Browsing Master's Program in International Affairs (MPIA) Capstones by Title
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Now showing items 17-30 of 30
Abraham, Phebey; Cantrell, Catherine; Carman, Tara; Gruenwald, Emily; Rowley, Thomas A. ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: This 2008 Capstone research continues the work of a 2007 project titled "The Interagency Process in Support & Stability Operations: Integrating and Aligning the Roles and Missions of Military and Civilian Agencies in Conflict and Post-Conflict Environments." The 2007 Capstone study included analyses of interagency efforts in the conduct of US and NATO operations in counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. This 2008 study analyzed how US national security policies, strategies, and objectives have changed since 2001. It also estimated the effectiveness of the contemporary national security system, including institutions, organizations, and leadership in addressing what international security experts call "human security," or threats to the survival of societies, groups, and individuals.
Files in this item: 1Cerami_2008.pdf (21.13Mb)
Barnes, Riley; Davis, Stephen; Enderle, Dori; Jacobs, Matt; Joost, Laura; Perkins, Mike; Snodgrass, Steven; Stone, Nathanael; Woolfolk, Melisa ( 2011)[more][less]
Abstract: Angry about the results of the 2009 elections, the Iranian opposition took to the streets, coordinating widespread protests to challenge the authority of the regime in Tehran. The protests hampered, but did not stop, the regime's effort to impose its favorite candidate for president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The strength of this opposition appears to have caught both the government and the international community by surprise. Our sponsor asked this Capstone group to address the following questions: How strong are Iranian opposition groups? Under what conditions could they pose a threat to the regime? To answer these questions, the project develops a framework comparing opposition groups and regimes across different historical cases. We argue the Iranian regime retains a strong grip on power, using both the threat of US intervention and domestic support for its nuclear program to rally support for the government. Unlike recent revolutions in the Arab world, the opposition stands little chance of toppling the government. Opposition movements lack the resources to seriously challenge the government. The project's framework also identified the conditions under which the Iranian opposition might gain enough strength to overthrow the regime. We summarize our findings in both a briefing and a paper. Our findings aim to help intelligence analysts decide which indicators to use when assessing the strength of Iranian opposition groups, and opposition groups in general. The project team briefed the sponsor in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2011.
Files in this item: 2Castillo_Spring2011.pdf (441.3Kb)(more files)
Acuña, Sarah; Akujuobi, Chris; Brigance, Nicholas; Kasper, Brian; Nearburg, Trevor ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: With the current public outrage at the environmental consequences of the oil spill in the Gulf, the president is likely to gain much needed support for his promotion of climate change legislation. A market driven switch to alternative and renewable energy will require a bill that puts a price on carbon and gives producers incentives to switch to and invest in cleaner, more efficient inputs and processes. Such a bill must meet two criteria. First, it must not harm the competitiveness of domestic producers relative to their foreign counterparts; and second, it must minimize emission leakage, thereby reducing global emissions levels. In this project for the US Department of Energy, we model the impacts of future US climate legislation. Policy scenarios are drawn from the precedence set by the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), which the US Senate did not pass in 2010 but which serves as a blueprint for the future. The goal of the ACESA is to motivate US producers to reduce emissions in five manufacturing industries: Iron and Steel, Non-ferrous Metals, Non-metallic Minerals, Pulp and Paper, and Chemicals. Collectively, these sectors make up the most energy-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) sectors in the world. While the bill did not pass in its current form, future legislation will incorporate its three main policies: instituting a cap and trade system in the US, output-based rebates on allowance purchases, and an import tax on embodied emissions.
Files in this item: 2Gawande_Spring2010.pdf (739.2Kb)(more files)
Burk, Judah; Ericson, Paige; Fillman, Kara; Graber, Jon; Jones, Elizabeth; Mitchell, Cheryl; Rodgers, Randy; Wilson, Naomi ( 2012)[more][less]
Abstract: This report assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the Joint Duty (JD) program as it is currently implemented at the CIA. Over the course of approximately six weeks, the Bush School 2012 Capstone interviewed - in-person and by phone - 160 CIA employees who completed a JD assignment. In assessing the qualitative and quantitative responses reported by personnel, we conclude that employees find value in the program, are well-integrated within their host agency, and achieve the program's mission of increasing employees' knowledge of other Intelligence Community agencies. Weaknesses hindering the program include: a disproportionately high number of employees choosing assignments at the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the National Reconnaissance Agency (NRO); insufficient manager guidance in selecting career-relevant assignments; failure to comply with regulations tasking agencies to maintain contact with their JD employees; employees experiencing significant difficulty returning to the CIA upon completion of their assignment; and inconsistent views regarding whether the program aids promotion potential.
