Essay 3

For this assignment, you will write an intelligence report based on a provided question. It is up to you, in your submission, to structure and articulate your analysis of the question. You must gather existing open sources and data to support your analysis.

Why do people join your chosen terrorist or hate group? The group is the IRA

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Please focus on psychology and social identity. We will do a separate essay on narratives and media.

The skill we are developing here is quickly and clearly communicating answers to intelligence questions in one page or less of substance. Format:


Evidence *in text citations using Zotero (citation management)


Bibliography (may go on to second page)

Single spaced

A few general pointers for your report:

Make sure that you begin your paper with a BLUF (bottom line up front). In a sentence or two, simply answer the question and tell me why it’s important. It is often better to do your research and find your citations before you compose a BLUF.
The body of the paper should provide evidence that supports the BLUF, nothing else. These are short reports, you do not have the real estate for historical background in a report this short. If you feel a context is absolutely necessary, do it in one or two sentences. Extraneous information weakens your argument and makes your assessment difficult to follow. Imagine briefing a senior policy maker in 3 minutes or less on the question they asked you. What do you absolutely need to include to make your point?
Simplify your grammar and structure. Intelligence writing has a simple, clear style. We often share assessments with foreign intelligence or non-native speakers. Avoid run-on sentences, passive voice, and mixing tense in your writing. For events that occurred in the past, use simple past tense. Conditional present continuous (ex. “ISIS would be gathering support for the next 4 years”) is confusing. Even if your grammar is technically correct, please make event sequence as clear as possible.
Your conclusion should be a logical extension of the evidence you provided. Do not introduce totally new concepts in the conclusion. Keep it tight. Tell me why the evidence you provided is significant, interesting, of concern, or predictive in some way. This is your evaluation of data. What do you as an analyst add to the reporting? It does not have to be earth shattering. Maybe you are pointing out that there are multiple grievances, not just one source of discontent. Maybe you have shown that the grievances have shifted over time. Maybe the goals have changed. This assessment should be mentioned (briefly!) in your BLUF. This is another reason why it is often better to compose the BLUF at the end of your writing process.

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