Policy Memo

(1) Write a 2-page memo to an appropriate international actor (the president of a country) that:

1) makes the case why one specific problem or issue is most pressing

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2) outlines three concrete actions that actor should take

3) assesses international and domestic political obstacles and consequences of these policy actions

So in sum, your memo could look something like this:

To: Donald J. Trump, POTUS

From: John Smith

Date: October 15, 2020

Re: The Threat of Zombies to Global Security

Introduction (state the problem and your proposed solutions in a brief but compelling way. 3-4 sentences)

Your first and last paragraphs are literally your most important in any memo. Your first paragraph is where you get to 1) introduce your policy topic, and 2) introduce your policy response. “With great power comes great responsibility” (Voltaire). You only get one chance to grab your readers’ attention and impress them. Succinctly make your point and state your policy goal. As in the example below, it is important to state who the policy is directed at, who will be implementing it, and what exactly the policy is.

The Problem (In some greater detail, why the problem of zombies is so urgent)

1. BLUF Statement or Bottom Line Up Front explanation of the problem or issue

Define the problem or issue: Don’t merely present data

State the problem in terms specific to the goals of the decision maker (s). Directly address the decision maker’s needs in the opening lines.

Tells decision maker why a policy change is needed.

Briefly detail the problem. Be careful to focus on the problem, not the background.

Show how you arrived at the findings or recommendations through analysis of quantitative or qualitative data

Draw careful conclusions that make sense of the data and do not overstate or misrepresent

Framework for Analysis:

Review the current policy-What is it and why is it done this way? Assess briefly how well it is or is not working.

· Statement on Necessity for Change: What circumstances (e.g., changes in prevalence of poverty, disease (Covid-19/Ebola), natural catastrophes linked to climate change? inequality, corruption, terrorism, people facing famine/starvation, leadership, civil unrest and stability, etc.) have changed that make a new approach advisable or necessary?

The Solution

Provide specific recommendations in response to the specific problem and avoid generalizations

(e.g., Three things the President should do in the next 100 days)

Choose the most significant policy options, then compare and contrast among the key options as well as with current policy.

Political Implications:

Analyze each option according to criteria you establish for evaluating options:

PEST (http://pestleanalysis.com/pest-analysis/)/SWOT

What are the pros and cons? What is feasible? What are the predictable outcomes?

(If there are significant risks, costs, or obstacles associated with implementation discuss them in this section.)

(What potential domestic or international political issues could arise as a result of implementing these policy recommendations or could prevent their implementation?)

Support your assertions with relevant data

Conclusion (extremely brief restatement of your argument)

Distill the conclusions succinctly in a concluding section and remind the decision maker(s) of the big picture, the overall goal, the need for specific action.

What is the goal of the policy recommendation? What will happen if the decision maker does not implement the recommendation? What will happen if she does? This is your opportunity to remind your reader of the urgency of your recommendation. This answers the “so what” question that reminds the decision maker(s) of the value of the recommendation. It should be pitched to the decision maker (s) primary concerns.

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