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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
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White Papers - Requests for Information

Outreach to and input gathered from the scientific and, in this study, the intelligence communities is an important aspect of this study.
As part of the information gathering, the decadal survey has two separate calls for white papers.

To view papers that were submitted in response to our first call for white papers, please click here.

Submitted White Papers - Second Call

Suggested citation: <Author last name, first name>. (2017). <paper title> [White paper]. Submitted to the Committee on a Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Available:

The deadline to submit a white paper has now passed. We would like to thank everyone who submitted a white paper in response to the second call. These papers were submitted in response to our request for research ideas and solutions in the social and behavioral sciences poised to address areas relevant to national security. Authors were asked to focus white papers on one of the following topics:

1)   Monitoring and measuring current and evolving events and phenomena, at the macro and micro level, in different societies (e.g., rise in leadership,     government relations, military actions, social stability or unrest, injustices, population sentiment, information diffusion and belief formation, etc.)

2)   Analyzing and developing markers for such events and phenomena to anticipate change

3)   Modeling and/or improving understanding of behaviors of relevance to national security (including those with multiple actors)

4)   Predicting specific events and/or reactions

5)   Building analytic skill sets (i.e., workforce development, selection, training, human-technology interactions, performance management)

6)   Strategies and techniques for avoiding errors and biases in decision making

7)   Decision support for national security initiatives

8)   Building coordination and improving communication (i.e., between researchers, analysts, policy and/or decision makers and among teams)

9)   Support systems in the workplace (e.g., for managing workloads, volumes of data/information, stressful events, etc.)

10)  Strategies for identifying and/or mitigating incidences of insider threat

The opinions and views expressed in the white papers are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Academies or the committee appointed to conduct the survey.

