The course examines the concept of U.S. homeland security in the context of recent history. It provides an overview of the nature of threats and major vulnerabilities that are the focus of homeland security efforts. The course surveys the principal actors engaged in the homeland security enterprise. It describes the evolution of institutions, networks, and organizational relationships that have emerged to accomplish the various homeland security missions and functions. The course analyzes current homeland security policy issues and discusses the future of the homeland security enterprise.
The course emphasizes counterterrorism efforts as they relate to homeland security. As such, it concentrates on the ways and means to prevent and protect against terrorist attacks and other threats to the U.S. homeland, including naturally occurring ones. It does not stress anti-terrorism measures, which include efforts to understand and influence the root causes of terrorism and to diminish the perceived value of terrorism as a political tool. These areas are covered in other School of Public Policy courses on terrorism, U.S. foreign policy, and national and global security.