Non-State Actor Project

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Mercyhurst Intelligence Estimate:

Non-State Actors (NSA) In Sub-Saharan Africa 2007-2012 Outlook



Project Details:
Over the course of approximately ten weeks, Team Sub-Saharan Africa conducted research and performed analysis on the role of NSAs in Sub-Saharan Africa. This project also includes the evaluation of analytic methodologies and their effectiveness in creating our analytic product. The specific requirements included:

What role will non-state actors (NSAs) play and what impact will NSAs have in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years?
  • What is the likely importance of NSAs vs. State Actors, Supra-State Actors and other relevant categories of actors in sub Saharan Africa?
  • What are the roles of these actors in key countries, such as Niger?
  • Are there geographic, cultural, economic or other patterns of activity along which the roles of these actors are either very different or strikingly similar?
What analytical processes and methodologies were applied to the questions above and which proved to be effective or ineffective?

(For further explanation of project details, please visit the Terms of Reference page)


Guided Tour of the Wiki:

Located to the left, the navigation window provides the links to specific pages within the Wiki.

Key Findings: Based upon the team's analysis, the Key Findings reflect the research and analysis of the core requirements of the project.

Process and Methodology Report:This report highlights the three different methods the team utilized to answer the question: How do we measure the role of a NSA? Additionally, it discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Country Pages: This page includes SFARs (Short Form Analytic Report) for the forty-eight separate countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes an executive summary and a discussion utilizing ACH. The SFARs discuss the current role that NSAs play within each country, as well as their likely role over the next five years.

Geospatial Analysis: Using Community Walk, an interactive mapping website, the team created a Geospatial Analysis, which focused on the location of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses, and terrorist organizations in specifc regions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Terms of Reference: The Terms of Reference provides the reader with an overview of the requirements, methodology, challenges, resources, and administrative information.

Analyst Journals: Each Analyst Journal describes the methods and processes utilized by each team member. These journals assisted in creating the Process and Methodology Report.

NSA Scale Definitions: Within this page, definitions are provided for the NSA Scores and Role Potentials.

Operational Definitions: This page contains definitions for many of the terms within our Key Findings and Process and Methodology Report. These terms include Extra-Government, Government Sanctioned, NSA, State Actors, Supra-State Actors, Roles, and Role Potential.

Resources: Within this section, there are several spreadsheets that provide statistical analysis and the overall role potential for NSAs. Furthermore, it contains links to many of the websites used throughout the team's research.

Understanding the Wiki: A page describing how to understand the different numbers and models in each country page.

ACH 2.0 Download: This is the Palo Alto Research Center's website for Analysis of Competing Hypotheses. It includes a downloadable link for the free ACH software.

Supplemental Information:

Format of SFARs: Each report contains an executive summary that indicates the role of NSA within each country due to analysis regarding the Democracy Index, The World Bank's Doing Business Database, Failed State Index, and Transparency International. Additionally, the SFARs include a discussion section based upon ACH analysis that supports the findings within the executive summary. Each report concludes with a number corresponding to Analytic Confidence and Source Reliability.

Analytic Confidence: Scores based upon a 10 point scale, with 1 representing no confidence in the estimate and 10 representing high analytic confidence.

Source Reliability: Scores based upon a 10 point scale with 1 representing no confidence in the sources utilized and 10 representing high confidence in the reputation of the sources.

Words of Estimative Probability: Within each SFAR, words of estimative probability including highly likely, likely, even chance, unlikely, and highly unlikely convey the analyst's degree of certainty in their analytic estimates.