NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
POLS 388 (Section: CE1) & POLS 495 (Section: CE1)
Northern Illinois University
Office: ZU 315
Class Meetings: M 6:30-9:15 PM or by appointment
Classroom: NIU-Naperville Center
On-Campus Office Hours: T 11:00 AM-2:00 PM
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. and international security. Terrorism, of course, will be a key focus. We will discuss it as a general issue as well as explore variants, such as the threat of biological agents and cyberterrorism. Other topics will include nuclear proliferation, arms sales, ethnic nationalism and conflict, energy dependency, the recent war in Iraq and the future of warfare, key geopolitical concerns (e.g., China, Russia, Western Europe, and the Middle East), and nontraditional security concerns, such as drug trafficking.
As we examine these many challenges, we will stop to consider several responses. We will discuss and debate issues, such as arms control, national missile defense, how to address a rising China, the best options for dealing with terrorism, and whether the United States is a benign or coercive hegemon.
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 of the leading issues that challenge U.S. policy-makers today. 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, and the mechanics of national security decision-making are featured in other university courses and, therefore, will not consume much of our time. This class is concerned with substantive 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 be also several 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, every good national security student should stay abreast of breaking national security events and decisions by regularly monitoring a newspaper of record and referencing relevant information at appropriate junctures in class. Last, each member of the class will write a policy brief where they defend and advance one of the th! ! ree options presented in the book, A New National Security Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of Mass Destruction, within the context of specific U.S. nationals security issue.
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 participation will be rewarded.
During directed discussions of key U.S. policy debates (see discussion and notations with course schedule below), everyone’s active and thoughtful participation is absolutely essential and expected. At these times I will guide the discussion and highlight key points and concepts, but the vast majority of our time will be spent discussing and dissecting national security policy as a group. Much of the class participation grade (discussed below) will be dependent on students’ performance during these sessions. These class periods may occasionally involve group work and exercises where everyone is expected to play an active role.
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, copies of these readings can be brought to class. Third, some time should be spent prior to class considering any questions or instructions that I may have highlighted at our previous meeting.
Last, regularly monitoring current events related to U.S. national security policy is strongly advised. It will help members of the class to see the connection between the course material and the "real world." It will also provide a way to participate in class discussions. Furthermore, it will provide information that will be helpful in completing the paper assignment.
Three required textbooks are 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 Monday, March 22 and will be worth 25 percent of the course grade. The final exam will be administered on Monday, May 3 during the university’s examination period and be worth 30 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 response short answer questions. Prior to each exam, I will outline the specific exam format, discuss my grading standards, and distribute a study guide.
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 one week's absence), and (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 generally 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. Missing class no more than one class will result in an "A" 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 second absence.
The third course requirement is a short quiz on Lawrence Korb's A New National Strategy for an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of Mass Destruction. The quiz, which will be offered on Monday, March 15, is designed to test one's basic knowledge of the book's thesis, three options, and general contents. You will not be tested on the specifics of Appendix A or Appendix B (pp. 99- 150). The quiz is offered on this date to ensure that everyone has read this book in preparation for the writing assignment (discussed below). The quiz is worth five percent of the final course grade. Please note that there will be no make up quizzes.
The fourth course requirement is policy brief that advocates and expands upon one of the three options presented in Lawrence Korb's A New National Strategy for an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of Mass Destruction. "Expansion," which is the essence of the assignment, will come in the form of selecting a particular U.S. national security threat or issue and thoroughly explaining which of one the three options identified in the Korb book is best suited to address it. Undergraduates will write an eight-page paper. Graduate students will write a 20 to 25 page paper. Graduate students are also allowed and encouraged to move beyond the parameters of this assignment and develop a different and more sophisticated piece of research and analysis. However, the instructor must approve any approach that departs from the policy brief assignment described in this syllabus.
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 at the beginning of class on Monday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. and is worth 25 percent of the final course grade, students should follow the detailed directions provided within this syllabus (see below) and 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 = 30 percent
Participation = 15 percent
Policy Brief (Paper Assignment) = 25 percent
Quiz on Korb Book = 5 percent
COURSE POLICIES AND LOOSE ENDS
1. Makeup Exams: Makeup exams will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. If such circumstances arise, please contact the instructor as soon as possible and before the scheduled exam. To keep the process fair for everyone in the course, students may be asked to support requests for makeup exams with documentation. A missed examination without prior notification and a documented excuse will result in a zero and a course grade of "F" as opposed to an incomplete.
