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The Intelligence Studies Project of the University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce the winner and two semifinalists in the eighth-annual competition recognizing outstanding student research and writing on topics related to intelligence and national security.
The recipient of the “Inman Award” is Christopher Dictus, a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Virginia. His paper Spying on Friends and Foes: An Analysis of the President’s Daily Brief seeks to identify patterns in how the actions of allied, neutral, and adversary states were assessed by the CIA using quantitative techniques with declassified PDB articles from the 1960s. Chris is currently a predoctoral fellow with UT-Austin’s Clements Center for National Security.
The graduate semifinalist is Sean Keeley, a 2022 Master of International Affairs graduate from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His paper Cracks in the Monolith: U.S. Intelligence Assessments of the Stalin-Tito Split and the Sino-Soviet Split chronicles the history and related intelligence surrounding these two seminal Cold War events. Sean’s paper also considers the policy implications of the respective intelligence judgments (one flawed, and the other more accurate) in these cases.
This year’s undergraduate semifinalist is Thomas Plant, a 2022 graduate of the College of William & Mary earning a BA in International Relations and Hispanic Studies. His paper Patriotism Divided: The Impact of Mis- and Disinformation During the Rally ‘Round the Flag Effect argues that the current U.S. information environment is sufficiently vulnerable to domestic and foreign manipulation that a future president may not enjoy the benefit of overwhelming public support were the country to be attacked or seriously challenged overseas. Tom is the co-founder of DisinfoLab, an undergraduate research lab at William & Mary, and is a former Research Fellow at the Project on International Peace and Security.
The winning papers were selected from dozens of high quality submissions from students at a wide range of U.S. colleges and universities. Papers were evaluated on their academic rigor, presentation, creativity, and the potential to contribute positively to the U.S. intelligence community. The author of the winning paper received a $5,000 cash award and each semifinalist was awarded $2,500.
The Inman Award recognizes more than six decades of distinguished public service by Bobby R. Inman, Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Admiral Inman served in multiple leadership positions in the U.S. military, intelligence community, private industry, and the University of Texas. His previous intelligence posts include Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice-Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Director of the National Security Agency, and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.
You can find all three papers below.