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Politics 340:
Research in Security at Sea

May 2003
Dr. Robert W. Sutherland, Instructor

The following Supplements to this Course Description can be found on the Web:

Course Description

Calendar & Assignments


Rules & Regulations

Politics Department

Research Links

Web References

Reading Questions


Travel & Additional Expense: All or almost all of the course will be spent in the New Orleans area and in the Florida Keys. The estimated additional expense is $1500 for travel and housing. Feel free to send questions as you think of them. Before 4th term, a non-refundable $500 deposit will be required of all students registered for the course. For questions, E-mail:

Instructor: Robert Sutherland, Room 305, South Hall. Telephone: Office, 895-4226. Phone messages may be left with faculty secretary Cheryl Dake 895-4283 or in her voice mail box or on the answering machine at my home. I rarely check my office voice mail. If I do not answer the phone, I recommend contacting me by e-mail:

Office Hours: TBA

Grades: Two major examinations (25% each), an oral presentation (20%), and a final paper (30%). See Grades for grading scale.

Book: John Weaver, A Legacy in Brick and Stone: American Coastal Defense Forts of the Third System, 1816-1867 (2001)


  • Earliest understanding in America of National Security, 1815-1855
    • International Context, 1815-1855
    • Domestic Context, 1815-1855.
  • The Bernard Board & American Coastal Fortifications
  • The Earliest Brick Forts & the Defense of New Orleans
  • Fort Jefferson: Defense Reconsidered
  • A. T. Mahan and American Power Projection
  • Mahan's Legacy and the "American Century"
  • National Security Policy in the 21st Century


  • Research Paper on American National Security: its history, current policy and politics, and its future, esp. cyberwarfare
  • Oral Presentation to the Class on the topic covered in the research paper. Three types of paper topics are supported by the course.
    • Historical Topics, including any one of the following:
      • the Battle of New Orleans (involves interpreting the Chalmette Battlefield site plus the Jackson Barracks Museum in New Orleans)
      • Comparison of early and late Brick Forts in the New Orleans area (involves explaining the differences between Fort Pike and Fort Massachusetts, brick forts along the coast east of New Orleans)
      • John O'Sullivan, Manifest Destiny, Cuba, and the Brick Forts (involves library research into 19th century political and literary history, especially the "Young America" movement
    • Contemporary Policy
      • Preemptive Military Attacks in American National Security: A New Policy?
      • CounterTerrorism and Law Enforcement: Disjunction or Conjunction?
      • Homeland Security: An Administrative Nightmare?
      • Contemporary Piracy and the IMB
    • Future Challenges
      • Cyberwarfare since Kosovo
      • The President's Critical Infrastructure Board and its Work

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