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Homeland & National Security Law LL.M. Course Descriptions

Advance your expertise in homeland & national security law with an LL.M. from WMU-Cooley Law School. Learn more about the required and elective courses below:

Required Courses

Surveys the laws of Homeland Security. Reviews the statutes, executive orders and regulations as well as the theory, practice, and challenges for securing the American Homeland against terrorist attack and major natural disasters, with an equal emphasis on prevention and counter-terrorism and on response. Explores the statutes in the emerging field of homeland security law enacted post-September 11, 2001, including airline security, border security, critical infrastructure, and weapons of mass destruction.

Assesses the laws of nations through a comparative analysis perspective, looking at how homeland security is accomplished in nations other than the United States. Students will develop an understanding of the framework, policies and laws, the constitutional and other powers under which other countries operate to prevent and to respond to terror and other threats. Prerequisite: Homeland Security I. 

Examines the competing conceptions and definitions of terrorism at the national and international level and the institutions and processes designed to execute the war on terrorism. Explores the balance between security and liberty policies in the U.S. Patriot Act, the use of military tribunals or civil courts, the use of assassination or targeted killings, and the emerging law on enemy combatants and their detention, and the arguable need for new self-defense doctrines at the global level. Considers the separation of powers in national security matters, presidential war powers, congressional and presidential emergency powers, the domestic effect of international law, the use of military force in international relations, investigating national security threats, the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts, access to national security information in the federal courts, and restraints on disclosing and publishing national security information. 

This course addresses the legal aspects of the U.S. government’s “war” on terrorism. It focuses on the crimes and special approaches to criminal procedure (including bases for extended detention and special rules of investigation) as well as consideration for how they may differ from much of ordinary criminal process. Problems of legality, constitutionality, application and the appropriateness of using particular policy approaches are addressed. The main emphasis is on U.S. domestic criminal law, not on the use of international adjudicative process or international agencies. The course plays off of the tension between a criminal or law enforcement approach, on the one hand, and wartime, military basis, on the other. Prerequisites: National Security I and Homeland Security I.



Elective Courses

Students will understand the unique applications of the Fourth Amendment to the Department of Homeland Security, a conglomerate of many different law enforcement agencies with both administrative and criminal enforcement functions. Students will survey Homeland Security enforcement functions in the context of the Fourth Amendment’s enshrined protections. The course will focus on the mission of the US Border Patrol. Whether on land, sea, or air, Congress and the courts have carved out unique Fourth Amendment standards for the Border Patrol and other DHS law enforcement agencies. Students will analyze how these Fourth Amendment exceptions have created a different balance between US Government operations and Fourth Amendment rights. Paper.

Each student researches and explores a specific constitutional issue arising from homeland and national security. Topics will be approved by the professor and each student will research, write, and submit a paper and present it in class. That paper will serve as a preliminary draft of their thesis. Prerequisites: National Security I, Homeland Security I and National Security II [concurrent enrollment acceptable for National Security II].

Seminar discussing the legal issues arising from the most current threats to the health, welfare, or safety of the United States domestically or from threats confronting the government agencies charged with protection of the US from domestic terrorist attacks.

Provides an opportunity for Master's students to submit a proposal for Directed Study project to the Academic Director. Generally requires 15-20 pages of a written project for each credit hour earned.  

This course will focus on training students to understand and identify legal challenges in an evolving legal landscape. This course will generally focus in five main areas: 1) understanding laws and FAA regulations regarding small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) operations; 2) understanding civil litigation matters concerning that authority; 3) identifying criminal consequences related to sUAS activity; 4) exploring the legalities of law enforcement’s use of sUAS; and 5) understanding Congress’ recent counter-UAS statute. Students in the course will not only learn the history of sUAS legal matters but also chart a bold new course for legally justifiable sUAS operations in support of homeland security. No exam.

Survey of legal issues concerning cyberspace, on-line services, internet transactions and activities including free speech, intellectual property infringement, jurisdiction, computer crimes, information security and privacy issues.

This course introduces students to the current practices of emergency management and the legal authorities and policies on which they are based. The legislative framework and organizational relationships of the states and the federal emergency management system will be discussed and contrasted at length. An analysis of past disasters will be presented by the students along with their impacts on law and policy formation leading up to the current FEMA all-hazards approach. Using this case study approach, students will then apply the legal and policy issues of previous disasters and events to potential future events. No exam.

Offers students the opportunity to practice homeland and national security law in a supervised setting. Master’s students can complete tasks assigned by their attorney supervisors, with their learning guided by a WMU-Cooley faculty member. Students must apply and be approved for externship placements and all sites must be pre-approved.

