Throughout this course, you will prepare a Key Assignment in the form of a comprehensive written case study analysis of a national-level policy that is reflected in and drawn from the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics (NSWBCN) Strategy (2011).

As dramatized in the movie Act of Valor, in which U.S. Navy Seals interdicted foreign terrorists attempting to smuggle jihadists from Mexico into the United States, this international border represents an acute vulnerability to national security, the region, and homeland security—making it a local, state, tribal, and federal flashpoint. Many analysts believe that if drug cartels can successfully smuggle illegal contraband via various conveyances across the Southwest border (SWB), and move billions of dollars of bulk cash back to operatives south of the border, then terrorist elements could exploit this same network for nefarious purposes.

This troubling premise matches the challenges of professional policymakers at local, state, and federal levels of the U.S. government, and provides the context for a salient examination of all elements of homeland security and the government.

You will focus on the NSWBCN Strategy for all aspects of the Key Assignment, resulting in the final written analysis that assembles each element of the course.

This assignment will initially involve the creation of a case study involving the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) being smuggled across the U.S. border with Mexico. This case study will serve as the operational scenario informing the balance of the project, and will evolve into a comprehensive analysis comprised of and supported by cumulative weekly assignments during each phase of the course, including a proposal to address the security challenges of this volatile border region. 

Against the realistic backdrop of persistent criminal activity, including human smuggling, narcotrafficking, cross-border violence, movement of undocumented migrants, and law enforcement challenges, conduct your research using the NSWBCN Strategy (2011), promulgated by the White House and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Section 1: Strategic Context

Review the NSWBCN Strategy to understand its role in the national security and homeland security context, and examine the organization and logic of this current national-level policy so that you will eventually be able to provide the qualitative argument for why this document was directed by national leadership.

Draft a 2-page introduction to the Key Assignment project that includes the following:

  • Page 1: Highlight the strategic purpose for the NSWBCN Strategy, and identify why this purpose is a vital homeland security interest.  
    • Identify the key sections of this national-level policy and items of significance to public and private homeland security analysts. 
  • Page 2: Outline your initial case study. This case study will serve as the operational scenario informing future components to your Key Assignment and written analysis.  
    • Describe the threat of WMD being smuggled across the Southwest border via the conveyance of your choice.
    • Include in your case study scenario an intelligence report of terrorist operatives attempting to join the movement of undocumented migrants and narcotics through tunnels or other means.
    • Include useful bibliographic references. 

Section 2: Nature of the Threat

Identify the primary and secondary threats that are addressed by the NSWBCN Strategy, explaining why they were addressed by a comprehensive, fully-coordinated national policy. Provide the reader with the analytical basis for this document and the quantitative rationale for the definition of the threat.

Draft a 2-page formal memorandum from the ONDCP Director to the key stakeholders of the ICP within the interagency that includes the following:

  • Page 1: Highlight the unique all-threat environment that exists on the Southwest Border (SWB).  
    • Identify the primary and secondary threats addressed in the strategy.
    • Outline your own case study, describing the threat of WMD being smuggled across the U.S. border with Mexico. 
  • Page 2: Explain what specific facts from this region support the need for greater focus.  
    • Detail what policies or resources you think are needed to address this focus. Include useful bibliographic references.