2. Students with Disabilities: Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.
3. Late Assignments: An assignment submitted after the due date will be penalized by a deduction of ten points or one letter grade per day. Since students will have had several weeks to complete their work, this standard will be waived only in extraordinary circumstances.
4. Submitting Written Work: Assignments should be handed-in to me personally or given to a department secretary to be time-stamped. Assignments placed under my office door or sent with a friend tend to disappear at times. If a student selects one of these modes of delivery, he or she does so at their own risk.
5. Extra Credit: Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis to raise final course grades. Like makeup exams, such projects raise serious questions of equity. In the rare event such a project is made available, every member of the class will be given the opportunity to complete it.
6. Handouts: Handouts are a privilege for those students who attend class on a regular basis. No student is entitled to supplemental materials simply because they are registered for the course.
7. Classroom Etiquette: Students are to arrive at class on time. Two tardy arrivals are equivalent to one class absence. Cell phones, pagers, or any electronic devices that make noise must be turned off during class unless the instructor has been notified beforehand of a special circumstance (e.g., sick family member, pregnant wife, special childcare situation, etc.). No one should talk while someone else is talking; this includes comments meant for a classmate rather than the entire group. What may seem like a whisper or a harmless remark to one person can be a distraction to someone else, particularly in a small room. Overall, classroom dialogue and behavior should always be courteous, respectful of others, and consistent with the expectations set forth by the university.
8. Incomplete Requests: Such petitions will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances. The instructor reserves the right to ask for documentation to verify the problem preventing completion of the course by the normal deadlines. If the student does not present documentation from a university office or official, the matter will be left to the instructor’s discretion.
9. Academic Dishonesty: Regarding plagiarism, the NIU Undergraduate Catalog states: "students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university." The above statement encompasses the purchase or use of papers that were written by others. Please note that I retain copies of papers written in previous years. In short, students are advised to do their own work and learn the rules for proper quoting, paraphrasing, and footnoting.
10. Class Participation: I recognize class discussion comes more easily for some people than for others. By temperament or habit, some individuals are "talkers" while others are "listeners." Learning to be both is an important subsidiary goal of this course. Comments that are not relevant to the ongoing discussion and off the point will not be rewarded. Remarks that are disruptive to the discussion, insensitive to others, or attempt to dominate the discussion will not be tolerated. I strongly prefer students to participate on a voluntary basis. If you are particularly apprehensive about talking in class, or feel closed out of the discussion for another reason, please speak with me. There are some things I can suggest that may be helpful. Remember: communication skills and self-confidence are extremely important assets in the professional world. Thus it is better to develop these things in the collegial environment of this class rather than under mor! ! e difficult circumstances later in life.
11. Unannounced Quizzes: The instructor reserves the right to conduct pop quizzes, if it becomes grossly apparent through class discussions that students are not completing the assigned readings on a regular basis. If such quizzes are administered, they will be averaged and used to raise or lower a student’s final course grade by a half a letter grade. Whether a particular student’s grade is adjusted positively or negatively will be dependent on a class average. It will not be done capriciously.
12. Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.
13. Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu
Quiz on Korb Book: March 15
Midterm Exam: March 22
Policy Brief Due: April 19
Final Exam: May 3
COURSE SCHEDULE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
* Reading assignments are to be completed by the appropriate date before arriving at class.
I: BACKGROUND: THE FOUNDATIONS OF U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
Discussion of requirements, expectations, and policies
Explanation of assignments
What is National Security Policy?
No readings assigned.
Defining America’s National Interests
No readings assigned.
National Capabilities: The Tools of Security
Annual Editions, Chapter 35
America’s Global Standing
Annual Editions, Chapters 1, 2, and 3
Discussion & Debate: Is America a Benign or Coercive Hegemon?
National Grand Strategy and Force Structure in the Post-9/11 Era
Korb, pp. 99-139
Annual Editions, Chapter 5
PART II: U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY THREATS AND RESPONSES
Terrorism: The Threat at the Top of America's National Security Agenda
Snow, Chapter 16
Annual Editions, Chapters 24, 25 and 32
Additional Reading on Responses to Terrorism (may be distributed)
Discussion & Debate: How Should America Respond to the Threat of Terrorism?