Principal AuthorInstitutionPaper (Title & Link)Description
Gary BerntsonOhio State University Predicting Violent Behavior: Collectively vs. IndividuallyThis paper critiques studies and efforts to predict violent behaviors.
Stephen CimbalaPenn State BrandywineNuclear Crisis Management in the Information AgeNuclear crisis management & military information operations coexist uneasily in a new world order that privileges speeded up decision making under uncertainty. Cyberwar conducted in advance of, or during, a crisis between nuclear armed states may create fears of being left without situation awareness while on the cusp of a nuclear first strike. Success in crisis management requires degrees of...
Jonathan VictorWeill Cornell Medical CollegeA response to the "Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Applications to National Security"To survive in a hostile and changing world, successful organisms must solve a handful of basic problems: they must find food, shelter, and mates while avoiding predators and other threats. Given the complexity of the environment, each of these necessities is, effectively, a massive and ongoing data-processing challenge, and one that must be met accurately and efficiently. Emerging insights...
Fritz AllhoffUniversity of Alaska, AnchorageThe New Arctic: National and Indigenous Security, Infrastructure, and Climate Change This research project is animated by the following questions: How do stakeholders conceptualize Arctic security? How does cross-cultural cooperation integrate with Arctic security? How should Arctic stakeholders approach strategic infrastructure? How can vulnerable Arctic communities best adapt to changing environmental conditions?
Ronald RensinkUniversity of British ColumbiaApplying vision science to improve data visualizationHow do we extract meaning from a vast stream of data? For security analysts, a critical part of doing this is seeing the data in visual form. If done right, such visualizations can allow our visual intelligence to spot trends, outliers, and other patterns in a set of data, patterns that might not otherwise be detected.
James GiordanoGeorgetown University Medical CenterDevelopment and Employment of Neurocognitive Science in Intelligence OperationsCognitive and social neuroscience may afford insights and tools to improve insight and capability to affect bio-psychosocial factors influencing individuals' and groups' cognition, and behaviors, which are involved in social volatility, aggression, and overt violence. Herein we propose steps toward such approaches, and address ethical issues fostered in such research and operationlized uses.
Vladimir KrylovCEPUThe inauguration of Donald Trump ended the epoch of submissional leadersThe election of the US president has brought the line under the total dominance of subordinate political leaders. The world entered a new era. Therefore, the intelligence community has a special responsibility.
Susan AaronsonGeorge Washington University Elliott SchoolThe Silent Erosion of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (FACB) and its Implications for Social, Political, and Economic InstabilityMany researchers have argued that worker instability is primarily due to changes in demographics or technology. However, over the past twenty years, around the world, individuals are less able to use two processes, freedom of association and collective bargaining (FACB) that provide them with a voice in society as well as in the workplace. The loss of that voice is frustrating many individuals.
Vincent AlcazarUnaffiliatedNeeded: A Framework To Succeed The OODA LoopPresents an overview of the OODA loop, discusses its shortcomings, and advocated for SBS research to form the structure of a follow-on model to be utilized by US security community organizations.
Irene WuGeorgetown UniversityMeasuring soft power with conventional and unconventional dataSoft power can be measured both in conventional and unconventional terms. Conventional measures include international exchange in migrants, visitors, education, and culture. It is possible to create a data set of soft power like the tables that generate national GDP figures. The unconventional measurements of soft power include the generation of digital content and connectivity.
Robin Gregory Decision ResearchDecision Making to Prevent Genocide: National Security vs. Saving Lives?Decisions to intervene to halt genocide involve tradeoffs among objectives that include national security, saving lives, and economic costs. These are difficult choices, yet helpful insights from descriptive and prescriptive decision sciences are often ignored. Current practices that lead to failings of our moral intuition could be improved through adoption of more structured decision processes.
Shann TurnbullInternational Institute for Self-governanceAssessing Risk and Resilience in Governance The paper identifies how network governance created by distributed decision-making as occurs in our brains creates a strategy for overcoming the physiological and neurological limits for humans to transact bytes and so information, knowledge and wisdom to survive complexity. Centralised decision-making in hierarchies simplify complexity by filtering data that can obscure existential risks.
Robert HubalUniversity of North CarolinaProfessional Social Competency Identification, Assessment, and TrainingWe focus not just on job-specific capabilities for our students but also on surrounding skills that include adaptability, collaboration, and communication. In this we mirror intelligence organizations, where such professional social skills are equally critical to analysts' success. We describe evolving student recruiting processes and technology-enhanced assessment to address these needs.
Reeshad DalalGeorge Mason University, Department of PsychologyEnhancing Decision Making by Cybersecurity EmployeesThis white paper discusses how to enhance decision making by analysts in Security Operations Centers (SOCs) and Cybersecurity Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs). Strategies discussed are: (1) Selecting good decision makers, (2) Training better decision making, (3) Using cognitive prompts to reduce biased decision making, and (4) Using mnemonics to enhance mental models.
Brad AllenbyArizona State UniversityWhite Paper on Weaponized NarrativeThere seems to be something in the air: democratic societies around the world have had a rough time recently. Some, such as Turkey, Hungary and Poland, appear to be moving towards what Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, calls an “illiberal democracy,” soft authoritarianism veiled in the trappings of traditional democracies. The United Kingdom votes to Brexit from the European Union...
