Volume 1 in the Policy Playbook Series by The Intelligence Community, LLC

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Just a few months ago we embarked on our first publishing project, the eBook you now have in front of you. It was an experiment to see if the online community that had grown organically out of the LinkedIn group “The Intelligence Community” might be able to produce a selection of essays with fresh policy considerations. Just days after we had selected our editors and advertised to the group that we were accepting chapter proposals, I found myself at a professional mixer at the Newseum in Washington D.C. I was chatting with a journalist from a Libertarian magazine, explaining our project, and he looked puzzled. “Why Syria?” he asked. I was equally puzzled at his question since it seemed that the rumors of chemical weapons in Syria were placing increasing pressure on the Obama administration to come up with a coherent policy to back up the President’s “red line” comments from the previous summer. While major news outlets seemed to be rehashing the same information, I wondered whether there might be any helpful thought leadership in the ether of our virtual community. Sure enough, our initial invitation to participate produced enough food for thought to perhaps open up some new discussions. Who could have predicted that the book would be complete (enough) to share at such a momentous time for Syria?

Our hope for this book, as the first volume in our Policy Playbook Series, is that it stirs discussions in our groups and deeper study of the formation of the best policy for Syria. It is a complex country with a rich history. The calculus, as President Obama put it, is further complicated by the presence of chemical weapons, but it was calculus all along. There is nothing simple about the Middle East in general, or Syria in particular, so we would not imagine a simple solution.

The ideas in this book belong to the authors of the essays and are not representative of the rest of the LinkedIn group, “The Intelligence Community” or members of Nevertheless, we hope that these essays inspire additional blog posts and thought leadership. As we discover new ideas, corrections and additions, we will endeavor to push them out as new editions of the eBook. We welcome you to participate by joining us on LinkedIn or on if you have relevant education or work experience.