Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness 301 (POLI 367/CRJS 367)


Fall 2017



Bill Newmann, Political Science program

Office Hours: 318 Founder’s Hall, Tuesday and Thursday 3:30-5:00 and by appointment

e-mail: wnewmann@vcu.edu; Phone: Political Science Office: 828-2076

Newmann's home page: with links to other Newmann syllabi and other fun stuff.



We will start from the basics. What is terrorism? How long has it been with us? Why do people become terrorists? The answers may be a bit surprising. Watching the American media deal with the attacks of 2001 has only clouded the issue. Too many people have decided that they are experts in international relations and terrorism because they saw the Trade Centers fall. Terrorism has a long history going back at least to Jewish resistance against Roman occupation of the Middle East. Terrorism is not new. The broadest definition is still the most accurate: the use of dramatic acts of violence against non-combatants to further a political cause. The violence may be aimed at an enemy’s military forces while they are not engaged in active operations, government facilities, or as in September 11, symbols of the targeted audience’s power. The direct targeting of non-combatants/average citizens is a purposeful strategy. The goal is to cause pain and fear in a nation’s public in hope that the public will urge a government to change its policies. The dynamic is simple – inflict pain and wait for the enemy to turn and run, twist an arm until someone cries "Uncle."

Once we have tried to define terrorism, we will examine its long history.  Then we will look at a number of key issues: State-sponsored terrorism and non-state actors; Al-Qaeda’s strategy, organization, and recruitment policies; the reasons why some political movements choose violent strategies; the reasons why some individuals choose to join violent political movements; cyberterrorism; the nightmare scenarios of weapons of mass destruction attacks; domestic terrorism in the US; counterterrorism organization of the US and other nations; counterterrorism policies of the US and other nations


Also you write an executive summary based on research you will do on a terrorist organization.  You will then make class presentation on the findings of that research.



You need to read them; you don't need to buy them. The books are available at the Virginia Book Company on Shafer Street at the VCU Bookstore. If anyone has problems getting access to the texts, for any reason, let me know as soon as possible so you don't get too far behind in the reading.


·         Bruce Hoffman. Inside Terrorism (New York; Columbia University Press, 2006) (On reserve at Cabell Library and available on line through the VCU Library system)

·         Daniel Byman. Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement (Oxford University Press, 2015)  (On reserve at Cabell Library)

·         Audrey Kurth Cronin. How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns (Princeton University Press, 2011) (On reserve at Cabell Library)

·         Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden's Final Plot Against America (New York: Touchstone, 2014) (Not available on reserve)



If you have any problems getting the readings for any reason, talk to me as soon as possible so you don't get behind in the reading. A guideline for the readings: I've tried to pick reading that are fair minded and balanced. There are too many books and articles out there that border on hysteria on all these issues and too many people who suddenly became terrorism experts on the afternoon of September 11. I’ve picked books written by people who have been studying terrorism long before September 11.  That doesn't mean that these books don't have a point of view. They do, but it is a point of view based on knowledge and years of study and a point of view that is reasoned and analytical. You do not have to agree with the authors. I may or may not agree with them. The point is that you need to read critically. Don't believe everything you read. Use your own logic and knowledge and insight to decide what you think about the issues.  So feel free to questions or disagree with the ideas here and bring those questions and disagreements to class, so we can talk about them.  That will make the class more valuable for everyone.


Grading System: Grades will be determined through the following:

Map Quiz

Printable Blank Maps to study from

August 31

5% of the grade

Exam 1

October 17

30% of the grade

Research Paper

Required Rough Draft

Final Draft


October 5

November 14 (This is a change)



30% of the grade


November 28--December 7

10% of the grade

Exam 2

December 12, 1:00 PM in the same room. Note the time change!!!!

25 % of the grade


How do you calculate your grade? Use the percentages from the above table. So, if you received the following grades, you would calculate your grades in the following manner:

I give you this very detailed formula for a number of reasons. You should never be unaware of what your class average is. You can calculate it at any point in the semester. If your grade is not what you'd like it to be, you should know, and you should come see me about it. Do not come to me after Exam 2 and say that you're having trouble in the class. It's too late at that point. But any time in the semester that you feel you are having trouble, or not doing as well as you feel you should, come talk to me. During my office hours and by appointment I am happy to talk to you about the class

Grading scale: I use a typical scale: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 55-69. Borderline grades are considered in the following manner.

·         If your grade is 69.5, 79.5, or 89.5 or higher, then you may be a candidate for a round up to the higher grade (Notice those numbers in the sentence; do not ask for a higher grade if your average is a 68 or 78 or 88 or lower; those are not borderline averages).

·         You may become a candidate if your grades are borderline and if your grades have been going up during the semester.