Judi SeeSandia National LaboratoriesFirst Principles Analogs for the Behavioral SciencesThe social and behavioral sciences could more effectively communicate critical tenets of human behavior to nonpractitioners by implementing rules or guidelines analogous to the first principles used in other scientific fields.
Judi SeeSandia National LaboratoriesMultimedia Instructional Resources for NonpractitionersThe U.S. lacks a national effort to promote widespread understanding of the value and contributions of the social and behavioral sciences. One approach to improve awareness is to convey critical information to nonpractitioners in an accessible and engaging multimedia format.
Judi SeeSandia National LaboratoriesDeveloping a Predictive Model for Vigilance PerformanceOne critical gap in the extensive body of research on the topic of vigilance, or sustained attention, is the inability to predict the expected level of vigilance performance a priori, given a planned system design. One solution is to undertake a meta-analysis of the entire vigilance literature to create a comprehensive predictive model.
Valerie HudsonTexas A&M UniversityWomen and National Security; Kin Groups, Environments, and SecurityThere are strong linkages between the situation, status, and security of women, on the one hand, and the stability, resilience, and security of the nation-states in which they live, on the other. There is a pressing need for support of research and data collection/analysis which probes those linkages. Two are highlighted in this white paper: kin group dynamics and female environmental exodus.
David BerubeNCSUThe State of the Social Science of NanoscienceA criticism and a set of recommendations for the next generation of social science research in nanoscience and other emerging scientific and engineering fields.
Vladimir KrylovCEPUDonald Trump is the America's response to the challenge of history"Challenges of history" arise during the moments of a fundamental qualitative transformation of social, political and other relations in the social order. At this time, a social order for outstanding leaders is realized. To analyze their perceptions by different social groups, special models are needed to form the image of a leader in communication.
Can UslayRutgers UniversitySecurity and Paton Satisfaction: Issues and RecommendationsWe call upon social scientists to develop a comprehensive scale to properly measure patron satisfaction by explicitly focusing on issues such as the waiting experience, changes to security processes, randomization, and impact of staff attitudes on overall satisfaction. More broadly, we call for the use of marketing principles in an area where it has not previously been applied.
Jonathan HerrmannNational Intelligence UniversityResilience against the Weaponized Narrative and DisinformationOutlines a research agenda to bolster U.S. defenses against weaponized narrative and disinformation. U.S. adversaries don't need to defeat the military- only persuade Americans against intervention. Weaponized narrative is the key to that persuasion. Using cognitive flaws, adversaries undermine America's national will. But the U.S. can learn to detect and reject this manipulation.
Robert WestDePauw UniversityA Social Cognitive Neuroscience Approach to Information SecurityIn the paper we describe a program of research using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to examine the neural basis of decision making related to information security. We also review behavioral work related to the effects of individual (self-control, moral belief) and cultural differences that moderate both intentions and behaviors related to information security.
Julie MendosaNational Intelligence University and DEATransnational organized crime: an evolving challengeHighlights the value of research on networked transnational illicit actors.
Curtis RasmussenDepartment of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Cyber and Infrastructure AnalysisIntellectual Styles as a Predictor of Intelligence Analyst Job Performance This paper frames the relevance of studying intellectual styles as a means for predicting job performance of candidates for analytic positions within the national security community by: (a) describing the value of understanding intellectual styles; (b) providing evidence of the validity of intellectual styles as predictors; and (c) describing the current state of intellectual styles research.
William ShelbyPurdue UniversityConsiderations for the Study of Combat-Capable RobotsThis paper briefly describes some of the the potential concerns arising from using robots for combat operations and why this research topic will be important to discussions about power and conflict in the near future.
Aleksandra BielskaVALCRI ProjectThe Psychology of Intelligence Analysis: Where Are We and Where Should We Be?This paper highlights the unexplored potential of psychology on the field of intelligence analysis. It proposes one or more international workshops to map psychology's impact on intelligence. These workshops would also foster long-term collaboration on a range of outputs, including recommendations on the training of intelligence professionals.
Michael FranzLoyola University MarylandAnalyzing the Mindset of Religiously Inspired TerroristsMy research focuses on terrorists who are would-be world transformers. My approach differs from analyses regarding them as being evil, or simply insane, or immoral, or as disingenuous power-seekers. By contrast, my research takes seriously the religious claims of purportedly religious terrorists, examining their activity and self-understanding as a manifestation of disordered spirituality.
Diane MayeEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityArtificial Intelligence in Shaping Preferences and Countering the Radicalization Process More research is needed in how Artificial Intelligence can shape preferences and decision-making, specifically regarding the radicalization process of violent extremists though the internet. We envision algorithm-based technology can be used to deter radicalization by influencing the user's preferences and decision-making outcomes.
Andrew PetersonGeorge Mason UniversityDeveloping Ethical, Legal, and Policy Analyses Relevant to the Use of Machine Learning Algorithms in National SecurityThis paper describes ethical, legal and policy issues that arise from the use of machine learning in systems and how this interacts with human operators making decisions based on system output.
