Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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National Security Law I (Foundations)

Course Abbreviation: 
LWPER 947
Credits: 
3
Credit Only: N Anon Gr: Y

This the first of a two-course sequence.  Students may take this course and later choose to not continue with National Security Law II (Leadership in Crisis Simulation); however, all students wishing to take the National Security Law II must take National Security Law I (Foundations) as a prerequisite.  National Security Law I examines the laws, processes, and institutions relevant to protecting the nation’s security.  The course first examines the critical relationships between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in forming, overseeing, and executing national security policy and operations.  The course then examines the federal government’s authority to use force abroad, including covert and special operations; offensive cyber operations; the government’s authority to collect intelligence and conduct surveillance, both within the U.S. and abroad; the public’s right to obtain national security information and the government’s right to keep secrets; U.S. homeland security law; and legal issues associated with the North American Treaty Organization and the law of the sea.  The course also examines the practical challenges national security lawyers confront in practice.  Persistent themes include the balance between security and liberty, the allocation of authority within and between governments, and the perceived tension between national security and international obligations.  This course is appropriate for any student interested in better understanding some of the most important and even existential issues facing the nation today.  The course is also essential for students with specific career interests in national security or public international law. 

Prerequisites: 
None
Faculty: 
James W. Houck,