Security Policy Brief of 4,000-5,000 words. While this paper will require a significant amount of independent research, it is not to be written as a typical research paper. Instead, the emphasis is on being concise and precise in your analysis of a security challenge, and on providing practical, feasible policy recommendations. You are to imagine yourself in the role of a mid-level staff member of the U.S. National Security Council (which advises the President on all security-related matters). Your Policy Brief should be addressed to the National Security Advisor, as outlined below (see “Format Instructions”). Senior staff members at the White House are the intended audience for your paper, and they do not have time to read through long, academic research papers, so try to make your Security Policy Brief as compelling as you can.
Step 1. Choose a Topic
The specific topic you choose for your Security Policy Brief must be approved by the course instructor before you begin your research and writing.
Approved Topic: Assessing the role of local police in counterterrorism programs focused on Islamist homegrown extremism
Step 2. Gather and Analyze Research on that Topic
Collect and read some good quality research (books, peer-reviewed journal articles, government reports, etc.) about the topic you have chosen. Please note, there are a lot of quality resources available to you in the CRIM.5750 course website, but these should just serve as a starting point. You have nearly the entire semester (3 months) to find and read additional quality reference sources on which to base your Policy Brief.
Step 3. Format Instructions for the Policy Brief
1) Include an informative title, your name and date at the top of p. 1
2) Address the Policy Brief to the National Security Advisor (though it’s understood
that several other senior White House personnel will also read this)
3) Provide a 1-paragraph introduction and summary, along the lines of “This Policy
Brief addresses the threat to U.S. national security posed by …”
4) Provide your analysis of the topic you have chosen, in the most concise yet
compelling way possible. Use either footnote references (bottom of the page) or endnote references (end of the document) to support your discussion. Graphs, data tables, or other visual enhancements are welcome, but only a few.
5) Provide a small handful of feasible and logical policy recommendations (bullet points are fine, but must be complete sentences)
6) Conclude with a 1-2 paragraph summary of how your recommendations will directly address the security challenge you have described.
NOTE: I do not have a preference about font size, spacing, margins and so forth. The basic standard format that most student papers use includes 1-inch margins, 12-point font, single spacing, with a cover page, page numbers, and endnotes. Any citation format is fine, as long as it’s consistent.
Step 4. Proofread Your Work Very Carefully
Grade reduction penalties are standard in a graduate-level course for research papers that have sloppy grammar, spelling mistakes, and other inexcusable deficiencies. The quality of your writing must be as good as you can possibly manage. Please note that the staff members of the UML Writing Center are willing and able to help you with proofreading and improving your papers before you submit them.
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