Files in this item: 1Sievert_Spring2012.pdf (318.8Kb)
The Interagency Process in Support & Stability Operations: Integrating and Aligning the Roles and Missions of Military and Civilian Agencies in Conflict and Post-Conflict EnvironmentsBaetjer, Patrick; Cline, Chris; Hernandorena, Carlos; Polley, Brian; Rogers, Kate; Smith, Amanda; Voelkel, Tyson ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: This study addressed the support, stability, and reconstruction missions and tasks for the U.S. government in counterinsurgency warfare and suggests that interagency processes between civilian and military elements are in need of reform as a prerequisite for improving U.S. performance in complex counterinsurgencies. The project examined, assessed, and defined the nature of these problems in the context of historical case studies, policymaking, and current operations, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting several ways to improve agency and interagency structures, as well as the education and training of core interagency civilian and military professionals. The findings were presented at a conference on the topic, hosted by the Bush School and the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army.
Files in this item: 1Cerami_2007.pdf (2.302Mb)
Investigating the Current Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland - Determining al-Qa'ida's Targeting Strategy: Who's in the Crosshairs?Bacon-Ward, Ashley; Bell, Kevin; Brandt, Gretchen; Brown, Nathan; Figuerola, Andy; Foix, Marissa; Formanek, Mary; Holden, David; Vrdoljak, Denis ( 2009)[more][less]
Description: This project analyzed the current terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland both from homegrown terrorists and those who represent foreign terrorist organizations or who come to the United States to carry out an act of terrorism. Although there has been no terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11, the assumption that there is little support for al-Qaeda or the jihadi worldview from U.S. citizens or others is challenged by recent cases that reveal there are still individuals in the country who may become involved in terrorist activity. The study examined recent cases of thwarted attacks and failed plots to determine current capabilities and tactics possessed by terrorist groups and individuals. The students also looked at how successful al-Qaeda and those who share its views have been at finding new recruits for U.S. operations.
Files in this item: 2Daly_Spring2009.pdf (786.3Kb)(more files)
Sievert, Ronald J. ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: At the request of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence, a team from the Bush School conducted an inquiry to determine how the CIA responded to the investigations of the 9/11 and WMD Commissions. The goal of the project, which involved interviews with several commissioners and numerous key staff members, was to identify what actions the D/CIA must take when confronted with future commissions to ensure that the most accurate picture of the Agency is presented, while preventing the formation of inaccurate negative impressions created by the manner in which Agency personnel interact with investigators. At the conclusion of the Capstone, the students prepared a report and orally briefed Agency supervisors on their findings and recommendations.
Files in this item: 0
Princeton University Press ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: Students researched the diary of George Bush, 41st President of the United States, written during the time that he served as the Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing (1974-1975). Searching through archives and preparing text and footnotes, the students contributed work for an upcoming publication from Princeton University Press, expected in 2008. Students also presented their work to interested parties within the Bush School and Library.
Files in this item: 0
Landrum, William W.; Llewellyn, Benjamin B.; Limesand, Craig M.; Miller, Dante J.; Morris, James P.; Nowell, Kathleen S.; Sherman, Charlotte L. ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: Eurasia is a major source of oil and natural gas, and events in the region have a great potential to destabilize global security patterns. Supplies of natural gas and oil from Eurasia are vital for the functioning of European economies, and also important to US efforts to reduce its reliance on Middle Eastern energy resources. Presently, pipelines in Eurasia stretch across thousands of miles throughout unstable political regions. Disruptions in gas and oil supplies negatively affect the economies and politics of the region. Future pipeline projects – such as the Nabucco pipeline – are highly controversial, and Russia’s efforts to control oil and gas supplies in the region have recently intensified. Russia has gained increased influence in its neighborhood by consolidating control of regional energy production and infrastructure. This project claims that Russia is using its energy monopoly to further its geostrategic aims: ensuring political influence in nearby countries, obtaining a rise in commodity prices, and returning to multi-polarity in which Russia maintains clear regional hegemony. On the other hand, the US has four key interests in Eurasia. These include averting tensions with Russia, stabilizing the flow of oil and natural gas to Western Europe, maintaining US regional access for counterterrorism operations, and promoting democratic regimes to reduce Russian influence. In this light, the report argues that the US must promote development of pipelines that bypass Russian control and advance alternative domestic sources. These actions will ease European dependence on Russian energy, shield Europe from disruptions in supply, and decrease Russia’s ability to exert influence through energy policy. Other options include promoting a common European Union energy policy to increase influence in energy markets, push for increased gas storage across Europe to provide temporary relief against gas disruptions, and explore increased US and European cooperation with Russia on energy market access.
