2021 “Bobby R. Inman Award” Winners Announced

News | August 10, 2021

The Intelligence Studies Project of the University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce the winner and two semifinalists in its seventh-annual competition recognizing outstanding student research and writing on topics related to intelligence and national security.

The recipient of the 2021 “Inman Award” for student scholarship on intelligence is Dr. Alexandra Sukalo, a recent PhD recipient from Stanford University who focuses on Russian and Eastern European History. Her PhD thesis, The Soviet Political Police: Establishment, Training, and Operations in the Soviet Republics, 1918-1953, is grounded in extensive archival research and provides a comprehensive account of how Lenin, and later Stalin, created, deployed and controlled myriad intelligence and internal security organs to suppress restive nationalists in the western and southern Soviet republics.

The graduate student semifinalist is Suzanne Freeman, a PhD candidate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Political Science, specializing in security studies and comparative politics. In her paper, Achieving Accountable State Security Forces in Transitioning States: Building Democratic State Security Forces in the Former Socialist Space, Ms. Freeman designs and tests a qualitative theory that describes how democratizing states can ensure they establish and sustain accountable intelligence and internal security services. She applies her theory in three post-Soviet/Warsaw Pact case studies: Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.

The undergraduate semifinalist for 2021 is Ivanna Shevel, a recent graduate in Political Science and Law, Letters, and Society at the University of Chicago. Her paper, Briefing the President: The Manipulation of Analytic Uncertainty in Daily Intelligence, evaluates declassified Presidential Daily Briefing articles and describes how editors often remove or moderate the indicators of uncertainty in the process of shortening and adapting intelligence assessments for the U.S. president.

The winning papers were selected from over one hundred submissions by students at dozens of U.S. universities and colleges. Papers were evaluated on their academic rigor, presentation, creativity, and the potential to contribute positively to the U.S. intelligence community. The author of the winning paper received a $5,000 cash award and each semifinalist an award of $2,500.

The Intelligence Studies Project was established at UT-Austin in 2013 as a joint venture of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the Clements 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. Admiral Inman will retire from active teaching later this year.