STRATEGIC ESTIMATE POINT PAPER AY 21-22
1. The C299 Strategic Estimate Point Paper is worth 30% of the C200 block grade. This assignment is due at the end of the C200 block, after you have completed all of the online C200 lessons and the C200A block exam. This is not an easy assignment, but one you can complete successfully if you follow the instructions. This is a formatted staff product. It is focused on the General Staff skills area of CGSOC. Your paper will be based on the information from the C299 Strategic Estimate provided, but you will turn in a 3-page paper. You will follow the format exactly. The easiest way to do that is to save the instructions document with your Last name _ First name_ C299 Strategic Estimate Paper, as the file name. Then delete all of the instructions on the first page through the line below the instructions. Then cut the text instructions in the first part of the paper after 1. BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION. Cut the text instructions in the second section as well. You will then have a shell with the correct format. This is a staff TTP you can use anywhere to match the local format.
2. There are three objectives for the C299 Strategic Estimate Point Paper. First, it is a review of the content of the Strategic Estimate along with the concepts of DIME, Validity, Risk and logic (Paul & Elder elements of thought). The second goal is to evaluate writing IAW the Army Writing Style and CGSOC standards. The third goal is to acquaint students with a typical General Staff officer dilemma of having to prepare a staff product for a senior leader that fits a constrained format, but at the same time requires thought and effort to select the most pertinent information. That is the type of work a typical General Staff officer does regularly.
3. Understand that writing clearly and concisely is the basis for good staff work, but as a General Staff officer on higher level staffs, it also involves selecting only the most critical information for the (experienced but multitasking and time pressed) senior leader in a confined format. This paper replicates a typical action officer dilemma of having too much information to fit into the confines of the required format. Focus on the key topic as indicated in the instructions below. Writing clearly, and very concisely, is a critical staff skill that is often more difficult than writing a longer paper. Different commands will have different formats (OSD, Joint Staff, Army Staff, EUCOM, etc.). Failure to follow the local format will either result in your work being wasted or having to redo it to fit the format. Headings, numbering, and spacing are part of the format provided. The focus on citations is to get you in the (good) staff officer habit of providing to your boss where information (like assumptions, directives, facts, etc.) is coming from so it can both be verified, greater context obtained if needed, or the work can be updated by you or your staff officer replacement weeks or months or years after you are gone. Bottom Line Up Front is part of the Army Writing Style, not a separate item. It is how you present information in a way that enables a senior officer to quickly grasp the key points. The Thesis and key topic should be in the introduction (that is a form of BLUF). The Recommendation should be the first item in the second section (also a way to use BLUF). The secret to brevity is to write according to the Army Writing Style of short clear statements in the active voice and focusing on the key topic. Finally, remember that as a General Staff officer the purpose and audience for the product you are producing must always be kept in mind as you write.
4. You must type your answers, using the format provided in this document. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER FORMAT. The format you must follow is described below. The text in the example below provides guidance on the use of the format and preparation of the paper, and also depicts the physical layout of the paper (single line spacing, indentation, numbering and lettering – 12 font Arial per AR 25-50). The subject of the Congressional Background Paper (Kaliningrad) has been provided to you in the C299 Strategic Estimate Slides. Use the Army Writing Style mandated by AR 25-50 which involves starting with the Bottom Line Up Front – BLUF (i.e. thesis in the introduction). Cite sources IAW ST22-2, Appendix A, example #7. (Also see the first example in “Example Note Formats” located in the C200 folder with these instructions). To cite Power Point slides, use the slide number instead of a page number. The correct use of citations is to treat the subparagraphs in the Background Discussion section (a – f) as paraphrases of the C299 Strategic Estimate Slides. That means there should be a minimum of six (6) endnote citations!! If you use a direct quote, cite it correctly. The paper consists of two parts:
a. Two-page (limit) Background/Discussion; and
b. One-page (limit) Conclusion and Recommendations. End notes do not count against the page limit.
You MUST also submit CGSC Form 1009W with your Point Paper in Blackboard at the same time. In the 1009W, complete the header on page 1 and the left side on page 2. Use the rubric on the second page to check your work.
