The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a 501(c)(3) organization and produces strictly non-partisan, non-ideological, fact-based research. ISW seeks to promote an informed understanding of war and military affairs through comprehensive, independent, and accessible open-source research and analysis. ISW’s research is made available to the general public, military practitioners, policy makers, and members of the media.
ISW’s research methodology relies on both primary and secondary sources, enabling researchers to develop a comprehensive understanding of the situation on the ground. In order to analyze military and political developments in any given area, ISW’s research analysts must wholly understand the systems of enemy and friendly forces. They must also understand the population demographics, physical terrain, politics, and history of that area. This lays the analytical foundation for understanding the reasons for particular developments and fulfilling their assigned research objectives. ISW analysts also spend time in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in order to gain a better understanding of the security and political situation and to evaluate the implementation of current strategies and policies. Our researchers compile data and analyze trends, producing a granular analysis of developments in areas of research, producing an accurate, high-resolution, timely, and thorough picture of the situation. ISW’s research methodology guarantees its success and commitment to improve the nation’s ability to execute military operations, achieve strategic objectives, and respond to emerging problems that may require the use of American military power.
Research Integrity Policy
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a 501(c)(3) organization and produces strictly non-partisan, non-ideological, fact-based research. ISW seeks to promote an informed understanding of national security through comprehensive, independent, and accessible unclassified research and analysis. ISW’s research is made available free of charge to the general public, military practitioners, policy makers, and members of the media.
Non-partisan: ISW is strictly non-partisan. Should an ISW scholar or affiliate take a position on a policy issue, they do so speaking for themselves and not for ISW, its Board of Directors, or other scholars or employees. Should ISW staff participate on political campaigns, they must inform ISW’s leadership of their affiliation and conduct all such work outside of business hours and in their personal capacity. ISW researchers and publications do not advocate for specific legislation at any time. They will not seek to advance commercial or legislative interests of ISW funders.
Integrity: All of ISW’s research and analysis is unclassified, fully documented, and of the highest integrity. ISW staff must inform ISW leadership of any conflicts of interest, such as if they own significant stock or equity in a commercial interest closely related to their research focus. If a conflict of interest occurs, ISW will not accept funding from that interest for that staff member’s work. Likewise, ISW employees may not accept payment from lobbying or advocacy groups even in their personal capacity.
Funding: In order to sustain and grow our research programs and achieve our mission, ISW is funded entirely through the support of foundations, corporations, and private individuals. ISW does not accept government funding for research products. Research is driven by events on the ground and based on the priorities of ISW’s leadership and analysts. Foundations may sponsor research. Business entities that do not provide gifts to ISW may occasionally commission brief studies for internal use only on topics related to ISW’s primary research areas, such as a risk-evaluation of a security environment. ISW accepts such commissions on a case by case basis, very rarely, and only when the aforementioned conditions are met.