasive and well-supported argument for why it merits U.S. attention, resources, and/or policy adjustments today. Although it should not be the paper’s central focus or consume tremendous space, the paper should also conclude with some suggestions for actions that the United States could pursue today to avoid the threat or lessen the severity of its consequences.
Unlike the exams, one is not required to complete the paper to pass the course, but failure to submit it will result in a grade of zero percent. To complete this assignment, which is due Tuesday, November 21 at the beginning of class and is worth 20 percent of the final course grade, students should follow the detailed directions provided at the end of this syllabus and the guidelines offered on the first day of class.
The midterm examination, final examination, and quiz will be scored on a 0 to 100 percent scale and assigned a corresponding letter grade (with plus and minus designations included when appropriate). For the paper and participation, letter grades will be awarded. In computing the final course grade, these two components will count as follows: A = 95, A- = 91, B+ = 88, B = 85, B- =81, C+ = 78, C = 75, C- = 71, D+ = 68, D = 65, D- = 61, and F = 0.
SUMMARY OF GRADED REQUIREMENTS
Midterm Examination = 25 percent
Final Examination = 25 percent
Participation = 15 percent
Paper = 20 percent
Quiz (Snow, Ch. 3) = 5 percent
Reading Quizzes = 10 percent
COURSE POLICIES AND LOOSE ENDS
Midterm Exam: October 17
Quiz on Snow, Chapter 3 November 7
Paper Due: November 21
Final Exam: December 12
COURSE SCHEDULE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
* Reading assignments are to be completed by the appropriate date before arriving at class.
Discussion of requirements, expectations, and policies
Explanation of assignments
What is National Security Policy?
Snow, "Introduction" pp. 1-12 (recommended, but not required)
I: BACKGROUND: THE FOUNDATIONS OF NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
Defining America’s National Interests
Snow, Chapter 2
National Capabilities: The Tools of Security
Snow, pp. 177-181 only
Annual Editions, Article 23
America’s Global Standing
Snow, pp. 134 (bottom)–139 only
Annual Editions, Articles 2 and 4
Discussion & Debate: America Hegemony
Snow, "The American Role in the New World System," pp. 36-45 only
Annual Editions, Article 5
Topic and Readings to Be Announced
The instructor must attend a retreat of department chairs. The course assistant will continue the discussion started on September 12, deliver a class on the tension between national security and civil liberties in the post-9/11 era, or deliver a guest lecture on his area of specialization, Indonesia.
National Strategy in the Post-9/11 Era
Review National Security Strategy of the United States of America
PDF version (Need Acrobat Reader):
Note: There is a 2006 National Security Strategy document, which I will reference in class. However, please read the more important 2002 document for class.
Annual Editions, Article 1
National Grand Strategy & Force Structure: A Mismatch between Means & Ends?
Snow, pp. 229-242 only
PART II: NATIONAL SECURITY THREATS AND RESPONSES
Nuclear Proliferation and Challenges to Arms Control
Annual Editions, Article 34
Annual Editions, Article 27 (recommended, but not required)
Nuclear Proliferation and National Missile Defense
Snow, pp. 218-229 only
Annual Editions, Article 28
Discussion & Debate: National Missile Defense
Reading(s) will be announced in class before this date.
Terrorism: America's New Global War
Annual Editions, Article 30
Snow, pp. 273-284 only
Policy-Making Dilemmas & War on Terrorism
Snow, pp. 284-292 only
An additional reading may be assigned in class before this date.
Discussion & Debate: How Should America Respond to Terrorism?
Snow, pp. 292-302
Annual Editions, Article 26
This date was selected so that there is a graded assessment prior to the university’s withdrawal deadline (October 20).
Terrorists and the Threat of "Dirty Bombs"
No readings (a break after the midterm exam)
HBO Film: "Dirty War" (first part)
Discussion & Debate: Terrorists and the Threat of "Dirty Bombs"
HBO Film: "Dirty War" (second part) followed by discussion
China: The World's Next Superpower?
Annual Editions, Article 19
Snow, "Amplification 12.1" on p. 337
Discussion & Debate: Should America Contain or Engage China?
(First portion of class)
If time permits (and we are on schedule):
Russia: Must America Still Worry about its Cold War Rival?
Annual Editions, Articles 6 and 7
NATO and Regional Collective Defense
NATO grew out of the cold war and now must adapt to its absence. Read Snow’s Chapter 4 to understand the organization’s origins and its old and new challenges.
NATO's Transformation & New Challenges
Annual Editions, Article 8
Quiz on Snow, Chapter 3 "The American Experience"
Ethnic and Religious Conflict: An Old Problem in a New Era
Snow, 308-314 only
Annual Editions, Article 14
Deciding When and How to Intervene
Annual Editions, Articles 13 and 15
America’s Energy Security: Maintaining Access to the World’s Oil Supply
Snow, pp. 148-149 only
Annual Editions, Article 24
U.S. National Security Interests and the Middle East
(including recent developments related to Iran, Israel, and Lebanon)
Annual Editions, Article 33
Paper due at the beginning of class.
Snow, Amplification 6.1, pp. 164-165
Thanksgiving – No Class
Iraq: How Did We Get There?
Annual Editions, Article 31
Discussion & Debate: Iraq – Where Do We Go Now?
