Synthesizing a Response

Writing a White Paper
Keep all of this between 2,700-3,300 words. That forces you to brevity, which is a characteristic of good military writing: Say what needs to be said, no more, no less. Be direct.
As you finalize your efforts, please keep in mind the Course Objectives, restated here (italics added):1. Analyze key factors affecting complex national security issues. (Analyze)2. Assess concepts for solving complex and ill-defined problems in a team environment. (Evaluate)3. Construct responses to complex national security issues which integrate whole-of-government, airpower, and spacepower efforts. (Create)4. Evaluate responses to complex national security issues which integrate whole-of-government, airpower, and spacepower efforts. (Evaluate).
SCENARIO:Saudi Arabia has kidnapped a Mexican millionaire of Lebanese descent in retaliation for an editorial he wrote decrying Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Lebanon. The millionaire, whose principal residence is in Mexico, was visiting extended family in Lebanon when he was kidnapped. Although the millionaire is believed to be in a secret location in Riyadh, the Saudis have denied any involvement. The Mexican president has personally pleaded with the U.S. president to help secure the release of this high-profile Mexican citizen as soon as possible, and has made it clear she would not forget it if the United States sided with Saudi Arabia in this matter.
Assignment: Synthesizing a Response(also see the attachment, additional White Paper Guidance)a. Defines the current operational environment and key considerations using the PMESII or PMESII-PT construct.b. Recommends a desired end-state and specific objectives to respond to the problem based on higher-level strategic guidance.c. Recommends and provides rationale for a whole-of-government US approach which achieves the end-state with acceptable risk. Focus on US Instruments of Power (IOPs), not those found in allies or partners, as you are writing from the perspective of an NSC Interagency Working Group, not an alliance or coalition working group.
Sample writing a White Paper
1. IntroductionGive a short general overview of what this issue is and why it is important, so the reader understands what the paper is going to discuss. Normally not more than 10% of allowable word count.2. Operational EnvironmentList the factors for each of the elements that are important in understanding the dynamics involved in this specific operational environment, bringing out the relevant capabilities and problems that should play into your LOE solutions.If it’s a significant factor that will help define the issue or affect a solution, it should go in this paragraph. Remember the distinction between interesting, and interesting and relevant. And give these as factual statements of conditions; this is not the place to suggest solutions. PMESII-PT:• Political:• Military:• Economic:• Social:• Information:• Infrastructure• Physical Environment:• Time:
3. Desired End State and Desired Conditions (don’t forget USSOCOM capabilities/goals)You should provide your group consensus here on what you will recommend to the NSC as the overall desired end state that will create a favorable operational environment for the US, and then the specific conditions that will achieve that end state. The desired end state is the ultimate safe release of the kidnapped Mexican millionaire without damaging the existing relationship/partnership between the US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). A well-stated condition should provide the NSC with a present tense state of being that can be used as an indicator of success (e.g., “Internal security and military forces are able to manage the terrorist threat to acceptable levels with only intelligence assistance from the US.”). As stated in the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Vision, one of the core functions of the organization is to respond swiftly to crises worldwide and accomplish high-risk, politically-sensitive missions ( (Links to an external site.)/sof-vision-and-strategy). Given the sensitivity to damaging the U.S.-Saudi relationship, SOF offers a low signature and small footprint means of extracting the kidnapped Mexican (one of USSOCOM goals).Consider the conditions that result in the desired state. Determine what are the barriers and challenges to achieving the desired state. In other words, the approach (short and long terms; security, political and economic obstacles) should address the challenges/barriers (KSA is non-democratic; dominated by autocratic family dynasty/monarchy, human right violations, etc) and leverage the opportunities resulting in the desired state.The strategic guidance should provide the foundation for your end state, and your PMESII-PT analysis should allow you to define and validate the desired conditions necessary for the end state.4. Problem Statement, Problematic Conditions and Broad ActionsThe scenario announcement provided a general problem statement to tell you the nature of the issue to be addressed and to direct your research on the applicable factors and dynamics. Here is a refined general problem statement based on your PMESII-PT analysis, and then created problematic conditions and broad actions.” How does the U.S. assist Mexico with the release or extraction of the Mexican Millionaire without causing irreparable damage to the strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia?”Here you want to give the overarching problem statement that defines the scope of your effort, and then break that down in specific problematic conditions that you will tackle. Do not forget to provide a broad action for each problematic condition (see JP 5-0, pp. IV16, i.e, “how the operation should transform current conditions into desired conditions”). Those broad actions, logically, will evolve or shape your LOEs. It’s important to draw a clear linkage between the problematic conditions to the desired conditions in the next section, and then both should frame your LOEs that will form the ways and means bridge to get from the problem statement and problematic condition to the desired end state and desired conditions ends.So now you have where you want to go, and the capabilities and obstacles that should be addressed to get there. That brings you to the LOEs that will link those via ways and means.5. Lines of EffortMany groups decide to build a LOE for selected PMESII-PT/DIME elements/IOPs as shown here; other groups blend several of the elements/DIME IOPs into cohesive LOEs that tackle a given desired condition. Either way is fine. Your LOEs should address all the problematic conditions and show a feasible, suitable, and acceptable set of actions (the more specific the better) using viable means that will deliver the desired conditions with acceptable risk.Keep in mind that for this course’s whole-of-government approach, you can recommend several LOEs to be conducted in combination. You do not present several and recommend only one of them, which you would do if you were planning operations for a Joint Task Force commander. Remember to include a basic risk assessment for each LOE.• LOE 1 (Diplomatic):• LOE 2 (Military):• LOE 3 (Economic):• LOE 4 (Information):
6. Application of Airpower, Spacepower, Cyber (If Applicable)Discuss here what specific airpower capabilities you intend to use in those LOEs. Consider all of the AF core missions; the Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power for America document is a good source for that. Keep in mind that airpower includes air and cyberspace and that the other Services have airpower assets such as carrier strike groups. And with the addition of our newest branch, the Space Force, it would be acceptable to include this as well if desired and appropriate.7. ConclusionWrap it up here, putting all this in the lap of the NSC for a decision by reinforcing the main points.