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National Security Federalism in the Age of Terror

Matthew C. Waxman

Columbia Law School

August 30, 2011

Stanford Law Review, Vol. 64, 2012
Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 11-271

National security law scholarship tends to focus on the balancing of security and liberty, and the overwhelming bulk of that scholarship is about such balancing on the horizontal axis among branches at the federal level. This Article challenges that standard focus by supplementing it with an account of the vertical axis and the emergent, post-9/11 role of state and local government in American national security law and policy. It argues for a federalism frame that emphasizes vertical intergovernmental arrangements for promoting and mediating a dense array of policy values over the long term. This federalism frame helps in understanding the cooperation and tension between the federal and local governments with respect to counterterrorism and national security intelligence, and also yields insights to guide reform of those relationships. The Article emphasizes two important values that have been neglected in the sparse scholarship on local government and national security functions: (1) accountability and the ways vertical intergovernmental arrangements enhance or degrade it, and (2) efficiency and the ways those arrangements promote public policy effectiveness. This Article reveals the important policy benefits of our shared federal-local national security system, and it suggests ways to better capture these benefits, especially if terrorism threats evolve to include a greater domestic component.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 62

Keywords: terrorism, intelligence, law enforcement, national security, police, federalism, localism

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Date posted: May 4, 2011 ; Last revised: March 16, 2012

Suggested Citation

Waxman, Matthew C., National Security Federalism in the Age of Terror (August 30, 2011). Stanford Law Review, Vol. 64, 2012; Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 11-271. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1830312

Contact Information

Matthew C. Waxman (Contact Author)
Columbia Law School ( email )
435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
212-854-0592 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.columbia.edu/fac/Matthew_Waxman
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