·         That means that if you are borderline, but your last exam is lower than the previous exams (you are between a B and C, but your third exam is a C for example), you will probably get the lower grade.

·         If you are borderline, and your last exam is higher than the previous exams (you are between a B and C, but your third exam is a B), you may get the higher grade.

·         Another factor I consider is the typical grade you receive. Let’s say we have four grades for the class and three are grades of B and one is a C (bad day) and your average is a 79.6, you are a candidate for receiving a B.  If you have four grades and three are grades of C and one is a grade of B, you are probably not a candidate for the higher grade

·         There is no extra credit for this class.  Please do not ask.


And speaking of grades: The withdrawal date this semester is November 3




The exams will be short answer and essay exams.  One week before the exam I will place a review sheet on line, linked to this syllabus, below this paragraph. This review sheet should be used as your study guide for the exam. The review sheet will include some terms that are from the readings only, so that you can go back and review those items from the readings. Once you have the review sheet, feel free to ask me questions about the terms. This is the best way to study for the exam. If you understand the terms on the review sheet, you can define each one and see how each one relates to the larger concepts and issues we've discussed in class, you should do just fine on the exam.


Review I

Review II



Research Paper and Class Presentations

Follow the link for detailed instructions.  Read these instructions now.  Read them later.  Read them again and again.

·         Required Rough Draft: Due: October 5 (it will be returned to you with comments within two weeks, so you can work on the final draft)

·         Final Draft Due: November 14 (This is a change)

·         Both rough and final drafts are due in hard copy at the beginning of class on the day indicated; there are late penalties for both the rough and final drafts. The deduction is 10 points for each day late for both the rough and final drafts (there is a maximum of a 50 point deduction for the rough draft).

·         PPT slides (maximum of five for each person) are required as part of the presentation; due on the presentation day.  Sample PPT slides for al-Shabab, based on the al-Shabab Origins Executive Summary

·         Paper Topics will be chosen in consultation with me. This is detailed in the research instructions and I will explain in class.

·         Group Assignments (will be linked here once they are made)

·         Presentation Instructions



Attendance and Class Behavior

First, I will be passing out an attendance sheet each class period.  I have noticed the past few semesters that some students feel class attendance is optional.  They feel that way until they get back their first exam then they want to do extra credit to get their grade back up.  The simple answer is: be there the first time.  Second, you may use computers in class to take notes.  However, that is all you should be doing with your computer – taking notes.  If you surf the web, check your Facebook page or play games, you will be disrupting other students in the class.  They can see your computer.  This qualifies as the type of class behavior that can result in your removal from the class. Third, do not use your phone in class; do not text in class. If there are emergencies that you need to deal with over the phone, leave the class to take care of it.  If you use your phone in class, you will be asked to leave.


SCHEDULE (The dates reflect what readings you should have finished by the start of class that week, except for the first class session.)



Week 1: August 21-25 Introduction

Hoffman, Chapter 1



Week 2: August 28—September 1 Terrorism Basics: Definitions and History

Hoffman, Chapters 2, 3, and 6

Introduction PPT

Map Quiz: August 31

Printable Blank Maps you can use to for the exam



Week 3: September 4-8 The Modern Age of Terrorism

Hoffman, Chapters 4 and 7

History of Terrorism PPT



Week 4: September 11-15 The Fourth and Fifth Waves of Terrorism

Byman, Introduction, Chapters 1-4



Week 5: September 18-22 Al-Qaeda, its Network, and the Rise of ISIS

Byman, Chapters 5-8

Al-Qaeda PPT



Week 6: September 25-29 Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why

Hoffman, Chapters 8 and 9

Who and Why PPT



Week 7: October 2-6 Domestic Terrorism in the US

No Readings

Rough Draft Due: October 5 (at the beginning of class; please also email a copy)

Terrorism in the US PPT



Week 8: October 9-13 Suicide Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction

Hoffman, Chapter 5 (for Exam One)

Apuzzo and Goldman, Prologue, Chapters 1-2 (for Exam 2)

Suicide Attacks PPT




Week 9: October 16-20 Cyberterrorism

Exam 1: October 17

Rough Drafts returned

No class: October 19

Cyberterrorism PPT



Week  10: October 23-27 The Elements of Counterterrorism I

Apuzzo and Goldman, Chapters 3-6

Counterterrorism Policies: Introduction

Counterterrorism Policies: Organization



Withdrawal Date: November 3



Week 11: October 30 –November 3 The Elements of Counterterrorism II

Apuzzo and Goldman, Chapters 7-11

Counterterrorism Policies: Intelligence

Counterterrorism Policy: The War of Ideas



Week 12: November 6-10 The Elements of Counterterrorism III

Apuzzo and Goldman, Chapter 12 and Epilogue

Cronin, Introduction

Counterterrorism Policies: Diplomacy and Economic Measures



Week 13: November 13-17 The Elements of Counterterrorism IV

Cronin, Chapters 1 and 2

Final Paper Due: November 14 (at the beginning of class; please also email a copy)

