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Syracuse University College of Law is developing a new interdisciplinary curriculum that would offer graduates an opportunity unique in the nation: a juris doctor degree with a companion master’s degree in national security. The impetus for the program, now under way with creation of the university’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, came about when Hannah R. Arterian, Syracuse Law’s dean, was preparing for a final job interview shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. “I remember exactly where I was — with my daughter at parents’ weekend at Mount Holyoke College,” said Arterian. With reference to William C. Banks, a constitutional law professor at Syracuse who is a long-time expert on national security legal issues and author of numerous books and articles on the subject, she added, “I was reading over the various faculty biographies, and came across a description of Bill Banks and his work. “He’s got the total chops in this area. He wrote the book. He continues to write the book,” she said. “So here we are at this moment. It’s serendipitous. We have the location, the people and the energy for something really critical on public policy for the nation. Talk about a moment! I am totally gassed about this.” Arterian’s enthusiasm spread quickly, most notably to Joshua H. Heintz, chair of the law school’s board of advisers and a partner in the Syracuse firm Devorsetz, Stinziano, Gilberti, Heintz & Smith. Heintz wrote a personal check for $50,000 as seed money to create the National Security Institute, allowing Banks to begin the daunting process of creating an entirely new academic specialty. “It’s bigger than our law school, it’s something our country desperately needs,” said Heintz. “As our principal resource, we have Bill Banks. He’s too humble to say so, but there are perhaps only five or six other people in the country with his credentials. Since 9/11, he’s been called on [by the federal government] for some 150 interviews. Everybody at the Department of Homeland Security and everybody in the intelligence community is on a first-name basis with him. “We have a duty to help our society prepare for the unpleasant — for terror,” said Heintz. “What is the law here? What rights do the authorities have in times of attack? How do you deal with terrorism from the standpoints of public health law, public safety, national security? “There may be [lawyers] very knowledgeable in national security, but there are no practitioners, per se,” he added. “Yet you have these massive policy issues of law. The capture of Saddam Hussein, for example. Should he be tried in Iraq, or in an international court? You have these people picked up after 9/11 because they’re of a certain extraction. What’s the role of the judiciary in time of war?” FIRST CONFERENCE Such questions are part of the institute’s first conference, “Information Sharing and Homeland Security,” scheduled for March 19 at the Syracuse campus, in conjunction with the university’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Expected to attend are some 75 state and federal officials, legal academicians from around the country, graduate students at Syracuse University and corporate executives. “The institute is the umbrella around a whole series of activities — teaching, research, conferences and the [dual-degree] program,” said Banks, who is director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, although no formal title has been coined. “Students like this subject matter,” he said. “They’re attracted to the idea that they can do something that’s relevant to daily life and the concerns of their friends and families. They see this in terms of career development. This [national security law] field is growing all the time. It was true without 9/11, but of course it’s accelerated since then.” In tandem with the institute’s maiden conference, Banks and his students — a devoted corps of 20, according to Arterian — are conducting an assessment of emergency preparedness in New York state. “New York is advanced in many ways, but in some areas we’re in pretty bad shape,” said Banks. “One of the most glaring deficiencies is our capacity for preparing for germ attack. We have a good public health infrastructure, but we don’t have laws in place for sequestering people in case of attack by smallpox or anthrax. We have no laws about travel limitation, possible quarantines or getting mass amounts of treatment to people in a hurry.” COMPUTER SECURITY Another area in need of state attention is computer security. To that end, Banks’ institute has an informal partnership with the New York State Office of Cyber Security & Critical Infrastructure Coordination, created last year by Governor George E. Pataki. “At 9/11, we all saw the physical events, but there were significant cyber consequences,” said William F. Pelgrin, an attorney who was commissioner of the state Office of Technology before Pataki named him director of the Cyber Security Office. “Some 2,250 circuits running through the World Trade Center were damaged or destroyed, and so we saw the heightened relationship between the cyber and the physical. “Our relationship [with Syracuse Law] is appealing and critical,” he added. Beyond providing seed money for the national security institute at Syracuse Law, Heintz is busy securing long-term funding. He said he envisions an annual budget of about $1 million. “When you’re in the business setting, you know where to go look for money,” said Heintz. Beyond corporate funding, he said, “One way or another, government will underwrite this work because it will benefit society at large.”

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