CJUS 380

Position Paper: Topic Ideas

What is an acceptable “issue” for purposes of this assignment? It is something fundamental in the institution and/or application of Homeland Security. It is an issue that falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is consistent with the learning objectives of this course. The issue you choose will be something that addresses or assesses a threat to the security of the Homeland. It is a philosophical, legal, tactical, or spiritual principle that supports one more or policy elements or otherwise influences Homeland Security Operations.

Some GOOD topic ideas are (just suggestions):

1. Immigration policy should place highest priority on security (The threat is to [1] health, [2] economy, [3] social stability, [4] cultural homogeneity, [5] the election process, [6] destruction of all social "safety net" programs that so many Americans rely on. )

2. Executive Orders are NOT constitutional and may threaten the balance of power in government (The threat is to the constitutional foundations of self-governance and the balance of power.)

3. Technology should be employed in anti-terrorism policy and practice (the threat is to personal liberty).

4. Building codes and zoning laws should be made and enforced at the federal level (If that were to happen, the threat would be to [1] balance of power and self-governance, and [2] local autonomy, and [3] corruption of the process of managing growth in every municipality.)

5. Islam is not a religion, but a political system, thus not constitutionally protected (the threat lies in failure to understand that Islam is a political system that is incompatible with our constitution)

6. Using U.S. military overseas for anti-terrorism efforts is an effective policy (The threat lies in becoming over-extended, or creating more ill-will between the U.S. and out allies).

7. The USA Patriot Act violates fundamental constitutional principles (the threat is to the balance of power between the people and the government).These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking. Every one of these topics describes a threat to our national identity and/or our national security. Contact the instructor if you have a question about a topic.

Some BAD (or weak) topic ideas are:

1. We need better communications to help stop terrorism (this an "operational" consideration which can be solved without government management or interference. It is also largely a matter of the private sector being able to meet a market need)

2. We need more money to fund counter-terror operations.  A dangerous proposition because people already are predisposed to believe that any problem can be solved by throwing more federal (taxpayer) dollars at it.  Furthermore, the more "government" spends money on something, the less efficient it  becomes (as a rule).

3. Hurricane Katrina was a failure of federal government policy/practice. (Hurricane Katrina is a great example of failed government at every level.  But again, that is an "operational" set of issues that can be (and mostly HAVE BEEN) solved by following the post-operational debriefings and  following those recommendations.   NOT an "issue" of continuing National Security.)

4. Chemical/biological weapons should be banned. (This is pretty hard to argue against. Therefore, it is not a "debatable" issue that involves a threat to our system of government or national security.) I suggest that you select the “weakest” position (side) for the issue that you select as the first paper.  The SECOND Position Paper is worth 250 points, so I am really looking for your strongest arguments, best evidence, best analysis, and most supportable conclusions from the SECOND Paper.  Think of competitive swimmer who approaches the end of the first lap and flips, using the pool edge to push away from.  That push gives power for the next leg.   Use your first paper to “push” against.   If you build your first argument right, then it will be easier to “push against it” for your stronger, Position Paper II (worth a lot more points). It is much easier to defend a position that you actually believe in.

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