Strategy and Policy Analysis Research

For the primary research projects, the NSSP and discipline academic advisors work with the Scholar (student) to help define and focus a research proposal. After acceptance of the proposal, the next milestone, typically due within the semester in which the proposal is accepted, is completion of a well-researched and well-thought-out outline with a list of references. After a thorough NSSP review of the outline and meeting with the proposer, a draft paper is written which includes attention to subject matter, structure, composition and craftsmanship. This is due usually within the following semester. A detailed critique provided back to the scholar. 

Depending on the student’s time-line for graduation the student can add material and modify the topic, the substance and conclusion in the document in consultation with an academic advisor. The scholar then completes a final draft, which is reviewed in preparation for the final report. The process is expected to be ongoing for up to three years culminating in a final paper to be reviewed and placed on this NSSP web site. The article may be presented in UNM or other academic conferences such as the international Five Eyes Conference in which NSSP students have presented. Subsequently, the work may be upgraded for a formal journal publication and also used in various academic ways including developing into a graduate thesis. 


Below is a select list of past research projects (primarily summer or one semester projects) written by NSSP scholars prior to 2016.

  • CIA Reorganization and Its Impact upon Strategic Analysis
  • Juche Today: Understanding North Korean Governing Philosophy in a modern Context
  • Ethical Implications of Private Business Practices in US National Security Organizations: Recent Case Studies
  • Espionage: China’s Black Operations against the US
  • ISIS – State or Not?   Implications of Recognition upon US Policy and Strategy
  • Should Kurdistan be recognized as a Sovereign Nation by the International Community
  • Kurdistan and US Support for the Peshmerga
  • The 1389 Battle of Kosovo and its Role in Contemporary Serbia
  • Motivation behind Ethnic Cleansing
  • What are the effects of the ISIS conflict and sanctions on public health in Syria and surrounding regions?
  • Multiculturalism in Europe: An Examination
  • Hitler and Putin
  • Civil War in South Sudan
  • Effects of High Impact Typhoon on North Korea and the Potential for a Loss of WMD Command and Control
  • Applying the Lessons of Engagement:  Why the United States Should Negotiate with Iran and How it can Preserve an Agreement

Listed below are multi-semester and year projects resulting in research papers either individual or with several authors. One or more will be published on the NSSP web as part of this new series of pre-publication papers sponsored by NSSP at UNM. They are models of the extended process described above for developing analytic research on a global and national security topic.

1.  Research projects mentored by Professor Sandy Cochran as an outgrowth of his courses on US Policy and Strategy since 2014 include: 

  • Transformation, Transition, and Reassessment: US Policy and Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004-2006 (2014)
  • Policy Betrays Strategy in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2014)
  • Way Ahead for ISIL Defeat: Draft Proposal for POTUS (2014)
  • Grievances in Somalia: Civil War, State Decline and Spread of Religious Fundamentalism (2015)
  • Targeted Killings: Special Operations or UAVs? (2015)
  • Race for the Arctic: Climate Change and the Last Frontier for Imperialism (2015)
  • Espionage: China’s ‘Black Operations’ Against the US (2015)
  • Executive Power Post 9/11: Resurgence of the Two-Presidencies Thesis (in conjunction with POLS requirement) (2016)
  • The Diplomatic Side of World War II: Relations Between Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin During Humanity’s Darkest Years (2016)
  • Role of Diplomacy, Foreign Aid & Military Strength in the 21t Century (2016)
  • The Draw of the Caliphate: Combatting the Islamic Recruitment (2016)
  • The French Way of War: What Might Be Expected for Recent Conflict Against ISIS (2016)
  • Hybrid Warfare: The War Ahead? (2016)
  • How the United States “Won” the Korean Conflict: Cold War Context (2016)
  • New Insights on US Policy and Strategy during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Middle Phase: Time to Reassess (2016)

2.  Research projects mentored by Prof James Tegnelia in 2012-4 and partially supported by a grant from the Potomac Foundation of Washington, DC.

  • How Many Nuclear Warheads Does China Have?
  • Did China Enrich Weapons Grade Uranium with Gas Centrifuges
  • The Frontier Works Organization, Pakistan’s Premier Construction Company
  • Material-based Estimate of Nuclear Warheads in China
  • Pakistan: A Shift in Regional Influence
  • Stabilizing Pakistan: Explaining the Barriers to Peace, Stability, and Nuclear Nonproliferation in South Asia 
  • Effects of High Impact Typhoon on North Korea and the Potential for a Loss of WMD Command and Control
  • Applying the Lessons of Engagement: Why the United States should Negotiate with Iran and how it can Preserve an Agreement
  • Internal Pakistani Issues Shaping and Shaped by Nuclear Proliferation