Strategic Thinking and Collaborative Processes: Intelligence to Decision-Making Fellowship

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Create and release your Profile on Zintellect – Postdoctoral applicants must create an account and complete a profile in the on-line application system.  Please note: your resume/CV may not exceed 3 pages.

Complete your application – Enter the rest of the information required for the IC Postdoc Program Research Opportunity. The application itself contains detailed instructions for each one of these components: availability, citizenship, transcripts, dissertation abstract, publication and presentation plan, and information about your Research Advisor co-applicant.

Additional information about the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program is available on the program website located at:

If you have questions, send an email to  Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email. 

Application Deadline
2/28/2024 6:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

Research Topic Description, including Problem Statement:

'Intelligence is only as good as the use made of it' *1. Intelligence and decision-maker partnerships are a type of cross-functional collaboration. The characteristics of cross-functional collaboration (CFC) that create benefits for organizations are why this collaboration is difficult for leaders to cultivate and manage. Organizations typically recognize the benefits of cross-functional (also known as 'intra-organizational', and 'cross-team') collaboration between members of diverse functions, which can result in innovation, creativity, problem-solving and several other employee development opportunities *2. However, the diversity necessary to create CFC often involves separate reporting lines, divergent experiences and perceptions, and teams with different cultures and priorities. Although CFC should result in performance gains, leadership intervention is necessary for this collaboration to realize its full potential *3.  Sub-optimal collaboration between decision-makers and intelligence groups can nullify even the most insightful intelligence and negatively impacts organizational capability and culture, reducing the potential effectiveness of national security and law enforcement operations. Organizations expect intelligence functions to influence decision-making—without authority. Studies consistently observe poor relationships between intelligence and decision-making groups in law enforcement institutions such as negative attitudes, resistance to collaboration, dissatisfaction, conflict and low levels of trust *4. Further, practitioners and scholars find that these cultural barriers cause these institutions to 'struggle to innovate successfully', develop 'suboptimal strategists', and enable cultural vulnerabilities that 'lead to suboptimal strategic outcomes' *5. Previous research in public and private sectors provides substantial theoretical and practical implications that assist leaders to address CFC problems.6 However, these theories remain largely unexamined in national security and law enforcement environments highlighting several unanswered questions and valuable research opportunities.

Example Approaches: 

Research proposals could approach this issue from a variety of disciplines, or as a cross-disciplinary effort. The problem aligns with social and behavioral science and psychology and management fields of study. An obvious approach would be from an organizational psychology perspective. Given the limited research on this topic there would be benefit in quantitative (survey instruments), qualitative (interviews or focus groups) or both of these in a mixed-methods approach within NIC agencies. This could include measuring concepts using previously tested tools for measurement. Further, interviews and focus groups could elicit richer explanations of the unique NIC institutional inter- and intra-functional and agency drivers and barriers to collaboration, situational awareness, intelligence integration.

Relevance to the Intelligence Community: 

Effective collaboration is a significant enabler of strategic thinking practice and culture. In Defense, national security and law enforcement environments where strategic challenges are wicked and uncertainty is constant—effective collaboration between intelligence and decision-making functions is a priority to facilitate 'strategic innovation'.7 This research has the potential to improve: intelligence integration and collaboration technologies; political, strategic, economic and ’drivers of conflict’ research and analysis; ‘red-teaming’, ‘war-gaming’, scenarios and course of action analysis; enhancing cognition, comprehension, NIC recruitment, training, talent and career management, learning and decision-making.  


  • 1 Alach Z (2011) 'The Emperor is Still Naked: How Intelligence-Led Policing Has Repackaged Common Sense as Transcendental Truth', Police Journal, 84(1):75–98.
  • 2 Jeske D and Calvard TS (2020) 'A review of the literature on cross-functional integration (2010–2020): trends and recommendations', International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 29(2):401–414, doi:10.1108/IJOA-04-2020-2144.
  • 3 Simsarian-Webber S (2002) 'Leadership and trust facilitating cross-functional team success', Journal of Management Development, 21(3):201–214, doi:10.1108/02621710210420273.
  • 4 Ratcliffe J (2005) 'The Effectiveness of Police Intelligence Management: A New Zealand Case Study', Police Practice and Research, 6(5):435–452. • Burcher M and Whelan C (2019), 'Intelligence-Led Policing in Practice: Reflections From Intelligence Analysts', Police Quarterly, 22(2):139–160, doi:10.1177/1098611118796890.
  • 5 Darroch S and Mazerolle L (2013), 'Intelligence-Led Policing: A Comparative Analysis of Organizational Factors Influencing Innovation Uptake', Police Quarterly, 16(1):3–37, doi:10.1177/1098611112467411.
  • Ryan M (2021), 'Thinking about strategic thinking', The Vanguard Occasional Paper Series, no.1, doi:10.51174/VAN.001/ILJO7539; Hocking A (2022), 'Preparing for the future: key organizational lessons from the Afghanistan campaign', The Vanguard, no.2, doi:10.51174/VAN.002/HAWQ9727.
  • 6 Bhatti SH, Kiyani SK, Dust SB and Zakariya R (2021) 'The impact of ethical leadership on project success: the mediating role of trust and knowledge sharing', International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 14(4):982–998, doi:10.1108/IJMPB-05-2020-0159.
  • 7 Darroch S and Mazerolle L (2013), 'Intelligence-Led Policing: A Comparative Analysis of Organizational Factors Influencing Innovation Uptake', Police Quarterly, 16(1):3–37, doi:10.1177/1098611112467411.
  • Tu Y, Zhang Y, Lu X and Wang S (2020) 'Differentiating two facets of trust in colleagues: How ethical leadership influences cross-team knowledge sharing', Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 41(1):88–100, doi:10.1108/LODJ-06-2019-0260.
  • Majchrzak A, More PHB and Faraj S (2012) 'Transcending Knowledge Differences in Cross-Functional Teams', Organization Science, 23(4):951–970, doi:10.1287/orsc.1110.0677.
  • Tosti DT (2007) 'Partnering: A Powerful Performance Intervention', Performance Improvement, 46(4):25–29, doi:10.1002/pfi.121.   

Key Words: Intelligence and decision-maker collaboration; intelligence integration; strategic thinking; strategy development; innovation and creativity; intelligence-driven decision-making; course of action analysis; leadership and culture; hierarchical institutions; national security; law enforcement.


Postdoc Eligibility

  • U.S. citizens only
  • Ph.D. in a relevant field must be completed before beginning the appointment and within five years of the appointment start date
  • Proposal must be associated with an accredited U.S. university, college, or U.S. government laboratory
  • Eligible candidates may only receive one award from the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program

Research Advisor Eligibility

  • Must be an employee of an accredited U.S. university, college or U.S. government laboratory
  • Are not required to be U.S. citizens
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree.
  • Academic Level(s): Postdoctoral.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (12 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (6 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (16 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (45 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (11 )
    • Other Non-Science & Engineering (2 )
    • Physics (16 )
    • Science & Engineering-related (1 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (30 )

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