Homeland security: policy and practice spring 2019


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V450/550/H455 Homeland Security: Policy and Practice

Spring 2019

This Mid-Term Exam is an open note, open book, take-home examination. The reasoning for this approach is three-fold:

  1. Provides appropriate time to carefully research and review the test questions from lecture, assigned readings, current events and your own notes;
  2. Allows for careful consideration and revision of your written work; and
  3. Creates a reality-based approach to written work. Under no circumstances will you ever write a report as part of your future employment in a blue book in 45 minutes.


The exam constitutes 25% of your grade for this course. You are expected and required to do your own work. Exams are due via Canvas on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 11:59 PM.

Absolutely no exceptions.

Late submission is equivalent to missing an in-class exam day.

Please select THREE (3) of the following questions to evaluate for the exam. Please write in a cogent and clear essay format, using strong transitions between paragraphs and themes. Written answers should not exceed two pages per question, Font: 12pt, single-spaced, 1 inch margins, excluding footnotes/endnotes.

The intent of this choice is to allow you to select choices that you feel demonstrate your competence and understanding of that particular topic. Play to your strongest understanding and choose the most appropriate questions based on your interest, comprehension and ability to respond. The expectation will be that you leave no concept, answer or idea unexplained in your analysis. If you use a course term, you need to demonstrate your knowledge of that concept.

All sources must be cited with footnotes/endnotes from original sources. If citing lecture, you must point back to the original source of the data.


Exam questions will be graded against the rubric provided in the syllabus appendix. Before you submit your exam, check your work against the rubric for clarity, logic, grammar, rationale, and completeness.


  1. We have explored the idea that homeland security policy is really about two concepts—the US Department of Homeland Security, and the broader “Homeland Security Enterprise” that includes state, federal, local, and private sector partners among others. Within those two concepts are a variety of statements about what the homeland security mission is. In many ways, both the passage of time, and the particular level of government (state, federal, local) practicing “homeland security” have influenced concepts and frustrated a common understanding of the term “homeland security.” For this question, evaluate the following:
    1. Using the course material, develop your own concept of what homeland security is? Write your own definition, that summarizes your view of what homeland security is, based on the readings, using citation.
    2. Explain your definition of homeland security, using no fewer than five concepts of homeland security (e.g. academic sources, government doctrine, and text book readings) to explain your reasoning. Those may rely upon Bellavita, but not exclusively. Regardless of choice, provide analysis of that choice.
  2. The Emergency Management Cycle has been used as a model to help homeland security practitioners evaluate and manage threats. As Emergency Management (EM) as a discipline pre-dates the creation of Homeland Security by about 40 years, EM provides a certain trailblazing approach to how to manage multiple agencies during a crisis. For this question, evaluate the following:
  3.  a. Create a hypothetical disaster. Define and evaluate each step of the EM cycle against the hypothetical disaster, emergency and/or catastrophe, drawing upon the potential list of hazards discussed in the readings
  4.                        b. Marion et. al. suggest that the EM mission may have been diluted since being added to “homeland security.” Should FEMA be reorganized to assure that the EM model has not been spread too far from its initial mission, and can continue to address all-hazards? Or is the model useful for other disciplines. Explain.
    1. One of the challenges in coordinating all homeland security management activities is managing our national culture and laws, including the relationship among the people, and their governments. This challenge is rooted in our Constitutional federalism—one people with two sovereigns (the state, and the federal governments respectively). During the course, we have discussed classical notions and sources of federalism and how they impact 21st century Homeland Security policymaking. For this question, evaluate the following:
      1. How does federalism affect homeland security and emergency management?
      2.  i.  Identify four examples (from any week thus far), and explain how the concept of federalism impacts how governments respond to disaster or terrorism.
         ii.  Provide an analysis of the benefits and detriments of the federalism relationship for securing the homeland for each example you choose.
    2. Rephrasing the famous quote from Justice Potter Stewart, do we “know terrorism when we see it?” Over the course of the semester, we have evaluated several concepts of what terrorism is and could be. One challenge, according to Schmid, seems to be that there is no consensus definition in the literature. Moreover, federal law varies on what terrorism is. For this question, evaluate the following:
      1. Evaluate four of those ideas from the readings, including the challenges each of them pose for how to either counter their messages or tactics, or how to arrest individuals who practice terrorism.
      2. Use course materials and case studies to defend your choices, above.(Note, this question is not intended to be limited to the Schmid reading–please evaluate a from a variety of authors’ perspectives.)
    3. The evolution of terrorism has mirrored the evolution of social media as a tool to spread information. According to Schmid, this is “terrorism as propaganda.” In a pre-9/11 world, terrorists used to have to send people to radicalize individuals face-to-face. Now, social media provides unlimited means to radicalize people in their own homes. Recent works, like the NCTC indicators, seem to reaffirm the need to minimize the impact of radicalization on “homegrown terrorists.” Using course materials and case studies, answer the following:
      1. What is a homegrown violent extremist?
      2. How is a homegrown violent extremist possibly radicalized?
      3. What limitations are placed on the government to thwart propaganda?
      4. Lastly, provide a recommendation on how the government should counter terrorism propaganda through social networks and social media, based on your own understanding of social media and citing sources  (e.g NCTC) from the course material. Provide justifications for your recommendation.

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