Counterterrorism Policies: Law Enforcement



Week 14: November 20-24 The Elements of Counterterrorism V

Cronin, Chapter 3

Counterterrorism Policies: Operations



Thanksgiving!!! November 23: Watch Football



Week 15: November 27-December 1 The Elements of Counterterrorism VI

Cronin, Chapters 4-5

Counterterrorism Policies: Use of Force

Class Presentations

November 28: Large Terrorist Insurgencies




November 30: When Terrorism Succeeds and When it Fails






Week 16: December 4-8: The Elements of Counterterrorism VI

Cronin, Chapters 6, 7 and Conclusion

Counterterrorism Policies: Negotiations

Class Presentations

December 5: Left-wing Groups in Industrial Democracies

  • RAF (All issues are in one slide show located here)
    • Origins
    • Leadership
    • Support
    • Strategy
    • Counterterrorism




December 7: Religious Terrorism


  • Hezbollah (All issues are in one slide show)


Exam 2: December 12, 1:00-3:50 PM same room (Please note the time change).




Where can you find information on international affairs?

This is the question students always ask me. Here’s the short answer:

For day by day coverage of events in the world:

  • BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/.   On a day-by-day basis, no other news organization covers the world as well.  It has separate pages for most regions, links to past stories, links to data bases, all kinds of information that will get you up to speed on anything.
  • World News Network: http://wn.com/. This is a site which covers day-by-day events by creating links to major news papers around the world.  So if something is happening in Pakistan, for example, there will be several links to stories about the event from web-based sources in S. Asia, E. Asia, Europe, N. America  It also has links to regional windows with coverage that is more focused.  It even has links to issue-specific compilations of links on various issues.  For example, the science page has sections for stories on AIDS, Biotech, cloning…
  • For terrorism and counterterrorism check out The Long War Journal: http://www.longwarjournal.org.  It is a project of the Foundation for defense of Democracies, a non-partisan project, that keeps track day by day of events related to terrorism around the world.


On a weekly basis:

·         The Economist: www.economist.com.  This is a UK-based weekly which covers world politics and world business.  There really is nothing else like it in the comprehensive nature of its coverage.  You can also buy it on the newsstand, but the web is free.  It covers world politics very well.

·         Long Term Views of Crisis and Conflict: International Crisis Group: www.crisisweb.org.  This is the International Crisis Group, a non-profit organization that studies, analyzes, and makes recommendations about how to resolve various crises in the world.  There is nothing better for the in-depth examination of current world events and the dilemmas of problem solving and peace making.  It has reports (30-50 pages), briefings (10-30), and a weekly briefing (Crisis Watch), which you can get on the web site or sign up for e-mail delivery.



VCU Policies

Campus emergency information

What to know and do to be prepared for emergencies at VCU:

Sign up to receive VCU text messaging alerts. Keep your information up-to-date. Within the classroom, the professor will keep his or her phone on to receive any emergency transmissions.

Know the safe evacuation route from each of your classrooms. Emergency evacuation routes are posted in on-campus classrooms.

Listen for and follow instructions from VCU or other designated authorities. Within the classroom, follow your professor's instructions.

Know where to go for additional emergency information.

Know the emergency phone number for the VCU Police (828-1234).

Report suspicious activities and objects.

Keep your permanent address and emergency contact information current in eServices.

Class registration required for attendance

Students may attend only those classes for which they have registered. Faculty may not add students to class rosters or Blackboard. Therefore, if students are attending a class for which they have not registered, they must stop attending.


Honor System: upholding academic integrity

The VCU Honor System policy describes the responsibilities of students, faculty and administration in upholding academic integrity, while at the same time respecting the rights of individuals to the due process offered by administrative hearings and appeals. According to this policy, "Members of the academic community are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of academic honesty, ethics and integrity at all times." In addition, “To support a commitment to the Honor System, all members of the VCU community are required to:

  • Adhere to the Honor System policy and its procedures;
  • Report any suspicion or knowledge of possible violations of the Honor System;
  • Answer truthfully when called upon to do so regarding Honor System matters;
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality regarding related to Honor System matters."

More information can be found at in the VCU policy library.


Important dates

You can view important dates for the semester in the academic calendar.


Managing stress

Students may experience situations or challenges that can interfere with learning and interpersonal functioning including stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol and/or other drug use, concern for a friend or family member, loss, sleep difficulties, feeling hopeless or relationship problems.  There are numerous campus resources available to students including University Counseling Services (804-828-6200 MPC Campus, 804-828-3964 MCV Campus), University Student Health Services (MPC 804 828-8828, MCV Campus 804 828-9220) and the Wellness Resource Center (804-828-9355).  24 hour emergency mental health support is available by calling 828-1234 and asking to speak to the on-call therapist or utilizing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-784-2433).