Laura SteckmanThe MITRE CorporationCultural and Linguistic Influences on Sociotechnical Space: Some General Challenges and OpportunitiesNational security researchers must place more emphasis on how culture and language influence peoples' choices regarding communications and technology usage. Increased emphasis on and investment in examining the role that culture and language play in the internet environment will ultimately lead to improved intelligence collection and analysis, strategic communications, and operational planning.
Laura SteckmanThe MITRE CorporationCombining Narratology and Psychology to Examine Multinational Cultural Motivators, Expression, and PerceptionsThere are several social science disciplines that have been underdeveloped for national security interests, such as narratology, cultural psychology, and narrative psychology, that offer new opportunities to deepen knowledge of how other populations view themselves and others, providing additional information to support to national security objectives
Michael TennisonCurrently UnaffiliatedWhite Paper adapted from "Security threats versus aggregated truths: Ethical issues in the use of neuroscience and neurotechnology for national security"The research and deployment of dual-use neuroscience and neurotechnology for national security and intelligence purposes raises novel ethical, legal, and social issues within the context of tension between the immediacy of security needs and the slower aggregation of scientific truths.
Bear BraumoellerThe Ohio State UniversityInternational Order and Armed ConflictAlthough we are in a period in which international order is in question, we know surprisingly little about the relationship between order and international conflict. This paper argues that, given the importance of the subject matter, increased attention to this question is crucial. It is also very feasible, given that many theoretical and empirical "building blocks" are already in place.
Bear BraumoellerThe Ohio State UniversityStatistical Methods for Evidence-Based National Security PolicyDespite the importance of government policy, there are surprisingly few formal studies of the likely causal impact of a policy prior to implementation. The evidence-based policy movement seeks to redress this situation by providing reliable causal inferences from experimental and observational data. This paper recommends encouraging more research on methodologies appropriate for EBP analysis.
Leah WindsorThe University of Memphis, Institute for Intelligent SystemsLanguage, Nonverbal, and Audiovisual Cues: Multimodal Approaches to Understanding Political Behavior The present line of inquiry presents a novel integration of methods from language, audiovisual, and nonverbal elements, and is grounded in the premise that individuals reveal latent information about their true preferences through the words they use as well as through nonverbal behaviors.
Joel KuleszaLos Alamos National LaboratoryStandardization of Color Palettes for Scientific VisualizationDemonstrates the importance of color palette choice in scientific visualizations to avoid introducing misinterpretations, errors, and/or biases. Recommends convening an interdisciplinary team to study and recommend color palettes based on intended application(s) and audience(s) to minimize those undesired outcomes.
Joshua SpencerLos Alamos National Laboratory3D Geometry Visualization Capability for MCNPThe white paper describes the current state-of-the-art of geometry visualization in MCNP and suggests a project to develop a new 3D visualization tool for MCNP. This effort would improve human technology interface by reducing errors and biases in decision making and will also streamline the geometry modeling work flow.
R. Bowen LoftinUniversity of MissouriIncreasing the Analyst's "Bandwidth" for Perception and Understanding of Large, Multivariate Collections of DataWe propose experiments to understand the best manner of mapping large sets of complex, multivariate data onto multiple human senses and the development of a theory of multisensory perception for the intelligence analyst. In this way, we believe that the analyst's bandwidth for finding patterns, anomalies and relationships in such datasets will be enhanced.
Petra BradleyUniversity of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of LanguageA National Research Agenda on Insider ThreatThis paper explores the topics critical to developing a research program to assist with understanding and preventing insider threat. Recommendations include focusing on detecting potential insiders, improving threat reporting, and exploring how organizational culture can be improved to reduce risk of insider threat.
Stephen MarrinJames Madison UniversityIntelligence Studies, Intelligence Analysis, and Multidisciplinary LearningOverview of a multidisciplinary research project that could be of use for this survey which evaluates the degree to which other fields can help intelligence analysis practitioners improve their practices and outcomes.
Zlatan KrizanIowa State UniversityIdentifying How Sleep Shapes Human Intelligence Gathering and DiagnosticityThe purpose of this White Paper is to identify relevant gaps in the knowledge of how sleep intersects with interrogation practices and, more importantly, to outline research priorities for identifying the role of sleep in HUMINT operations.
Michael MaxwellCASL, University of MarylandThe Role of Test and Evaluation in Social and Behavioral SciencesThis paper emphasizes the importance of Test and Evaluation (T&E, also known as Independent Verification and Validation, or IVV) in USG-supported research on social and behavioral sciences. We argue that language-related research provides a model of T&E for other social and behavioral sciences.
Giuseppe LabiancaUniversity of KentuckyThe Political Independence Index: Ranking Actors' Power in Signed Social Network GraphsThe Political Independence Index (PII) assesses the relative power of nodal positions specifically for social networks with positive and negative ties. PII has already been used to show that changes to a nation's size of military in the Post-World War II era can be predicted by its power position in the network of international alliances and conflicts. Continuing work is needed to improve PII.
Lisa PearlUniversity of CaliforniaLarge-scale sophisticated linguistic monitoringA key means of monitoring current and evolving events is through their linguistic signatures in text-based information sources. Given the vast quantities of available data, reliable automated analysis is vital for assisting human intelligence in detecting credible threats. We discuss sophisticated linguistic monitoring systems that operate accurately on large-scale datasets in real time.
