Summer 2020

Comprehensive Exam Questions

Please answer five of the eight questions

The exam consists of eight broad questions covering various aspects of Homeland Security and associated topics during your tenure here in our program. You are to answer five of the seven questions. The first three are required and then choose two more. We designed the exam to give you the flexibility to write extensively on those aspects of Homeland Security you find most interesting, pressing, worrisome, etc. The expectation is that your response to each question will be original, well written, grammatically correct, cogent, relevant, and worthy of the effort that you and your faculty put into the program. You may use any text or reference you used while in the program, any sourced material must be properly cited (APA format). The evaluation rubric is included with the exam.

R1 (Required) Thoroughly explain the relationship between civil liberties and domestic security in the American tradition.  Based upon your understanding of the competing needs of security versus civil liberties, Describe how we maintain the appropriate balance on is one subordinate to the other? Utilizing the resources available to you, state and defend your position on this complex issue. ( In other words – take a stand and support this stand with citation and rhetoric)

Civil liberties granted to Americans have increased over the past centuries such as expanding them to women and minorities, but with the rising need of strong domestic security, our civil liberties have become more restrained in the past two decades. Civil liberties and domestic security are two important and necessary aspects in the U.S. but tend to conflict with one another as one tends to be affected negatively as the other becomes stronger. Within a democratic society, there is a necessary balance to be made of these two areas which also responds appropriately with modern concerns. Although we have had these civil liberties included in the ten amendments, the right to exercise them have been limited numerous times in our country’s history. Civil liberties have also been expanded to women and minorities through blood, sweat, and tears along with millions who advocated for civil rights, women’s rights and union’s rights. From this tremendous effort to fight for these rights, a devotion to keep these rights from being taken away has been developed. This has caused for domestic security policies desired to be put in place which may constrain civil liberties, to be dealt with high sensitivity and long debates before they are implemented. When determining which is subordinate to the other, there is a case for both sides, but I would argue that civil liberties are subordinate to domestic security. There is evidence of this shown after 9/11 with the swift passing of the PATRIOT ACT. This Act clearly had large constraints on civil liberties, but due to the attacks, the American people were calling for a quick and strong response which allowed to the Act being passed in less than _____ when an Act of that stature would normally take ____ long to be debated and implemented.

R2 (Required) Thoroughly explain the traditional level of cooperation among federal, State, and Local agencies for domestic security, national preparedness, and disaster response.  How have these agencies transformed their traditional models in response to the challenges that have developed and what must these organizations do to remain relevant in the future?

Most Americans weren’t focused on national security in the 1990s, but many government entities, researchers, and think tanks were then developing plans based on perceived future threats. For example, on May 22, 1998, President Clinton issued Presidential Directive 62 (Protection Against Unconventional Threats to the Homeland and Americans Overseas) and Presidential Directive 63 (Critical Infrastructure Protection), which many view as preliminary plans for a Department of Homeland Security. There was also the Gilmore Commission in 1999 and the Hart-Rudman Task Force in 2001. Thus, the concept of Homeland Security was developing not so much as a bureaucratic response to attacks and disasters, but as bureaucratic policy development focused on changing the federal bureaucracy to meet future attacks.

In short, policy experts identified issues of national security import (e.g., terrorist attacks) and recommended a plan for addressing them (the National Homeland Security Agency), but public interest never galvanized sufficiently to force congressional implementation. That would all change on 9/11, but even so, no definitive definition of homeland security has emerged.

R3 (Required) Discuss the evolution of homeland security from a policy perspective, encompassing post-9/11 iterative development of organizational and mission frameworks to address man-made disasters (e.g., terrorist acts), natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina), and both (all hazards). How has the concept of homeland security changed, and how has that effected organizational changes at the federal level? Are these changes the result of policy decisions or after-the-fact reaction to catastrophic events, i.e., has the national approach to homeland security essentially been proactive or reactive?

Choose two of the following:

  1. In instances of criminal or terrorist activities involving computers, explain in detail the processes that are required to gather and maintain chain of custody of evidence. Please include the legal steps which must be taken in order to create or gather this evidence in addition to the physical processes that are required.
  2. What are the grounds for a nation taking preemptive action to counter the potential of a terrorist strike? How is this decision supported or justified on moral / ethical grounds? Does the justification have more to do with might (power) of is it based in the right to self-defense / self-preservation?  Does this apply to all levels of response from a drone strike to boots on the ground?  Who should be responsible for making these decisions? Defend your answers.
  3. Define Terrorism in the classic and modern sense, utilizing the references you have available. Based upon your understanding of these definitions, describe the differences, if any, between global, transnational and domestic terrorism. Describe the motivations given for involvement in terrorism on an individual, sub-group, and a nation/state level. Utilizing these ideas give your position on the role that terrorism is going to play in shaping America in the future.
  4. Describe in detail the leadership skills necessary to lead at the federal or state level at a homeland security agency including ethical / moral dilemmas that are likely to arise.
  5. Understanding that Homeland Security consists of 22 separate organizations how do you foster a like-minded supportive culture as opposed to the current contentious and competitive culture that has been the history of these organizations?

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