Annual Editions, Article 32
Iraq, the Revolution in Military Affairs, and the Changing Face of War
Snow, Chapter 9
Snow, Chapter 13
Final Examination: 10:00 AM - 11:50 AM in DU 252
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
Consult the three pages of web site listings on pages xv-xvii of Annual Editions: American Foreign Policy 06/07 (one of the two required texts for the course). Some of the best sites are on these pages and are not repeated below. However, these additional web sites may prove useful. Students may consult these web sites and others for their papers, but must include material beyond web sources, such as journal articles, books, government reports, and so forth.
Almanac of Policy Issues - Foreign Affairs and National Security
Brookings Institution: Foreign Policy Studies
Center for Defense Information
Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute for International Studies
Congressional Research Service Reports - Military and National Security
Foreign Policy Association
Foreign Policy In Focus
National Security Archive, The George Washington University (Historical Documents)
Target Iraq, GlobalSecurity.org
University of Michigan Documents Center
U.S. Congress, House, Armed Services Committee
U.S. Congress, House, International Relations Committee
U.S. Congress, Senate, Armed Services Committee
U.S. Congress, Senate, Foreign Relations Committee
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Institute for Peace
Where to Find Military Information
GUIDELINES AND ASSISTANCE FOR RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENT
Do your own work: Please do not make the mistake of using or borrowing some or all of a student's paper from last year. Papers from last year are on file and are based on a different assignment. Nonetheless, the course assistant will be checking work submitted this year against work that was submitted last year. Also do not waste your time or money buying a paper from a web site or another source. This assignment was designed especially for this particular course. To earn a good grade the guidelines (below) must be followed. A purchased paper will not meet these guidelines. The keys to success are start early, follow the directions, do careful work, and ask for help when you need it.
Goal and substance of the paper: One task many national security policy practitioners, particularly midlevel bureaucrats, confront is the need to look at current realities and trends, think in worst case scenarios, and forecast the "next" major national security challenge or crisis. You are to assume the role of a present-day U.S. national security policy maker and write a seven-page paper that identifies a future national security challenge or crisis. "Future" is not defined in days or months or by the current war on terrorism or military action in Iraq. Rather it should be tied to a five, 10, 15, 20, or even 25-year period.
Through research, writing and reasoned argumentation, the paper should accomplish three central tasks. Referencing current realities, facts and trends, the presentation should fully and logically explain why this challenge or crisis will emerge within the paper's specified time period. In addition, the paper should make clear what U.S. interests are at stake. In other words, why should the United States care? Why might this future crisis or challenge merit finite U.S. governmental attention, resources, and/or policy adjustments today? These tasks should be the central focus of the paper. Last, the paper does not have to offer a comprehensive policy response, proposal or strategy, but the conclusion should offer some suggestions on actions the United States can take before the crisis or challenge emerges that might serve to eliminate the threat or reduce the severity of its consequences. This last item is the conclusion rather than the essence or body of the paper.
It is each student's job to select the threat or issue. Just be sure the selection bears a clear and reasonable connection to U.S. national security policy. Use current trends coupled with creativity to arrive at a compelling topic. For instance, what if there is another catastrophic attack on U.S. soil? What if the Saudi monarchy falls to militant Islamic fundamentalists? What if China attacks Taiwan or North Korea attacks South Korea? What if a nuclear Pakistan and a nuclear India go to war over Kashmir? What if Iran becomes a nuclear weapons state? Could there be a war over a resource, such as water? What if terrorists attack the U.S. food supply? What if the United States leaves Afghanistan or Iraq in defeat? What if the Taliban regains control of Afghanistan? What if Iraq becomes gripped by civil war? What if European states reject NATO as their principal collective defense organization? What if China emerges as a superpower? What if U.S. hegemony ends? These are merely examples. There are many possibilities. Students are encouraged to think beyond Iraq and terrorism that dominate today's headlines. Are there issues and relationships that are being under-emphasized or neglected today that could jeopardize U.S. national security interests in the future?
National security policy by its nature is a pessimistic endeavor; and the approach discussed above is probably the most manageable direction to take. For students with a more optimistic bent, however, it is acceptable to base the paper on a future development that may have more positive impact on U.S. security interests if current facts, trends, and realities warrant such a conclusion. For instance, what if the insurgency is quelled in Iraq and democracy (in a Middle Eastern sense) takes hold? What if al-Qaeda is eliminated? What if a Palestinian state is established? What if a current state with nuclear weapons or an interest in the development follows Libya's recent example? What if China or Russia became a full-fledged democracy? Again, these are merely examples for the purpose of illustration. There are many possibilities.
Students are welcome to discuss their topics with the instructor or course assistant, and may be asked to announce their paper focus during a class session.
Format and presentation: The final paper should be properly presented and assembled. Be sure it conforms to the following guidelines:
Research and Documentation: The final paper should be carefully and properly documented.
Quality Writing and Structure: The final paper should be well written in formal English.
Writing Assistance: For writing assistance, please consult with the University’s Writing Center in one of the following ways.
Research and Substantive Assistance: Students are welcome to consult with the instructor as often as they wish about their paper's topic, source material, or substance. Please feel free to talk to me after class, visit office hours, ask brief questions over e-mail, or submit outlines and research design statements for feedback. The course assistant is also available to help you.
Submitting the Paper: Be sure to submit two copies of the final paper at the proper time on the posted due date. Keep a photocopy and computer disk copy of the paper. Students are responsible for supplying an additional copy should the instructor request it.
Paper Grades: The main criteria to be used in evaluating the paper will be the caliber of research, understanding of subject, quality of analysis and argumentation, quality of writing and overall presentation, degree of independent thinking, and the use of evidence and reasoning to reach meaningful conclusions. It goes without saying that the paper must fully meet the stated goal of the assignment and the guidelines (discussed above).