Responding to 9/11: Counterterrorism Policy in the 21st Century

This course examines and evaluates the counterterrorism policies pursued by the United States in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A key goal is for students to learn how to think strategically – that is, to determine what the key objectives the U.S. has been pursuing, critically evaluate whether the policies that have been put in place are achieving these objectives, and consider whether and how these policies should be modified to better meet the U.S.’s strategic goals. Students have the opportunity to examine counterterrorism policies in three different areas: the use of military force (Afghanistan, Iraq and drones), intelligence and law enforcement authorities (interrogation of enemy combatants, electronic surveillance and government access to data), and homeland security (aviation security and countering violent extremism policy). Each of these topics requires students to grapple with not only questions of efficacy, but also legality and morality.


  • Second course in a series; converts a semester-length Duke course into shorter, modular format.
  • Includes interviews with several U.S. policy experts as well as videos of Duke undergraduate students participating in roundtable discussions of challenging policy issues.
  • Used videos that included group discussions of Duke undergraduate students who share their perspectives on difficult policy issues raised in the course.



  • Sanford School of Public Policy

Project Use:


Launch Date:

  • October 2014