Syllabus for HLS-410



Counterterrorism: Constitutional and Legislative Issues explores the evolution of homeland security as a concept, a legal framework, and a redirection of national policies and priorities. The political, economic, and practical issues of implementation are examined. The course provides an overview of the history of the terrorist threat, United States responses, and an introduction to fundamental policy legislation and documents, such as national security strategies, homeland security decision directives, the National Response Plan, and National Incident Management System. The Department of Homeland Security model of planning, protecting, responding, and recovering from a natural disaster and terrorist attacks is also described.  



After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Analyze the current terrorist threat to the United States.

CO2        Assess lone wolf attacks and the ability to stop them.

CO3        Differentiate between the investigative tools available to combat terrorism.

CO4        Assess various imminent global terror threats and organizations.

CO5        Differentiate between the types of terrorist groups.

CO6        Evaluate the process of “criminal profiling” terrorists and suspected terrorist groups.

CO7        Examine radical Islam and its various sub-organizations.

CO8        Recommend detailed and concrete solutions regarding the war on terrorism.

CO9        Evaluate the legality and effectiveness of FISA Courts and FISA warrants.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-1138190122


Counterterrorism: Constitutional and Legislative Issues is a three-credit, online course, consisting of six modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO3, CO4, and CO5

Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO2, CO5, and CO7

Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO4, and CO8

Course objectives covered in this module: CO3, CO4, CO6, and CO9

Course objectives covered in this module: CO3 and CO8

Course objectives covered in this module: CO4 and CO7


For your formal work in the course, you are required to read the texts as assigned, participate in six graded online discussions, complete and submit six written assignments, and prepare and submit a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in six discussion forums. Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on a classmate’s response. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as “I agree” and “ditto” are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Each written assignment will be a paper of at least 500 words (2 pages) in length. Your papers should be written in proper APA format, double-spaced, with 12-point font, and include a minimum of three references.

Final Paper

For your final project, you will examine the history of lone wolf attacks against the United States, radicalization of the lone wolf, and the ability to investigate and prevent against lone wolf attacks.

Your project will be submitted in two parts. Part One will consist of an outline, due in Week 5 of the course. Part Two will consist of a final paper of 2000 to 3000 words (8 to 10 pages), due in Week 12 of the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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