Call for White Papers: Social and Behavioral Sciences for National Security


The Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, part of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Academies of Sciences,  is leading an unclassified decadal survey sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to identify opportunities in the social and behavioral sciences (SBS) that are poised to contribute significantly to the analytic responsibilities of the intelligence community.  A key aspect to the decadal survey is the outreach to and input gathered from the scientific and, in this study, the intelligence communities.

Two separate calls for white papers are planned.

The present call seeks direct input from the scientific community into the initial work of the committee and workshop panels. Toward that end, we are seeking input from SBS academics and researchers with intelligence community experience and/or knowledge to provide insights into the intelligence community’s needs and challenges with respect to the use of SBS research for analytic capabilities. Submissions are due January 15, 2017.

White papers should address the following questions:

  1. What are some of the key challenges, questions, and needs facing the intelligence community regarding social and behavioral developments?
  2. What makes these challenges and questions important at this time and in the foreseeable future?
  3. What are the anticipated national security benefits for addressing these challenges and questions?

In response to these questions, it is anticipated that white papers will consider challenges and questions across a range of SBS domains with possible implications for national security and intelligence analysis. Such areas may include (but are not limited to):

  • Developments likely to affect human life and human capacity (e.g., advances in skill assessment and training; enhancements of physical capabilities; massive urbanization and implications of megacities; treatment of diseases and migration of disease agents; and access to food, shelter, and/or healthcare)
  • Developments likely to affect social stability and social/political institutions and relationships between citizens and governments or employers (e.g., perceptions of equity and justice; enhanced capacity to identify individuals’ characteristics and tendencies and advances in automation, emerging technologies and other changes to employment and communication)
  • Developments likely to affect governance, state capacity, and the viability of transnational regimes (e.g., expectations of government-provided services with regard to the varying characteristics and demographic profiles across populations; changes to government’s ability to satisfy the needs of citizens; and anticipation of fragmentation and consolidation of social and
    political units)
  • Development of global ideas and their uptake in different cultural and political contexts (e.g., social transmission of ideas through a variety of media and platforms; behaviors in response to strongly held beliefs; and implications for public well-being, trust in government, recruitment of terrorists and sympathizers; and destabilization of states)

Please note that while this study is primarily focused on analysis we also understand that collection plays a valuable role in facilitating the work of analysts. Thus, white papers identifying key challenges in the area of collection as they relate to the social and behavioral sciences are also welcome.

A second call for white papers focused on SBS solutions to the intelligence community challenges identified in this initial call for white papers will be announced mid-2017. To receive notifications of these requests, please sign up for the decadal survey listserv by emailing SBSDecadalSurvey@nas.edu.

For detailed information, download the complete instructions or visit National Academies website.


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