The Putin regime’s invasion of Ukraine has fueled speculation that military conflict between Russia and NATO-member states is in the cards and that it could lead to World War III. What do you think? Publish your best guess with Strife for a chance to win £150.
Strife Blog Managing Editor Michael S. Smith II is inviting graduate and postgraduate students and faculty in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London to participate in an anticipatory analysis competition that will consider the implications of the situation in Ukraine for global security.* This competition is intended to help familiarize participants with the challenging work of developing intelligence estimates. Participants will play the role of intelligence analysts from governments of their choice. In this role, participants have been tasked with developing intelligence estimates for presentation to policymakers who are interested in understanding the broader implications of the conflict in Ukraine for global security.
Participants are encouraged to utilize a bottom line up front (BLUF) style (present your conclusion first, including probability assessment(s), followed by a discussion of relevant indicators, etc. in subsequent paragraphs). For example, an opening might read:
The implications of conflict in Ukraine for security in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 2022
Both Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric suggest that the Putin regime is willing to risk triggering a broader conflict. While it is assessed with moderate confidence that military conflict will occur between Russia and NATO-member states, it is assessed the likelihood of this resulting in a more expanded conflict that would resemble a third World War and involve a Russian military invasion of BiH and proximate aspirant NATO-member states is remote. However, it is assessed with moderate confidence that Putin will encourage his allies in the Western Balkans to attempt to trigger a conflict here in BiH, viewing a period where NATO-member states are focused on countering his offensive in Ukraine as an opportune time to foment instability in Western Balkans that can further fuel immigration into Western Europe. Thereby, creating yet more economic costs for NATO-member states and conditions that are very likely to exacerbate domestic tensions linked to polarized political environments in several Western European nations whose governments are major donors to stability projects in BiH.
Estimates will be published at Strife Blog as received. They will be judged—with the benefit of hindsight—by the management team at Strife in January 2023. The assessment that delivers the most prescient and incisive analysis of potential future developments linked to the situation in Ukraine during 2022 wins.
Submission window: March 15-June 15, 2022
Award issue date: January 31, 2023
Winner takes all!
Submit your estimate via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The competition award has been donated by Mr. Smith.
Michael S. Smith II
Mike Smith is an internationally recognized expert on the influence operations of Salafi-Jihadist groups, open source intelligence (OSINT) specialist, and an international consultant in the fields of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE). During the decade prior to beginning his PhD research in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London in 2021, his work with prominent think tanks and as the chief operating officer of Kronos Advisory, a security consultancy he cofounded in 2011 with Medal of Honor recipient Major General James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret), was at the nexus of strategic and tactical threat analysis, technical mitigation support, and the formulation of United States national security policy. His perspectives on opportunities to more effectively manage threats linked to al-Qa’ida and ISIS were regularly sought by members of the United States Congress, officials with the Executive Office of the President of the United States and governments comprising the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which, in 2017, invited him to serve as the keynote speaker during a counterterrorism practitioners conference hosted at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Headquarters in London. Also in 2017, he served as an expert witness during the United States Senate’s high-profile hearing focused on terrorists’ and Russian intelligence’s uses of popular social media platforms to wage online influence operations.
His work investigating the activities of al-Qa’ida and ISIS, along with his perspectives on issues affecting global security have been covered extensively by major news media in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the Middle East. In 2016, for his collaborations with anti-ISIS hactivists, Foreign Policy magazine listed Mike among the “Moguls” in its annual list of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” and Fast Company magazine ranked him 14 on its annual list of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.”
Mike has (co)authored pieces published by a diverse mix of influential policy and news platforms, including Foreign Affairs, Lawfare, CNN.com, FoxNews.com, The Times of London/Sunday Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Time magazine’s Battleland Blog and World Politics Review, and his scholarly work includes a chapter on ISIS in the first edition of the Routledge Handbook of International Relations in the Middle East (2019). Prior to beginning his PhD research, which examines OSINT’s utilities in P/CVE initiatives, Mike also served as an adjunct member of the faculties of Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Global Security Studies and MS in Intelligence Analysis programs, for which he developed and taught a course focused on the OSINT discipline.
He received his MA in Intelligence and Security Studies, with Graduate Certificate in Intelligence Analysis, from The Citadel and his BA in Arts Management from the College of Charleston.