Recommended (not required): Annual Editions, Chapter 4
New Dimensions of Terrorism: Biological and Cyber Threats
Read Christopher Chyba, "Biological Terrorism, Emerging Diseases, and National Security," Project on World Security, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Go to: http://www.rbf.org/publications/sec.html and scroll down to the appropriate reading and click on "Download PDF."
Read the foreword and summary of recommendations of
Go to: http://www.csis.org/pubs/cyberfor.html
In the second half of class there will a very good in-class video presentation on cyberterrorism and its implications for U.S. national security.
Nuclear Proliferation, Arms Control, & National Missile Defense
Annual Editions, Chapters 37 and 38
Snow, Chapter 11
Discussion & Debate: Should America Pursue National Missile Defense?
No Class - Week of Spring Break
Note: This may be a good week to read Korb, pp. 1-96, which is the focus of the quiz next week.
Russia: Should the United States Still Worry About Its Cold War Rival?
Annual Editions, Chapter 7 and "Russian Weapons" portion of Chapter 33
U.S. Arms Sales: Beneficial or Detrimental to National Security?
Read Chapter 2 (Point/Counterpoint) and Chapter 5 (K Street Crowd) of
Lumpe and Donarski’s on-line book, The Arms Trade Revealed
Go to: http://www.fas.org/asmp/library/publications/revealed.cover.htm
Quiz on Korb Book at the beginning of class today
No assigned readings
Nontraditional Security Concerns: Drug Trafficking
In class there will be a very good video presentation on drug trafficking and its implications for U.S. national security.
Recommended (not required): Snow, Chapter 15 (deals with another nontraditional security threat)
China: The World's Next Superpower?
Annual Editions, Chapter 12
Snow, Chapter 1
Discussion & Debate: Should the United States Contain or Engage China?
Traditional Security Concerns: NATO, Western Europe & Regional Collective Defense
Annual Editions, Chapters 8 and 9
Recommended (not required): Annual Editions, Chapter 10
Ethnic Nationalism and Conflict: An Old Problem in a New Era
Snow, Chapter 5
Deciding When and How to Intervene
Snow, Chapter 7
America’s Energy Security: Maintaining Access to the World’s Oil Supply
Annual Editions, Chapter 29 and Snow, Chapter 14
America and the Middle East: Why Security Interests Trump Democratic Values
Annual Editions, Chapter 13
Recommended (not required): Snow, Chapter 6
Paper assignment is due at the beginning of class.
War in Iraq and U.S. National Security
Annual Editions, Chapter 34
This reading may be replaced or an additional one assigned.
The Future of War
Snow, Chapter 10
GUIDELINES FOR PAPER ASSIGNMENT
Goal and substance of the paper: You are to assume the role of a present-day U.S. national security policy maker. Using Lawrence Korb's A New National Security Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of Mass Destruction, write a persuasive paper (what we will call a policy brief) that defends one of the three options outlined in the book within the context of a contemporary U.S. national security challenge. It is certainly permissible to employ and respond to some of the information provided in the book, such as the advantages, disadvantages, and general arguments associated with the three alternatives. However, simply summarizing and rehashing the book should be avoided. The best approach to take is to use the Korb book as a point of departure for your own independent thinking and presentation.
The key of the assignment is to illustrate through original research, writing, and reasoned argumentation why your selected option (one of the three in the book) is the best approach for the United States to address one particular national security threat or issue. It is your job to select the threat or issue. That one specific threat or issue may be a topic that we have addressed in class or another one of your choosing. Just be sure your selection bears a clear and reasonable connection to contemporary U.S. national security policy. Remember there are many other topics besides terrorism to examine. If you are truly driven to examine terrorism, however, the topic must be narrowed to a specific dimension, actor, region, or method. Do not address terrorism in general.
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: 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 us after class, visit office hours, ask brief questions over e-mail, or submit outlines and research design statements for feedback.
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, 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 meet the stated goal of the assignment and the guidelines (discussed above). Graduate students will be held to higher expectation along each of these dimensions.