To carry out its mission, the IC relies heavily on collaboration among its constituent elements and with external partners. Examples of these activities are below.

U.S. and Foreign Military

The Intelligence Community and the military work hand-in-hand to keep our nation and our deployed troops safe. Each branch of the military has its own intelligence element, which is both part of the military and part of the IC. Together, these military and civilian IC elements collect strategic and tactical intelligence that supports military operations and planning, personnel security in war zones and elsewhere, and anti-terrorism efforts. In war zones and other high-threat areas abroad, military and IC civilians may be co-located to maximize resources.

At times, the military may take action on intelligence collected by non-military IC components. Such was the case with the raid on Usama bin Laden’s compound in Afghanistan in 2011. The CIA collected information on Bin Laden’s whereabouts that the military used to execute an operation that resulted in Bin Laden’s death.

Similar to foreign liaison relationships, contact between military intelligence officers and their foreign military counterparts is critical to force protection and overall national security, particularly when conducting joint maneuvers on foreign soil and dealing with transnational threats. These relationships fill in information gaps, increase operational awareness, and improve understanding of local attitudes and tensions, particularly in areas where cultural complexities and norms are not well-understood by U.S. personnel.

State and Local Law Enforcement

Information-sharing relationships between the IC and state and local entities take many forms. A number of formal mechanisms exist to analyze, use, and disseminate information and intelligence in a way that is most useful to individual entities. For example, the DNI’s Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Partners Board informs senior IC officials and key federal partners on the information needs and challenges facing state and local customers and communities. ODNI also participates in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council, composed of federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government partners who convene regularly to identify and prioritize critical issues that can be addressed through improved intelligence and information-sharing.

In addition, FBI-sponsored Joint Terrorism Task Forces have been created in order to widen the breadth of the FBI’s surveillance. Information-sharing between intelligence bodies and law enforcement is facilitated through online information-sharing tools such as Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal and Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS).

Foreign Intelligence Agency Counterparts

At times, other countries have access to information that we do not—for example, in parts of the world where local governments, paramilitary organizations, or populations are hostile towards the United States. The U.S. also works with other countries to collect and share information on transnational issues that affect all parties, such as terrorism, cybercrime, drug trafficking, and weapons proliferation. These relationships are mutually beneficial. They develop our liaison partners’ capabilities to better pursue mutual threats, they leverage partner networks to fill U.S. information gaps, and they strengthen U.S. influence with our partners.

Perhaps the longest-lasting intelligence collaboration is with the "Five Eyes" group, comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The alliance developed out of World War II-era agreements between the U.K. and U.S. to share signals intelligence, which has evolved into a broader undertaking. In 1955, the arrangement was extended to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Cooperation among the Five Eyes has provided the United States with significant intelligence benefits in all mission areas, including counterterrorism, counter proliferation, cyber, regional challenges, and global coverage.

Private Sector

The ODNI’s Intelligence Science & Technology Partnership (In-STeP) program identifies science and technology needs across the IC and examines how those needs can be met by private-sector partners. Another program, the Intelligence Ventures in Exploratory Science & Technology (In-VEST), acts as the catalyst for accelerating private sector research and development (R&D) activities to meet select In-STeP-identified challenges. In-VEST alerts industry and academia to the types of technology the IC in anticipated to require in the coming years so they can invest appropriately now.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) invests in high-risk/high-payoff research to provide the U.S. with an overwhelming intelligence advantage. As the only research organization within the ODNI, IARPA works with the other 16 IC elements to address the IC’s most challenging problems that can be solved with science and technology.

IARPA performs no research in-house; rather, it funds researchers in colleges, universities, companies, National Labs, and other organizations, in fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, asset validation and identity intelligence, bio-security, chemical detection, cyber security, high performance computing, human judgment, linguistics, radio frequency geolocation, and secure manufacturing of microelectronics.

In addition to using traditional contracts and grants, IARPA uses public challenges to award cash prizes to researchers for innovative solutions that achieve specific goals. To date, IARPA has funded over 500 unique organizations (academia, small businesses, large businesses and non-profits). Over 1,500 unique bidders have been part of research proposals and abstracts submitted to IARPA.