Cooley launches new program in homeland, national security law: Offering course online was key to program?s success

 By Steve Thorpe

Legal News
Brigadier Gen. Michael C.H. McDaniel knows that efforts to keep America safe are creating an awful lot of law.
The new Master of Laws in Homeland and National Security is an LLM program at Cooley that helps law school graduates take the next step in developing a specialty. It can also provide insight and expertise to students who aren’t going to practice law, but want the background on homeland security legal issues.
McDaniel joined the Cooley Law School full-time faculty as a professor in the Constitutional Law Department in 2010 and is responsible for developing the LL.M. program in Homeland Security Law.
“We started in September and also have five new students who joined the program in January,” McDaniel says. “The program is fully-accredited, up and running and we have about 40 students, which is a great number for a brand new program. I can’t tell you how big the program will eventually be, but Homeland Security is not going away.”
Before coming to Cooley, McDaniel served as the deputy assistant secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance. He supervised the Department of Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection Program and Global Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Policy.
He was appointed by then Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as her homeland security advisor in 2003 and served in that capacity until 2009. Concurrently, he was the assistant adjutant general for homeland security for the Michigan National Guard. McDaniel was promoted to brigadier general in 2007 and has been a member of the Michigan National Guard for more than 26 years.
McDaniel says that the ability to offer the program online is a key to its rapid success.
“One of the reasons, I think we have so many students so quickly is that, with an LLM, you can have it as an online program,” he says. “Last term, with the first batch of students, I had a young lieutenant who was serving in Djibouti. I’m teaching the class Sundays from 3-6 p.m. and she was attending the class at midnight in Djibouti. I also had a student who works for customs and border patrol taking the class in Saipan and he was taking the class at 9 a.m. I also had a student working for the Bronx DA’s office and one in Des Moines, Iowa. We’ve got students around the world who are interested in taking this program.”
Cooley’s core commitment to making its offerings as accessible as possible also means that the classes are not just offered in a standard 9-5, Monday through Friday regimen.
“All my classes are weekend or at night to accommodate these working students,” McDaniel says. 
And work they do, often in roles that already touch upon the topics covered.
“That’s one of the keys to adult education,” McDaniel says. “The students have invaluable insights and experience. They already have a great frame of reference and you’re not starting at zero. The best discussions and best papers, especially online, come from these students who are actively involved in the field. It’s a pleasure to work with them.” 
The program requires an additional 24 credit hours of course work including 12 credit hours of required course work and an additional 12 credit hours of elective courses.
Required courses include Homeland Security Law I, which surveys the laws of Homeland Security. It also reviews the statutes, executive orders and regulations and the theory, practice, and challenges for security against terrorist attack and major natural disasters, with emphasis on prevention and counter-terrorism and on response. 
Homeland Security Law II, Comparative Laws of Homeland Security is also required. It examines the security laws of other nations using comparative analysis. 
National Security Law I looks at conceptions and definitions of terrorism at the national and international level and the institutions and processes designed to execute the war on terrorism. 
National Security Law II - Law of Terrorism addresses the legal aspects of the U.S. government’s “war” on terrorism, focusing on the crimes and special approaches to criminal procedure and how they may differ from the ordinary criminal process.
Elective courses include Military Law, Veterans Law, Intelligence Law and Privacy, and Constitutional Issues, as well as opportunities for directed study and externships. There’s also a new class on Emergency Management Law.
McDaniel has managed to assemble a team of experts, most of whom have hands-on experience — often at a high level — with the topics they address.
“We have a class on counterterrorism law,” McDaniel says. “There’s been a huge body of law built up and the students will get both the prosecution and defense pieces. That course is taught for me by (former head of the FBI in Detroit Andy Arena), and this term he’s teaching the ‘Intel Law and Privacy’ class.” 
“We also have another professor, Pat Corbett, teaching computer crimes,” he adds. “He was at the U.S. Attorneys office when I was at the State Attorney General office. He’s teaching a seminar for the LLM students.”
McDaniel sees parallels to other legal disciplines that either didn’t exist 50 years ago, or existed in a much different form.
“When you think about it, when did environmental law become a separate discipline from natural resources law?” he asks. “I plan to write a monograph someday on the parallels. You had Earth Day and then 911. It wasn’t until you had a separate agency like the EPA or the Department of Homeland Security and you had Congress writing thousands of pages of administrative regulations that you had a separate discipline of law. That’s the point we’ve reached with Homeland Security Law. Some people still look at it as a subset of National Security Law and I can see that definition as of five years ago. In the LLM program we also talk about National Security Law because you have to be able to understand the distinctions.” 
Because it’s such a new discipline, Homeland Security Law is evolving quickly.
“We can now point to a separate body of Homeland Security Law for the first time,” McDaniel says. “It’s really evolving, which will be a good thing for the students. Every time there’s a crisis, you’re going to have new laws at the local, state and federal levels.”
That often involves keeping track of how the courts are interpreting the new laws. 
“We follow cases all the way through the courts,” McDaniel says. “The cases having to do with the whole intel piece are fascinating right now. The first thing you have to get your students acquainted with is that there’s not always case law. When it comes to intel gathering, we don’t have that many cases. And when we do, they can be inconsistent. For example we currently have a FISA court saying that certain intel gathering is constitutional and another FISA court is saying that it’s not constitutional. It gives Andy a fantastic example to use with his students.” 
The increasing complexity and changes in laws relating to homeland security are going to keep McDaniel and his teachers busy for a long time. It’s definitely a “moving target,” to adopt the parlance of the military. When asked to quickly define Homeland Security Law, McDaniel chuckles.
“I don’t think anybody can,” he says.