Government contracts differ widely from private contracts. The principles of contract law have been amended by federal law and regulation to create a unique subset of contract law which is used not just by the federal government but by many state and local governments and corporations as well. Students will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of Federal Government Contracting Law, including federal appropriations, acquisition, the budgeting cycle, contract formation and modification, defaults, remedies, and termination.

Students will assist in the publication of articles of timely, practical, legal analysis related to homeland, national security law (including veterans issues), and policy. Prerequisites: Homeland Security Law I, II, or National Security Law, and Scholarly Writing. 
6219 - ASSOCIATE EDITOR (1 cr.) 

The course is designed to provide practical considerations of immigration and nationality law. The course will be scenario based, constructed using readily accessible case law and immigration authorities. The student will be required to advocate for or against a particular immigration issue. The course will address issues of removal and deportation, relief from removal, foreign policy considerations and current trends in U.S. Immigration law. All students are required to provide responses to exercises and participate in the discussion. Some additional readings may be assigned during the course and materials or sources for such readings will be available online or provided.

Considers the role of the attorney as counsel to an intelligence agency. Surveys the development of intelligence law from the creation of CIA in 1947, through the Cold War, to the current War on Terrorism. It will look at the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and more recent efforts to strengthen intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the inaccurate intelligence on Iraq, both administratively and with passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Considers whether the threat of international and domestic terrorism is intelligence or law enforcement or military problem and the propriety and legality of coercive interrogations, preemptive incarcerations, and intrusive surveillance in a constitutional democracy. Prerequisite: Homeland Security I.

The Law of Armed Conflict is the embodiment of the signatory nations’ (the “High Contracting Parties”) to the Geneva Conventions commitment to educate and train their military on, and to disseminate the substance of, the Conventions, as widely as possible. Students will learn the treaties, court decisions and customary law which comprise the laws of armed conflict, or international humanitarian law. Students will analyze the origin and application of the laws which protects combatants, persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities, and that restricts the means and methods of warfare. Topics will include targeting, detention, rules of engagement, the reestablishment of law and order, and lawful weapons and tactics. 

Explores enforcement of criminal statutes against unlawful activity involving the Internet, computers and other forms of high technology. Examines the legal process required to seize electronic records such as e-mail or web-surfing logs. Considers if there is meaningful privacy in e-commerce. Analyzes Fourth Amendment application to records stored in the online world.

Students research and write on a topic selected by the student and approved by the Program Director. Paper must be publishable quality. 

Considers the military lawyer’s role and function in the United States military establishment focusing on the Army Judge General’s Corps as the model for all services. Examines the organization and operation of the military court structure and its relationship with commanders. Emphasizes military criminal and disciplinary law, claims and tort liability, and administrative law. Covers legal assistance services, international affairs and law, litigation and real estate matters. Students must complete a supplemental 10-15 page double-spaced paper, or equivalent project, to earn LL.M. credit.

Law of Domestic Military Operations differs from National Security Law or Homeland Security Law as it involves the identification, analysis and resolution of legal issues arising from the use of military forces within the continental United States either in the Homeland Defense mission or in response to civilian authorities, applying assistance in the prevention of, or response to, domestic terror, natural disaster or industrial events.

Explores the policy, strategy and practical application of critical infrastructure protection and resilience from an all-hazards perspective. Describes the strategic context presented by the 21st century risk environment, as well as the challenges and opportunities associated with infrastructure related public-private partnerships, information-sharing, risk analysis and prioritization, risk mitigation, performance metrics, program management, incident management, and investing for the future. Prerequisite: Homeland Security I.

Provides an in depth analysis of information privacy law including an individual’s right to control his or her personal information held by others. The focus of the course is to understand how emerging laws seek to protect information privacy as new technologies and institutional practices emerge. The course examines the development of the right to information privacy through Constitutional law, tort law, and emerging modern statutory law. The course will examine controversies involving domestic surveillance, identification systems, social networking sites, video surveillance, databases, record systems and identity theft. The course also considers the impact of the European privacy directive, the growth of the Internet, and the availability of privacy enhancing technologies on the future of privacy law in the United States. 

Includes training in advanced research, the use of authority and proper citation form, the principles of legal writing, and the basics of editing. Each student will write a case note or comment during the term.

Explores the laws impacting US veterans, the federal administrative process by which claims are processed, the types of claims most commonly raised, and the relevant regulatory, statutory and case law.