Mandatory responsibility of faculty members to report incidents of sexual misconduct

It is important for students to know that all faculty members are mandated reporters of any incidents of sexual misconduct/violence (e.g., sexual assault, sexual exploitation and partner or relationship violence). This means that faculty cannot keep information about sexual misconduct/violence confidential if you share that information with them and they must report this information immediately to the university's Title IX Coordinator. In addition, department chairs, deans, and other unit administrators are required to report incidents of sex or gender-based discrimination to the university's Title IX Coordinator. Once a report is made, you will receive important information on your reporting options, on campus and off campus resources and remedial measures such as no-contact directives, residence modifications, and academic modifications. If you would prefer to speak with someone confidentially for support and to discuss your options for reporting, contact:

·         VCU's Wellness Resource Center     804.828.9355 | myoptions@vcu.edu | thewell.vcu.edu

·         Greater Richmond Regional Hotline (Community program)   804.612.6126  | 24-hour hotline

·         VCU’s Counseling Services       804-828-6200

·         For more information on how to help, please click here. The Policy on Sexual Misconduct/Violence and Sex/Gender Discrimination, can be found in the VCU policy library. For more information about the University's Title IX process, please visit equity.vcu.edu.


Military short-term training or deployment

If military students receive orders for short-term training or for deployment/mobilization, they should inform and present their orders to Military Student Services and to their professor(s). For further information on policies and procedures contact Military Student Services at 828-5993 or access the corresponding policies.


Student conduct in the classroom

According to the Faculty Guide to Student Conduct in Instructional Settings, "The university is a community of learners. Students, as well as faculty, have a responsibility for creating and maintaining an environment that supports effective instruction. In order for faculty members (including graduate teaching assistants) to provide and students to receive effective instruction in classrooms, laboratories, studios, online courses, and other learning areas, the university expects students to conduct themselves in an orderly and cooperative manner." Among other things, cell phones should be turned off while in the classroom. The Student Code of Conduct also prohibits the possession of or carrying of any weapon. For more information see http://register.dls.virginia.gov/details.aspx?id=3436.


Student email policy

Email is considered an official method for communication at VCU because it delivers information in a convenient, timely, cost-effective, and environmentally aware manner. Students are expected to check their official VCU email on a frequent and consistent basis in order to remain informed of university-related communications. The university recommends checking email daily. Students are responsible for the consequences of not reading, in a timely fashion, university-related communications sent to their official VCU student email account. This policy ensures that all students have access to this important form of communication. It ensures students can be reached through a standardized channel by faculty and other staff of the university as needed. Mail sent to the VCU email address may include notification of university-related actions, including disciplinary action. Please read the policy in its entirety at the VCU Policy Library.


Student financial responsibility

Students assume the responsibility of full payment of tuition and fees generated from their registration and all charges for housing and dining services, and other applicable miscellaneous charges. Students are ultimately responsible for any unpaid balance on their account as a result of the University Financial Aid Office or their third party sponsor canceling or reducing their award(s).


Students representing the university – excused absences

Students who represent the university (athletes and others) do not choose their schedules. Student athletes are required to attend games and/or meets. All student athletes should provide their schedules to their instructors at the beginning of the semester. The Intercollegiate Athletic Council strongly encourages faculty to treat missed classes or exams (because of a scheduling conflict) as excused absences and urges faculty to work with the students to make up the work or exam.


Students with disabilities

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, require that VCU provide "academic adjustments" or "reasonable accommodations" to any student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. To receive accommodations, students must register with the Disability Support Services Office on the Monroe Park Campus (828-2253) or the Division for Academic Success on the MCV campus (828-9782). Please also visit the Disability Support Services website and/or the Division for Academic Success website for additional information.

Once students have completed the DSS registration process, they should schedule a meeting with their instructor (s) and provide their instructor (s) with an official DSS accommodation letter. Accommodation letters will outline the required classroom accommodations. Additionally, if coursework requires the student to work in a lab environment, the student should advise the instructor or a department chairperson of any concerns that the student may have regarding safety issues related to a disability. Students should follow this procedure for all courses in the academic semester.


Withdrawal from classes

Before withdrawing from classes, students should consult their instructor as well as other appropriate university offices. Withdrawing from classes may negatively impact a student’s financial aid award and his or her semester charges. To discuss financial aid and the student bill, visit the Student Services Center at 1015 Floyd Avenue (Harris Hall) and/or contact your financial aid counselor regarding the impact on your financial aid.