Rachel Parkin

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


The goal of this synthesis has been to develop a set of principles or strategies to guide the establishment of a permanent red team within the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Over the course of a decade spent working at NGA, I discovered a passion for analytic tradecraft and looking for ways I can push the agency toward a culture that allows critical and creative thinking to thrive. This paper combines my research about organizational culture and reflective narratives about events and observations that shaped my understanding of NGA’s current organizational culture. I identify significant blind spots in our organizational approach to teams, such as a shared assumption that possessing general intelligence guarantees a person can collaborate with others consistently and effectively. Rather than outlining specific processes the new red team, Counterpoint, should follow once employees are hired, I instead focus on how we should start with building a team culture that aligns with our mission rather than hoping the necessary pieces will fall into place without deliberate effort.