Topic: HLS 6030 DF3 Comments in Assessment on Yemen

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Topic: HLS 6030 DF3 Comments in Assessment on Yemen


Comment on these three post as if you were me with a 100 words each, DO NOT COMPARE THE POSTS, and put 3 references for each post, and please seperate the references.
Douglas Mahoney 
In writing an intelligence assessment on Yemen, as an analyst I first want to keep in mind the guidance from Petersen, specifically “My personal experience is that our consumers will take frequent bad news and unhappy assessments as long as they are well-reasoned, supported by data and argument, and presented without rancor, value judgments, or arrogance” (Petersen, 14). Knowing that I will have a broad variety of customers to this intelligence, as an analyst, I want to accurately summarize and interpret intelligence from all sources possible, while keeping any biases removed. I also need to ensure that I am not only applying my analyst perspective to the intelligence, but also keeping my perspective clear and “expend much more effort evaluating what they don’t know and why they don’t know it” (Davis, 5). Then, in delivering the intelligence, it is critical that for each of these policy makers, we understand their motivations, needs, concerns, etc., and when we provide intel to them, we are providing it through the lens of our understanding of them. This means not only the content to be covered, but our framing of the issue, key concerns and questions. At the same time, we need to be careful to step out of our lens as the intelligence analyst and consider the policy makers, who want an un-biased, and clear perspective that is useful specifically for them. Lastly, when determining who to deliver this intelligence to, I would need to keep in mind that the customers of my intelligence should be only those who I believe will find it directly relevant to key issues that they are facing. Providing information, through a lens not directly relevant to a customer, will at best be a waste of their time.
Regarding the conflicts in Yemen, and the rise of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other terrorist organizations, the key customers that I would want to reach with my intelligence assessment are the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of State (DOS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
National Security Council (NSC)- Given that the purpose of the NSC is to advise the President on national security and foreign policies, the key issue to deliver to the NSC is how the threat in Yemen could be destabilizing to the Middle East and our allies, and how Yemen could be fostering terrorists form various organizations who pose a threat to national security. The NSC should be advised that due to the conflict within the country, “Yemen remains a locus for radical extremist activity, and its lack of credible governance offers recruitment and training opportunities for the AQAP, the IS, and other radical groups” (Pherson, 340). The NSC should use this information to assess if any precautions need to be taken to further protect our national security on the home front, as well as reach out to our allies in the Middle East.
Department of Defense (DoD)- For the DoD, the key issue is whether stability in Yemen (or surrounding areas) requires a deployment of troops to the area to protect US allies or interests. The main concern is the breeding of terrorist organizations in this area from the lack of government, and if special forces should be called upon to neutralize this threat. The DoD should use the intelligence to assess the cost-benefit and risk of putting troops on the ground to keep the peace and/or defend our allies.
Department of State (DOS)- Since the State Department is responsible for international relationships, the key issue that they care about are the resources that we have in the country, including ambassadors or diplomats, and their security. They will also care about the key players in the area, specifically who are allies are in Yemen and how they are affected (who are we supporting). The State Department will use this information to determine if resources need to be evacuated or added to the region to obtain the result that is the best interest of our government. The State Department will also want to consider how we are maintaining relationships with allies and key players, not only in Yemen, but also in other areas of the Middle East.

Department of Homeland Security:

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)- The key issue that the FBI is concerned about is to protect the US from terrorist attacks on our own soil. They would want to know about mobile terrorist coming from Yemen, and homegrown terrorists because of the conflict in Yemen. Among other things, they would want to know how large the organizations are growing, what their recruiting abilities are like, and how far is their reach to other parts of the world. The FBI would then take this information to open investigations on persons of interest that are followers of these groups or suspected to have ties to these organizations.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)- The key issue that will be delivered to the CBP is much more narrow than the other organizations. The intelligence that they would be concerned about is the development of these terrorist organizations in Yemen and surrounding regions, and how many terrorists are trying to get into the US because of it. The CBP would take this information and keep an eye on persons of interest and which countries they are going to and coming from. They would look for patterns and try to stop threats coming into the US.

Although these are the main customers that I believe this information would be important to, many more organizations and agencies within the DHS may be effected by information about the conflict in Yemen, which may result in changes to their policies and missions.


Jack Davis. “Tensions in Analyst-Policymakers Relations: Opinions, Facts, and Evidence.” Retrieved from https://nuonline.neu.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/HLS6030.20653.201725/OPV2No2.pdf.

Petersen, M. (2011). What I Learned in 40 Years of Doing Intelligence Analysis for US Foreign Policymakers. Studies in Intelligence, 55(1), 13-20.

Pherson, K. H., & Pherson, R. H. (2016). Critical thinking for strategic intelligence. Washington, D.C.: CQ PRESS.

Jessica Walsh 

One of the first steps of intelligence analysis is knowing who your customers are and what they will be doing with the intelligence you produce. Before analysis begins it is important to understand who the recipient is so the product can be tailored to their needs. Just as intelligence analysts are busy, so are policymakers, they want a product that will help them make a decision and not have to flip through hundreds of pages in order to get an answer (Pherson & Pherson, 2017).

