For the progress assignment, you will be completing a threat assessment of a non-traditional threat.  This entity should pose a threat to the United Statesin some way.  You will NOT choose a nation-state, but rather a non-state actor.  (“Climate change” or “superbugs” are not non-state actors.)  By the end of Week 5, please message the professor with your proposed threat topic and proceed with your research once you get approval.

This will be an 8-10 page double-spaced (in Times New Roman 12 font) essay assignment.  However, keep in mind that this will not be structured/written as a typical “research paper.”  You should rather be attempting a threat analysis product.  As such, you will perform a lot of research and learn a lot of information that might not actually make it into your product.  However, the knowledge you gain will provide the basis for your analytical opinion.  With only 8-10 pages double spaced and many different topic areas (9 of them!), you will need to be very clear and concise in your writing.  Remember to always put the “bottom line up front” (BLUF).  This should happen at the very beginning of the essay as you provide an overall threat assessment of the threat and then also within the sections as you provide a BLUF for the various required elements.  The BLUF should explain what is most important to know about each element of the threat.  The BLUF should also explain why it is important to know these things.

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Remember, this isn’t a history paper.  Do not submit lengthy recitations of historical events.  Including some history is OK as long as it is pertinent and clearly supports your BLUF.  Include only the facts, evidence, data, etc. that supports your main point.  In the intelligence world, consumers often have very little time to read a written product so the analyst needs to clearly get his/her most important points across clearly right up front.  The consumer may just read the first part and skim the rest of the document.

Below are the required sections.  Please include the section headings in red on your assignment.

OVERALL THREAT ASSESSMENT:  How much of a threat does this non-state actor actually pose to the United States, taking everything into consideration?

 HISTORY:  This is the section where you can discuss the history of the group, but, again, don’t give a long recitation of historical event.  Discuss why and how the threat came to be.  Why did it become a threat?  What was its initial motivation?  What environmental/societal/economic/etc. factors contributed to its formation?

MEMBERSHIP/LEADERSHIP:  Who makes up the threat?  Why do they participate in threatening the US?  What is their motivation?  Who are the leaders, if any?  How effective are they?

STRUCTURE/ORGANIZATION:  How is the threat structured?  Is there an organization?  What is it?

 CURRENT GOAL/MOTIVATION:  What is the current goal/motivation of the threat entity?  What is it trying to achieve?  Has it evolved since its formation?

 TACTICS/CAPABILITIES:  What tactics does the threat employ?  How capable are they?  What weapons/tools do they use?

FUNDING/CONNECTIONS:  Where does the threat get funding?  Supplies?  Weapons?  Does the threat have connections to any other organizations, nation-states, etc.?

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LOCATION/SCOPE/MAGNITUDE:  Where does the threat operate?  How broad in scope is the threat?  Are they a regional threat or a global threat to the US and/or its interests?

COUNTERING THE THREAT:  Please suggest possible ways to mitigate or counter the threat.  Try to think outside the box and be a little creative.  I understand that you won’t have total information, but just give it a try!

If any of these sections do not apply to your particular topic for some reason, you need to at least include the required section heading along with a short explanation as to why it doesn’t apply.

Please let me know if you have ANY questions at all about this assignment.  Be sure to use Turabian style for citation of all of your sources.  Remember, any time you borrow a sentence OR a phrase from another author, you MUST put the words in quotation marks to show that it isn’t your own writing.  Source any facts or data that you get from other sources.

Your final submission may include a title page, but remember that the written portion of your submission should be 8-10 pages.  You must also include a bibliography at the end of your submission (this does not count toward the page count).

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