Global and Homeland Security

Political Science 582
Spring 2007

This graduate course introduces students to the basic concepts of the subfield of international security and considers the contemporary challenges posed by the potential use of weapons of mass destruction by non-state actors in a globalizing world. We review the evolution of national security politics of the United States after WWII and the development of nuclear deterrence within the context of the Cold War with the Soviet Union as the basis for the development of deterrence theory as the dominant conceptual framework of international security of the latter half of the 20th Century. The course will then consider alternative approaches such as global geopolitics, societal security, human security and environmental security that developed (or were rediscovered) as the changing circumstances of the post-cold war world called into question certain postulates of the deterrence theories associated with the nuclear superpower conflict. The course then analyses in detail emerging transnational threats such as terrorism, the challenges of the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the tensions between economic globalization and the imperatives of homeland security as well as the post-Sept 11th responses focused on reorganizing government with the Department of Homeland Security.