Loading...

POLSC431: Public Policy Process

Unit 5: National Security Policy   Protecting the American public from foreign and domestic threats is largely the responsibility of the president in his role as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and as well as through such executive branch agencies as the Department of State, which is responsible for the conduct of American diplomacy, and the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for protecting the country against terrorism and helping citizens in times of crisis created by natural disasters, such as hurricanes.  The powers of the president to take the country to war without congressional approval have been challenged in recent decades, stemming from conflict over the Vietnam War, which resulted in the War Powers Act of 1973.  However, through such agencies as the CIA and NSA, the president has been able to conduct covert actions—often without congressional knowledge—although sometimes facing scrutiny, such as in the case of Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra controversy in the mid-1980s.  In a post–Cold War world of increasing foreign threats from such countries as Iran and North Korea, it has been necessary for the American diplomatic core to re-evaluate its mission, to train agents in Arabic instead of Russian, and to develop a more flexible response that balances humanitarian, economic, and geopolitical concerns.  The presence of the U.S. military in continued conflicts overseas and the public revelations of abuses in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay have brought about renewed scrutiny on members of the military and rekindled a long-standing debate about military ethics in wartime.
 
It has also brought about heated debates concerning the role of the press to report on the actions of governments during wartime without endangering the lives of American soldiers.  The need for national security in the wake of 9/11 has inspired actions that range from annoying airport searches to potentially constitutionally questionable aspects of the Patriot Act, which was designed to allow easier information sharing between government agencies in order to prevent future terrorist attacks but a part of which also allowed the government to view library records without a court order in some cases.  Still, the realities of terrorism from foreign and domestic sources has been reaffirmed in attacks since 2001 around the world as well as attempted attacks on the United States in the years since 9/11.  It seems clear that continued vigilance on the part of the government and the military is necessary in order to protect the American people, although some actions of these institutions have been challenged in recent years by public revelations of governments secrets by groups such as Wikileaks, who claim to be reporting on information that the mainstream press is often ignoring because of their close relationship with politicians.  In turn, the government claims that such groups threaten national security and the lives of American citizens and soldiers; thus, this debate is likely to continue.
 
Another debate that has grown since 9/11 and seems likely to continue involves the role of the government in protecting its citizens from such natural disasters as earthquakes and hurricanes as well as in disposing of nuclear waste in a safe manner.  Critiques of the former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) being folded into the new Department of Homeland Security became especially heated in the wake of the government’s failures to coordinate relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  The U.S. government has also faced criticism for failing to create a comprehensive plan for permanently disposing of nuclear waste and for allowing plants to run longer than originally designed, as public concerns in the wake of Three Mile Island have prevented the construction of new plants since the 1970s.  These related concerns have multiplied in the wake of the Japanese nuclear crisis, which grew out of a natural disaster and have forced a re-evaluation of the U.S. government’s disaster preparations.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 5.75 hours to complete. 

☐    Subunit 5.1: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 1.25 hours 

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the studentwill be able to: - Identify vital issues and specific areas of concern for contemporary American policymakers within the broad field of American national security policy. - Identify key actors and agencies involved in national security policy formulation. - Identify the roles of the federal government in providing safety, security, and relief to its citizens in crisis. - Identify and discussdifferent threats to the United States, including domestic and international terrorism, hostile foreign countries, and natural disasters. - Describe various decision frameworks used by policymakers in identifying, formulating, implementing, budgeting, and evaluating national security policy. - Identify key debates in contemporary national security policy as well as the issues at stake and the arguments advanced by each side of the debate. - Explain thecontext, evolution, and linkages between certain national security policies and within the broader context of American political history.

5.1 Foreign Policy: America in a Global Society   5.1.1 Constitutional War Powers   - Lecture: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 2: “War Powers and Covert Action” Link: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 2: “War Powers and Covert Action” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “War Powers and Covert Action” to watch this entire video (approximately 57 minutes) on the roles of the president and Congress in wartime and peacetime.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.2 Foreign Threats to America   - Reading: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “National Security Policy – Foreign Threats” Link: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “National Security Policy – Foreign Threats” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the above PDF from the linked site, and read this entire presentation (11 pages) on foreign countries that threaten the United States.
 
This reading should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.  

5.1.3 Military Ethics in Wartime   - Lecture: Learner.org: Ethics in America: Episode 6: “Under Orders, Under Fire (Part 1)” Link: Learner.org: Ethics in America: Episode 6: “Under Orders, Under Fire (Part 1)” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “Under Orders, Under Fire (Part 1)” to watch this entire video (approximately 58 minutes), in which panel participants discuss military ethics.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 Homeland Security: The American Response to Terrorism   5.2.1 National Security and Government Secrecy   - Lecture: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 8: “National Security and Freedom of the Press” Link: Learner.org: The Constitution: That Delicate Balance: Episode 8: “National Security and Freedom of the Press” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “National Security and Freedom of the Press” to watch this entire video (approximately 57 minutes) on the role of the press in reporting on national security matters.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.2 Civil Liberties and Homeland Security   - Lecture: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “National Security Policy – Domestic Threats” Link: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “National Security Policy – Domestic Threats” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above,  locate the above PDF from the linked page, and read this entire presentation (5 pages) on domestic threats to American national security.

 This lecture should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.  
     
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

5.2.3 The Press and the Public’s Right to Know   - Lecture: Learner.org: Ethics in America II: Episode 2: “War Stories: National Security & the News” Link: Learner.org: Ethics in America II: Episode 2: “War Stories: National Security & the News” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next to “War Stories: National Security and the News” to watch this entire video (approximately 57 minutes), in which the participants discuss ethics relating to the war on terror.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 Emergency Preparedness: Natural Disaster Relief and Nuclear Power in America   5.3.1 Earthquakes and Emergency Preparedness   - Lecture: Learner.org: Earth Revealed: Episode 9: “Earthquakes” and Episode 25: “Living with the Earth (Part 1)” Links: Learner.org: Earth Revealed: Episode 9: “Earthquakes” and Episode 25: “Living with the Earth (Part 1)” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and select the VoD icon next each episode to watch it (approximately 29 minutes per video).  These videos discuss the government’s role in providing disaster relief.
 
Viewing these videos should take approximately 1 hour to complete.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.3.2 Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Waste Disposal   - Reading: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “Models of Public Policy Decision Making” Link: MIT: Fundamentals of Public Policy: “Models of Public Policy Decision Making” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the above PDF from the linked page, and read this entire presentation (11 pages), which discusses the public policy issues surrounding nuclear energy.
 
This lecture should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.