Announcing the Results of the 2015 Bobby R. Inman Award Competition (for student research and writing on intelligence)

By Robert Chesney
Friday, August 7, 2015, 5:54 PM

I am happy to report the results of the 2015 Bobby R. Inman Awardcompetition for student research and writing on intelligence, sponsored by the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

The recipient of this year’s award was Donald Kretz, a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas. His paper—Strategies to Reduce Cognitive Bias in Intelligence Analysis: Can Mild Interventions Improve Analytic Judgments?—makes research-based recommendations to help analytic managers systematically filter certain cognitive biases from intelligence analysis.

One of the semifinalists is Cullen Nutt, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his paper, Chronicle of a Correction Foretold: The Push and Pull of Nuclear Intelligence Detection, Nutt assesses U.S. and Israeli intelligence analysis of WMD programs in Libya and Syria, and develops a model to explain when it is most likely that Western intelligence agencies will detect the existence of a hidden nuclear weapons program.

C. Philip Nichols, a recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University, is the undergraduate semifinalist. In CT Strategies: Leadership Decapitation vs Mid-Tier Elimination, Nichols uses statistical methods to analyze the relative past success of competing counterterrorism strategies.

Over one hundred impressive papers from graduate and undergraduate students at dozens of U.S. universities and colleges were evaluated on their academic rigor, clear presentation, creativity, and the potential to contribute positively to the U.S. intelligence community. Information on next year’s Inman Award call for papers will be posted on the ISP website.

The Intelligence Studies Project was established at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013 as a joint venture of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the William P. Clements, Jr. Center for National Security. The Project’s mission is to improve understanding of intelligence activities and institutions through research, courses, and public events, bringing intelligence practitioners together with scholars, students, and the public.

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. He continues to serve as a teacher and mentor to students, faculty members, and current government officials while occupying the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.