Before we discuss this call for papers, Divergent Options would like to publicly and sincerely thank Loren DeJonge Schulman of the Center for a New American Security.  Loren, without you this call for papers would never have happened.  Divergent Options is in your debt.  If you need anything in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


One of the four things we aspire to do at Divergent Options is to partner with research organizations to call for papers on a national security situation they have requested us to explore.  It is within this context that Divergent Options is proud to announce a partnership with Nate Freier of the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) at the U.S. Army War College.

In the summer of 2016 SSI began a year-long study of strategic and military risk and risk assessment.  The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff J-5 Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, and the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, Headquarters, Department of the Army sponsor SSI in this undertaking.

Since initiating the research, SSI has assembled a joint team of defense analysts, serving officers, and national security professionals to take a comprehensive look at the U.S. Department of Defense’s risk assessment challenges.  In the final analysis, SSI is endeavoring to arrive at meaningful conclusions for the entire U.S. Department of Defense by examining how the Pentagon defines, identifies, and accounts for risk in strategy development and strategic decision-making.


This call for papers represents an opportunity for potential Divergent Options authors to assist in SSI’s research efforts.  If you have ever wanted to be able to provide your ideas to the Pentagon, here is your chance.

Call for Papers:

In this call for papers, we invite potential authors to imagine that they are a Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense (SecDef).  The SecDef has asked you to prepare a two-page memo that:

–  Defines or describes strategic and military risk and their various components.

(Note that the SecDef views components of risk as akin to operational, force management, institutional, and future challenges risk as described on page 90 of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review).  

–  Describes national security situations that may take place from 2017 to 2027 that would require the U.S. Department of Defense to surge personnel or capability to address.  The SecDef asks that you describe national security situations that are the likeliest (e.g. routine), most dangerous (e.g. most militarily lethal), and most disruptive (e.g. highly demanding and unanticipated).

–  Describes how these surge demands will impact U.S. Department of Defense priorities and strategic and military risk assessments.

Deadline for Submission:  February 3, 2017.

Submission Papers To: