Cooley unveils new Homeland Security degree


In the light of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing, the issue of homeland security laws may seem more relevant than ever.

That is why Thomas M. Cooley Law School has announced it will launch a new Homeland and National Security LL.M. program in September. The new master’s degree program has approval from the Higher Learning Commission after the American Bar Association acquiesced in the program earlier this year.

“It’s going to be extremely current. I think the events of April 15 in Boston suggest we can’t declare victory on terrorism and just assume it’s over and nothing will happen again,” said Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel, a full-time faculty member at Cooley who has been developing the program. “It’s going to be a continuous threat to the U.S., and we need to have some members of the law enforcement who are prepared for this.”

The 24-credit program will have four required classes totaling 12 credits: Homeland Security Law I and II, and National Security Law I and II. Thirteen elective classes also will be available, including Constitutional Issues in Homeland Security Law Seminar, Cybercrimes, E-Commerce, Externship, HNS Law Review, Intelligence Law and Privacy, Military Operations Law and Physical Security of Critical Infrastructure and Risk Management.

The program, which is looking to hire adjunct professors and one full-time professor, is open to anyone with a law degree, although Cooley students on scholarships will continue receiving that discount if they pursue this master’s program, McDaniel said.

“We’ve made it affordable,” he said. “Our tuition rate is roughly two-thirds of any other school for the LL.M.”

McDaniel has served as the deputy assistant secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance and as Homeland Security advisor to former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. He also served as the assistant adjutant general for Homeland Security for the Michigan National Guard.

Those who take the program will receive practical knowledge, he said, and it will be excellent for enhancing a career in the military or public office.

“We didn’t really think about homeland security until after September 11, 2001, and homeland security laws have risen since,” he said. “It became clear to me that there was a recognition of a separate discipline of homeland security in the law, and therefore, there should be a structure for learning in it the law. That’s what I’ve tried to create.”

In the wake of the Boston bombings, McDaniel has been a media guest expert on the topic of homeland security. The new program, he said, is more relevant than ever, especially for issues like the national debate regarding whether or not bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should have immediately been read his Miranda rights.

It is questions like these that students in the program will be able to find ethical and legal answers to, he said.

“The idea is that if there is an imminent threat to the public safety, you can question someone without having to Mirandize them. This is very rare, but the courts are willing to accept that as long as it is limited in terms of time and geography, that they will (allow) questioning by law enforcement for only the time it takes to check the public safety.”

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