Files in this item: 1Thornton_Fall2009.pdf (12.24Mb)
Napper, Ambassador Larry; Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Ft. Polk, Louisiana ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: Two separate but parallel capstones combined intensive classroom study and civilian support field exercises to US military counterinsurgency operations, focused on the model of interagency Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Students visited JRTC in Louisiana March 2008 to play a PRT role during the training of a US Army Combat brigade en route to Iraq. Upon return from Louisiana, students prepared a written After Action Report and Lessons Learned that included recommendations for future PRT role players and trainers for the JRTC.
Files in this item: 1Napper_2008.pdf (1.421Mb)
Napper, Ambassador Larry; Nuclear Nonproliferation Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) ( 2009)[more][less]
Description: This capstone project conducted a focused examination of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and identified options for U.S. policy makers by designing a simulated interdiction operation. The simulation involved a cargo aircraft carrying sensitive nuclear components bound for Iran that stops for refueling in a Central Asian country, thus creating the opportunity for cooperative action. Capstone students joined students from Texas A&M's Department of Nuclear Engineering to construct and execute a mini-move simulation. In addition to a literature review and interviews with PSI experts, the students conducted an initial play of the simulation for the client along with an after action report.
Files in this item: 2Napper_Spring2009.pdf (744.8Kb)(more files)
Napper, Ambassador Larry; Department of State ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: Students worked to develop an extensive database on contemporary Uzbekistan through library and online research and interviews with leading American and foreign experts on Uzbekistan and the region. In order to explore the challenges, opportunities, and policy options that will confront U.S. policy-makers, Bush School students constructed and executed a multi-move simulation. The simulation did not provide definitive answers, as different players in the simulation and future U.S. policy-makers may reach different conclusions on the most effective and constructive policy options.
Files in this item: 1Napper_2007.ppt (254.4Kb)
U.S. Strategic Options towards Iran: Understanding the U.S.–Iranian Relations through Iranian Domestic PoliticsAbernathy, Jacob; Blanco, David; Kingsley, Marlee; Kramer, Michael; Lopacka, Karolina; Mauel, Heather; Peacock, Mike; Stotts, Katherine; Varela, Marques; Young, Krysten ( 2014)[more][less]
Abstract: The ongoing nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran have made greater progress on more substantial issues than any previous talks. This report argues that Iran’s unprecedented willingness to negotiate is strongly influenced by two factors: a united P5+1 and more importantly, a convergence of interests among Iran’s domestic factions. While there has long been knowledge of the challenges posed by Iran’s often-competing factions, no other study pinpoints them as a primary variable in the nuclear negotiations. Based on 50 interviews with high-level Iran experts and government officials and independent research, our study provides a unique framework for understanding the dynamics of Iranian domestic politics and its impact on the efficacy of U.S. policies. This study considers three scenarios the U.S. could encounter on July 20, 2014, when the current Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) expires: the P5+1 and Iran could sign a comprehensive deal; another interim deal could be reached; or negotiations could break down. The common thread throughout these recommendations is that the U.S. must find a way to capitalize on the factional convergence and avoid undermining it. The U.S. should always negotiate with Iran as a unitary actor, rather than favor certain factions; avoid measures that prompt one faction to undercut another faction; and understand that while not unique in having domestic competition, Iran’s political factions have a stronger effect on the success of negotiations than many have realized. If a comprehensive agreement is reached, we recommend pursuing limited engagement that seeks to broaden cooperation with Iran by working on issues that interest all Iranian factions, while also having deterrent threats in place should Iran renege. In the case of another interim deal, we recommend that the U.S. embrace balanced diplomacy, which increases the level of positive and negative inducements meant to persuade Iran to reach a comprehensive agreement. This recommendation, which mimics current U.S. policy, should focus solely on nuclear issues, unlike the first scenario. If nuclear negotiations break down, we recommend coercive diplomacy that involves gradual pressure, ranging from increased sanctions to authorizing the use of force. The challenge here is credibly threatening Iran without alienating the other P5+1 members or pushing Iran’s factions to unite against the United States. In all future negotiations, the U.S. should capitalize on Iranian domestic convergences and engage Iran as a whole.
Files in this item: 123 April Capstone Paper FINAL.pdf (309.5Kb)
Coffman, Amy Beth; Crump, James Andrew; Dickson, Robbi K.; Mueller, Meaghan; Pulis, Sarah L. ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: Only Ukraine's civilian and military leadership can determine the best course of action Ukraine should undertake to secure the Black Sea region (BSR). By analyzing Ukraine's precarious security environment and assessing the current security situation in the Black Sea, this paper first sought to identify a prototype for Ukraine's role in the BSR. However, the result of this search was a clear realization of Ukraine's unique situation. Ukraine is a nation with divisionary demographics, external pressures on internal politics, and mixed ideas about economic opportunities and priorities in a neighborhood of states with competing influences and capabilities.
Files in this item: 1Thornton_Fall2010.pdf (2.035Mb)