Agency Culture

Image of man thinking with an image of the American flag overlaid over him.

Each US government department and agency brings unique culture, expertise, authorities, and interests to the interagency process. An agency’s values and philosophies define its organizational culture and shape its view and approach to any given situation. In most cases, this is a benefit, since it provides decisionmakers multiple options and approaches on national security issues.

Sometime, however, culturally misunderstandings can get in the way of effective interagency coordination. National security professionals must not just recognize, but demonstrate through words and actions respect for other agency’s contributions and unique perspectives. National security professionals should also seek opportunities that broaden their understanding other their partner agencies culture, roles, authorities, and interests.