When thinking about who would be a recipient of the Yemen intelligence I tried to think broadly and a little outside the box in terms of who would be interested. I thought of several, but the ones that I think would be most crucial are:

Department of Defense-For the DoD they key issue would be whether or not the United States will have to devote military resources to the region. As defined by their website, “The Secretary of Defense is the principal defense policy advisor to the President” (About the Department of the Defense, 2015). Since the President will ultimately be the recipient of the intelligence, you would want to make it clear whether military action will be needed now or in the future. I would anticipate the DoD official (possibly even the Secretary) to use the intelligence to assess the feasibly of the U.S. intervening. I would make sure the intelligence product focuses on the military situation in the region.

Department of Energy-This may seem out of the box, but I selected this agency due to the influence Iran has on the Yemen region and how it could influence Iran’s nuclear program. The DoE, specifically the National Nuclear Security Administration is forces on national nuclear security as well as international security (Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation, n.d.). The key issues DoE officials would be concerned with is whether or not Iran’s influence in Iran will impact the current deal between them and the U.S. Officials could use the intelligence to determine whether the deal is still feasible or if it should be nulled.

United Nations-Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world, is suffering from a population boom of which the environment cannot take, has widespread poverty as well as an over reliance on oil as an export. The 2015 Human Development Index ranked Yemen 160th out of 188 on issues such as health, education, and personal safety (Pherson & Pherson, 2017). The UN would use an intelligence briefing on Yemen to assess humanitarian needs that would be needed in the region and whether or not UN teams would need to be dispatched. The UN would be less concerned with the Islamic State or the military needs, nut rather would want to know about human rights violations occurring in the region.

There are at least a six more organizations such as the FBI, CIA, NSA, Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security that I thought of, but I wanted to highlight the above three because I felt they were unique


About the Department of the Defense. (2015, 08 27). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Defense: https://www.defense.gov/About-DoD

Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation. (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy.gov: https://energy.gov/public-services/national-security-safety/nuclear-security-nonproliferation

Pherson, K. H., & Pherson, R. H. (2017). Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Katherine Albers 

Regarding an intelligence briefing about instability in Yemen, I see three chief customers, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. "In a service mentality, the focus in on the customer- the consumer of out services- and specifically on how best to meet the customer`s needs" (Petersen, 2011). We need to ensure that we provide each customer with intelligence and conclusions relevant to their mission. 

State Department- "The Department`s mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere" (United States Department of State, pg. 7) At this point in time, Yemen is definitely unstable. Since the State Department`s mission is to foster stability worldwide, I would focus my intelligence report on the political situation and the possible outcomes of the current civil war. I would also specifically discuss the economic situation, such as the very high unemployment rate and over-reliance on rapidly depleting oil reserves (Pherson, 2017). I would expect for the State Department to form a committee to determine possible affects on US foreign policy depending on the various possible outcomes. 

Department of Defense- "The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country" (U.S. Department of Defense, 2015). I would focus my report on the fact that AQAP and IS exploit the weak government of Yemen to plan terror attacks and the Yemeni government`s relationship with Iran (Pherson, 2017). Like with the intelligence analysis for the State Department, I would also discuss the possible outcomes of the civil war, focusing on the possibility of radical Islamist taking over the country. I would expect the DoD to use this intelligence to determine the possibility of necessary military intervention and be prepared for any eventuality. 

Department of Homeland Security- "The vision of homeland security is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards" (Homeland Security, 2016). Like with the assessment for the DoD, I would focus on terror in Yemen, but I would also discuss the possible outcomes of the civil war, considering one of them is that radical Islamists could take over the country (Pherson, 2017). Another point I would make is regarding the demographics of Yemen. The median age is only about 19 (Pherson, 2017, pg 339). This median age combined with a failing economy and radical Islamist influence can lead to a very large number of young men becoming radicalized. I would expect specifically the TSA and Customs and Boarder Protection to use this intelligence to monitor transport and individuals arriving to the United States having gone through Yemen for possible terror ties or plots. As an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, I would also expect to be instructed to continue to monitor the situation in Yemen as it relates to possible attacks on the homeland. 

Petersen, M. (2011 March). What I Learned in 40 Years of Doing Intelligence Analysis for US Policymakers. Studies in Intelligence Vol.55 No. 1. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol.-55-no.-1/pdfs/CleanedPetersen-What%20I%20Learned-20Apr2011.pdf

United States Department of State. (2016). United States Department of State Agency Financial Report. United States Department of State. Retrieved from https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/264495.pdf

Pherson, K. & Pherson, R. (2017). Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence. Thousand Oaks, CA. 

U.S. Department of Defense. (2015). About the Department of Defense (DoD). U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved from https://www.defense.gov/About-DoD

Homeland Security. (2016, May 11) Our Mission. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/our-mission


HLS 6030 DF3 Comments



Douglas Mahoney

About the first post on the reasonable assessment on Yemen, the analyst gives detailed information on the intelligence and is much aware that the targeted audience would receive such information with critique (Petersen, 2011). The analyst is so articulate on critical issues that face the clients since giving an analysis with no influence and relevance to the customers would be deemed as a waste of time. Regarding such matters, the study targets


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