498 Midterm


The midterm assignment is not a paper, but a project.

The purpose of this assignment is for you to demonstrate not your analytic ability (for you should be able at this point to do the appropriate thinking) but rather your ability to set up a problem, identify what you need, and how you would solve the problem using a structured method. You are given a list of 7 intelligence questions and you are expected to respond to 4 of them for this project.

Your submission should be in table form and not exceed two pages per intelligence problem. Each table should list the primary intelligence problem (given below). In your table, you must break down the primary problem into its components, then listing Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIRs) / Essential Elements of Information (EEIs) for each component question. PIRs may be considered "general statements of intelligence need" or generalized questions about the operating environment (Curtis E. Lemay Center 2015). The PIRs should then be the driving force for your more specific EEIs. You should identify the analytic methods you would recommend using to analyze the information to answer the overall question. Finally, you need to explain why those methods are appropriate.

Your submission will be graded using the following rubric (see rubric chart below):

break the intelligence problem into component questions,

articulate Priority Intelligence Requirements and Essential Elements of Information,

identify intelligence analysis methods that you recommend to address the problems (based on the type of information you identify and the nature of the question),

provide a textual explanation of why you chose the methods you did and what you can expect by using the methods,

completion of 1-4 above for 4 of the 7 problems listed below, and

demonstration that you have read, understood and used the required readings

(NOTE: any submission which does not pursue the purpose of this assignment--structuring an intelligence question for analysis--will be considered "off-topic" and will be assessed a zero).

A few important thoughts:

No one method can stand alone as an adequate method. It takes looking at the problem from more than one approach to get a meaningful view of the solution to the problem. You should list the methods that you would recommend and in a few words identify what the method would achieve. (You may choose whatever format you think works best to communicate these ideas.) Further, the questions below are broad and general. If you need to make assumptions to help you address each problem please document your assumptions (this is more important than you may at first think).

Feel free to draw on any method you are aware of and if you have questions on this please reach out, that's what I'm here for. If you are concerned that I may not recognize your method, please provide a footnote explaining.

It is not possible to list all PIRs/EEIs so it is impossible to be complete given the time available for this assignment. However, I will evaluate your selection of component intelligence questions, intelligence requirements, and the centrality of the methods you recommend in addressing the core nature of the problem.

Be sure that it is clear which methods address which subproblems.

For example:

Problem: The US has become aware that the Pakistanis have provided missile technology to Yemen. This point is confirmed. However, it is unclear what the Yemenis are intending to do with the technology. What is the outlook for this development?

Subproblems: What technology was transferred? What threats does this pose to the region, and does this change the regional balance of power? What is the likelihood that Yemen will reexport this technology to substate groups or states that pose a threat to US interests?

List associated PIRs/EEIs

Then identify what methods you would use to answer the problem and subproblems and explain why these methods are the best and most appropriate to answer the questions(!).

You must select 4 out of the following 7 problems to address for this assignment:

1) To what extent is Iran influencing policymaking by the Lebanese government and political leadership?

2) A car struck a prominent Russian opposition leader while she was crossing a busy London street.  Who is responsible?

3) China is developing a new all-weather stealth combat aircraft. To what extent has its performance, design, and capability been a result of espionage against the United States?

4) The US is considering dramatically expanding anti-Russian propaganda operations in the Ukraine and Eastern/Central Europe. How is Vladimir Putin likely to respond?

5) The government of Djibouti is considering restoring diplomatic relations with Iran, which were cut in 2016. What potential threats does this pose to US intelligence operations stationed in or supported by US installations in Djibouti?

6) The US is considering a covert operation to destabilize the government of Venezuela with the hopes this would provoke the downfall of the current regime. What are the risks to such an operation and what might be the unintended consequences of such an operation?

7) What are the expected social, economic, and consequent political effects of COVID-19 on India currently and in the coming year?

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