Robert HornStanford UniversityInformation Murals for Intelligence AnalysisWhite paper addresses increasing need to portray wider and deeper context and high level complexity as well as detail in modern analysis and decision making for the intelligence community. Describes recent developments in the preparation of large (5 x 15 foot) information murals with various geopolitical subject matter Suggests wider applicability and readiness for additional research.
Jason SpitalettaJHU-APLThe Need for Intelligence Community Sponsored Influence Research Recent operational experience has exposed weaknesses in US capability that require redoubled effort to conduct research on the mechanisms and methods of influence and their effective application. The US Government should increase resourcing for influence related activities due to its growing importance to national security objectives.
Mark FrankelInternational Neuroethics SocietyResponse to the National Academy of Science Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security Nine Areas of Neuroethical Importance In response to the National Academy of Science Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security and call for commentary, members of the Emerging Issues Task Force of the International Neuroethics Society offer their insights here on nine areas of critical importance.
Wendy ChambersUniversity of Maryland's Center for Advanced Study of LanguagePredicting Terrorist Attacks by Automating Integrative ComplexityThe identification of integrative complexity (IC) in historical, English-translated verbal content of terrorist group members has resulted in some positive predictions of terrorist attacks, months in advance. Pursuing the supervised automation of IC in multiple languages for terrorist group rhetoric could serve national and international security goals.
Paul KantorRutgersA Program for Better Human Computer Collaboration to Counter TerrorismFor human-computer studies: (1) laboratory for the IC to study system performance, on real analysts, real problems; (2) Federal research funding for academic ideas on instrument design, and validation (laboratory could be "virtual"). To help universities do classified research: (3) develop semester-long visits as "scholar in residence" at a secure facility, connected to the virtual laboratory.
Aude OlivaMITThe Cognitive EnvelopeThe Cognitive Envelope is a framework allowing the mapping of spatiotemporal interactions of technology and cognition, and examining the temporal and spatial scales over which we have cognitive access.
Jennifer LernerHarvard UniversityImproving national security through research on emotion and decision makingThis paper describes the exponential growth in the field of emotion and decision making and highlights ways to harvest this research for improved national security
Michael FundatorRutgers UniversityImpact of Behavioral and Social Sciences on medical and intelligence studies.Combining experience in medical and intelligence studies is a large issue and can be explored through known examples. However, the contribution of Behavioral and Social Sciences and their involvement in the above issue is a special theme and requires special focus and attention through different examples such as clinical trials, different types of illnesses and diseases, and approaches applied
Richard CincottaStimson CenterAssessing Political Demography's Potential Application to Foreign Policy, Defense, and Intelligence AnalysesPolitical Demography is a growing field at the intersection of political science and demography. Building on scientific demographic projections, it is particularly adapted to forecasting. Several successes show the potential of further work in this field for security analysis. Unprecedented current trends in aging and migration make this a prime moment to accelerate progress in this field.
Fred RobertsRutgers UniversityBig Data, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and National SecurityThe age of big data has revolutionized the social and behavioral sciences, making it possible to draw conclusions from information in ways heretofore impossible. This makes it possible to address challenges from national security where individual and group behavior and social and economic forces play a central role. To benefit from this possibility, we face research challenges explored here.
Polinpapilinho KatinaOld Dominion UniversityComplex System Governance: Implications and research directionsThe purpose of the white paper is to call attention current development in Complex System Governance (CSG) as an approach to diagnose and resolve deeper systemic issues affecting society. Realities of modern society are presented. A call-out of central questions ripe for answering is provided along with a call-out for benefits of advancing fundamental knowledge in CSG.
Colin PhillipsUniversity of MarylandAn integrated approach to language capabilities in humans and technologyIn a rapidly changing world it is important to be able to flexibly develop human and technological language capabilities in any language, on short notice. This requires an integrated approach to the science of language.
Joseph FargnoliRITRE CorporationThe root causes of National Security and the opportunities for the application of the principle of the oneness of humanity in a new framework of action.Our goal in this paper is to outline 6 pillars that must be addressed globally to have true, lasting and enduring National Security of the United States. By identifying these factors key questions are raised about our frame of reference in addressing the challenges of our day and the promise that our direct experience can offer as new approaches are sought to these enduring challenges.
Olusegun OwotomoUniversity of Texas at AustinOpioid epidemic and homeland security: an integrative framework of intricacies and proposed solutionsAn integrative framework to describe the intricacies of the opioid epidemic, demonstrate the link between the opioid epidemic and homeland security, and highlight opportunities for intervention.
Ashley Richter  IndependentTowards Ubiquitous Sensing: Staking Out the Best Paths To And Through the Upcoming 3D Data AvalancheThis paper is an overview of the possibility of 3D imaging systems becoming ubiquitous, highlighting the human response to and potential uses of 3D phenomenological data collection, sharing, and analysis; based on historic and anthropological trends.
Cameron MacKenzieIowa State UniversityBetter Models for National Security Strategic Decision MakingThis white paper describes what research is needed in order to provide better mathematical and decision-making models for national security policy makers.

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