Policy Paper Guidelines Consider yourself an entry-level analyst within the U.S. State Department. In response to a tasking from the assistant secretary, your section chief has directed you to provide a policy recommendation for the U.S. in regard to a particular issue. He wants you to present him with a summary of U.S. interests and objectives on the issue, various courses of action, a comparative analysis of the courses of action, and a recommended course of action. Since you are new, your section chief provided you with the following guidance: The purpose of a government policy paper is to provide a decision maker with a recommendation for a specific course of action. The focus can be on a narrow question, such as whether or not to increase the number of diplomats assigned to a particular consulate. Or a policy paper can recommend a comprehensive strategy in regard to a broad issue, such as what the U.S. should do about the Iranian nuclear program. Other types of government papers exist. Background papers provide brief information in response to a specific question. Analysis papers provide in-depth research on a specific topic or problem. Various agencies have their own titles and guidelines for different papers. This assignment is to write a policy paper. Policy papers can originate in different ways. A senior department official may assign the task to a staff member with some guidance about options to consider. Or, a staff member may take the initiative to submit a policy paper recommending a course of action. A classic example of a policy paper is the memorandum George Kennan wrote from Moscow in 1946, in which he recommended “containment” to be . policy for opposing the Soviet Union. Certain elements are critical to a good policy paper. First, an introduction gives the purpose of the paper, the recommended course of action, and how the remainder of the paper is organized. Second, the desired geopolitical outcome of the policy must be specified. This is usually stated in terms of . national interests and policy objectives. Maximum and minimum objectives may be specified. Third, some brief background is presented. This can include a brief historical overview and perhaps an assessment of relevant adversaries and allies. Fourth, various courses of action (COA) are presented. Two or 3 are usually sufficient. For example, one option may be military intervention, and another option may be economic sanctions. Each must be a legitimate alternative. Bogus COAs must not be created just to steer the recommendation in a preferred direction. COAs must be numbered and titled. The policy recommendation must be one of these COAs. Fifth, the COAs are analyzed and compared in regard to specific criteria, such as: likelihood of success, amount of risk, cost, time, capabilities, diplomacy, and so on. A table or matrix should be used to summarize the comparison. This analysis should identify one COA as superior. Sixth, the paper concludes by restating the recommendation in terms of the selected COA. High-quality government papers use a distinctive writing style. The writing is clear and straightforward, using only as many words as necessary. This style avoids obscure words, inflated vocabulary, passive voice, and confusing sentence construction. It is simple, direct, and well organized. It tells the reader the purpose and the structure of the paper. Government papers should not be written like mystery novels, inspirational testimonials, or creative short stories. The main goal of official writing is to put the content across clearly and concisely. Consider yourself an entry-level analyst within the . State Department. Your assistant secretary has directed you to recommend a policy for the . in regard to a particular issue. He wants you to present him with an analysis of . interests and objectives on the issue, various courses of action, and a recommended course of action. Outline Introduction: purpose, recommendation, and paper organization (about a half page) (Bottom-line-up-front means to briefly state your recommendation here.) Desired Outcome: national interests and policy objectives (about a half page) Brief Background (about 1 page) Courses of Action (about 1 page) (Remember to title and number each COA.) Analysis and Comparison of COAs (about 2 pages) (Be sure to use a table to summarize the comparison.) Conclusion: restate recommendation as a choice from the COAs (about a half page) Specific Requirements Title page, major section headings, in-text citations, and bibliography. 2000 to 3500 words of text, single spaced, with double spacing between paragraphs. MS Word document, Times New Roman, font size 12, 1 inch margins, use page numbers, left justification. A good regional map should be included, if appropriate. Other than the map, do not include photos or clip art. Use at least 10 sources. Use a minimum of 5 scholarly journal articles, such as those from Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Politics, International Affairs, Journal of Politics, International Security, and so on.