4. You may refer to the online C200 lessons, readings, and references if you need to review key concepts of the strategic environment block. Review C299 Reading A; “Guide to Strategic Estimate Development” to review what information is in each section. You may not discuss the content of this assignment with anyone other than a DDE faculty member. You may have help with proofreading, but cite that help in the first footnote/endnote.
5. This writing requirement is worth a total of 100 points. Your grade will be based on four criteria:
a. Substance (accurate depiction of information, ideas, analysis from Strategic Estimate): 75 points
b. Organization (adherence to prescribed format and guidelines): 5 points
c. Style (tone, precision, correct citations): 10 points
d. Correctness (spelling, punctuation, grammar): 10 points
SCENARIO AND SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS
It is December 2021. You are an Action Officer (AO) and a member of a EUCOM J5 (ECJ5) Joint Planning Group (JPG). As directed by the Chief of Staff through the J5, your JPG has completed an update of the Strategic Estimate (see C299 slides provided) for the Baltic Region to get the Commander up to speed on the situation in the region regarding Kaliningrad and provide the basis for a commander’s estimate and, if necessary, development of plans.
Following the successful briefing of the Strategic Estimate (where it was approved), the Combatant Commander learned that he would have to travel to Washington to join the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at congressional hearings on the situation in the Baltic region regarding Kaliningrad. The Combatant Commander will depart for Washington sometime in the next few days.
You have been tasked to prepare a paper for the Combatant Commander to use in testimony before congressional committees and in meetings in Washington regarding Kaliningrad. The intent is to provide analysis of the Strategic Estimate regarding Kaliningrad, not to regurgitate content.
Use the format provided below the line
ECJ5 Action Officer’s GRADE, NAME
APPROVED BY: ____________ DATE
STRATEGIC ESTIMATE OF THE BALTIC REGION
1. BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION. Include the heading above with your name. The paper will not exceed three pages. The focus is Kaliningrad and is designed to provide maximum information in a manner that is easily absorbed. The format is appropriate for use whenever the need for presenting summarized information arises. You will use no more than two pages to summarize the Strategic Estimate that you were provided. This is a narrative summary, not a cut and paste. Within this paper, you must include key points from each section of the Strategic Estimate: Introduction, Strategic Environment, Strategic Direction, Strategic and Operational Challenges, Potential Opportunities, and Assessment of Risks. Use complete, concise sentences and cover sub-points clearly and concisely. Do not use bullet points. Use the headings below to delineate each section of the paper. Cite your source. Start with a. Introduction.
a. Introduction (including key topic and thesis)
b. Strategic Environment
c. Strategic Direction
d. Strategic and Operational Challenges
e. Potential Opportunities (Follow this paragraph format and show how each instrument of national power is used in each option from the Strategic Estimate using DIME)
Option 1: Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic
Option 2: Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic
Option 3: Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic
f. Assessment of Risks & Mitigation (from the Strategic Estimate)
2. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS. You will use no more than one page for your Conclusion and Recommendation.
a. Recommendation. This very short sub-paragraph is the opportunity for the Action Officer (you) to apply your judgment, weigh the alternatives, and recommend one of the options presented in the approved Strategic Estimate – Up Front (BLUF).
b. Validity assessment. A substantial paragraph covering the validity assessment of the recommendation and any issues the other two options may have had because of validity. Ensure you address the Validity criteria of Feasible, Acceptable, and Suitable.
c. Risks and mitigation. Identify potential risks and mitigation for your recommendation using the Ends-Ways-Means-Risk construct.
d. Justification. Ensure you justify your recommendation by explaining why it is superior in comparison to the other possible options. You may use (optional) the evaluation criteria derived from the Strategic Direction found on the last slide. You may use the decision matrix slide as a tool (optional) to help you determine the superior option. If you include the chart / matrix as an appendix, ensure you explain what it means.
e. Conclusion. A conclusion restates the thesis and argues why the author’s position is correct without adding new information.
Correctly formatted end notes go here