The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes From the Field: Elise Burr '19

Elise Burr Notes from the Field

Elise Burr '19 interned at the Institute for the Study of War during the summer of 2018.

Elise Burr Notes from the Field

Elise Burr '19 interned at the Institute for the Study of War during the summer of 2018.

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Elise Burr '19 interned at the Institute for the Study of War during the summer of 2018. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

I served as an Iraq research analyst intern at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) during the summer of 2018. ISW is a non-partisan think-tank aimed at improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. ISW provides the public and U.S. decisionmakers timely intelligence on politics, terror threats, and military engagements in several Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

As an intern, I drew primarily from Arabic-language news sources and social media accounts to collaboratively write the Commander’s Critical Information Requirement (CCIR). The CCIR informs readers about the daily political and kinetic inflection points in Iraq and offers analytical assessments and predictive intelligence. In addition to writing the CCIR, I helped brief ISW staff and leadership on Iraqi events in morning meetings. Throughout the internship, I tracked and modified ongoing trends within Iraq using ISW’s proprietary software in order to preserve my analysis so future interns and staff may build upon my contributions. I tracked movements of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a conglomeration of militias with various degrees of Iranian backing for a long-term project. The project helps assess counter-terror strength, Iranian influence in Iraq, and Iraq’s participation in the Syrian civil war. For example, tracking PMF movements can help predict where pockets of ISIS are likely to reemerge.

At ISW I gained a deep understanding of Iraqi politics, geography and history, refined my Arabic-language skills, and tailored my writing skills to the policy community. I will apply these skills as a researcher in Dartmouth’s Government Department and as an Arabic drill instructor. I would like to thank the Rockefeller Center for helping to prepare me for my experience at ISW. Additionally, I am deeply grateful to the Squire family for their generosity in allowing me to have such a formative and enjoyable experience working for the Institute for the Study of War.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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