Required Readings 

  • Sidlow and Henschen, Chapters 3

You will be tasked with a current events assignment that will require you to go to several reputable news sources either on the web, newspaper or even television and extract a news topic that relates to the concepts being taught in the current chapters. Here are some online sources for your information:

Once you have a good feel for the topic, you will provide the following:

  • Summarize your take on the issue.
  • How does it relate to the chapters concepts?
  • Develop a question that you will post on the threaded discussion that either extends the discussion or queries others for their perspective on the debate about the topic.

Example of Threaded Discussion Posting:

“9/11 Report Calls for a Sweeping Overhaul of Intelligence” By Philip Shenon
New York Times, July 23, 2004.

Summary: This article discusses the 9/11 commission’s findings on the Sep 11, 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The commission’s final report recommended several structural changes to our nation’s intelligence services. After a nineteen-month investigation, the commission concluded that there was a failure of intelligence on the part of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Pentagon and even the National Security Council (NSC). Some of the following proposed recommendations would include: 1) adding a cabinet-level national intelligence director; 2) moving authority for paramilitary operations from the CIA to the Department of Defense; and 3) giving the national intelligence director substantial power to coordinate intelligence. Finally, the commission identified one central gaffe in the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks—there was a lack of central coordination for all the disparate information that may have led to the disruption of the hijackers evil plot.

Chapter Concepts: This article is tied in with the Constitution in several ways. First, each of these agencies is part of the executive branch of government; that is, they follow the directives of the president who enforces the laws of the country (Sidlow & Henschen 42). Article II of the Constitution lays out the powers of the presidency and the president’s role as commander-in-chief in protecting the nation against attack. Secondly, though not explicitly listed in the Constitution, Congress has oversight of the executive branch and its many federal departments and agencies (Sidlow & Henschen39-40). Congress, as the Constitution notes, has the power to rein in agencies by not funding them sufficiently if it chooses.

Questions: 1) Should the president adopt the 9/11 commission’s recommendations? Explain. 2) If the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, what is the constitutional role of Congress when it comes to war?


Discussion Assignment