National security law as a field includes a host of related topics, ranging from war powers to surveillance authorities; from detention, treatment, and trial of terrorism suspects to domestic use of the military; and from intelligence gathering to the domestic enforceability of international humanitarian and human rights law. Simply put, national security law is an umbrella topic, looking at how distinct legal disciplines incorporate and/or accommodate special considerations when defense of the nation is at stake.
Lawyers specializing in this area may practice in or before government agencies and international organizations; in non-governmental and public interest organizations interested in civil liberties, human rights, or national security affairs; and in law firms or corporate general counsel offices for military contractors and high-technology firms.
Within our national security and intelligence law curriculum, constitutional law and criminal procedure are the foundational courses. From there, the survey course, “National Security Law,” is perhaps the best overview of and introduction to the field, to be complemented by a host of upper-level seminars and smaller courses.