When we started Divergent Options our main effort was our Options Paper.  Our Options Paper used a specific template and focused on assessing a national security situation, providing multiple options to address the situation, and articulating the risk and gain of each option, all in 1,000 words or less.

While we will continue our Option Paper line we are pleased to announce our Assessment Paper.  Our Assessment Paper will still have a 1,000 word limit but will focus on assessing a national security situation only.

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Jane Doe has served in Organization A in Country X and Country Y.  She presently works at Organization B where she does Z.  She can be found on Twitter @address and writes for website dot com.  Divergent Options’ content does not contain information of an official nature nor does the content represent the official position of any government, any organization, or any group.

Title:  Assessment of the Threat Posted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  Note:  Titles will always begin with “Assessment of”

Date Originally Written:  September 25, 2014.

Date Originally Published:  September 29, 2014.

Author and / or Article Point of View:  Author is a retired military member. Author believes in Responsibility to Protect. And / or the article is written from the point of view of Latvia towards Russia, Vietnam towards China, or the U.S. towards the Civil War in Syria.

Summary:  If left unchecked, ISIL will establish a safe haven in Iraq and Syria where violent extremists and emerging violent extremists from around the world can congregate, assimilate, receive training, and be dispatched globally to conduct operations targeting civilians.  Beyond the conduct of operations, ISIL operatives dispatched worldwide will also be able to establish local cells to expand their influence.  Note:  “Summary” will be five lines of text maximum.  We strongly suggest you write your entire article first and then write the summary.

Text:  United States President Barack H. Obama withdrew United States forces from Iraq in December 2011[1].  The December 2011 withdraw date was set by President George W. Bush in 2008 when he signed a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq.  Following the departure of United States forces from Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pursued a number of policies that made the Sunni population of Iraq, formerly empowered by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, feel marginalized, excluded, and neglected by the Maliki government[2].  The lack of a stabilizing United States presence and Sunni marginalization laid the groundwork for the rise of ISIL.  Note:  This part of the article, called “Text,” is what will be counted against the 1,000 word limit.


[1]  Ryan, M. (2016, September 26). Who made the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq? Retrieved June 23, 2017, from  Note:  We prefer APA format for citations, which can be easily done via Citation Machine.

[2]  Something else in APA format.

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