Israeli Intelligence – Balancing Conservatism and Innovation

September 30, 2021  |  5:30PM - 7:00PM
LBJ Plaza

On Thursday, September 30, 2021, The University of Texas at Austin’s Intelligence Studies Project, Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and Clements Center for National Security hosted Col. (Ret.) Itai Shapira, Former Deputy Head of Analysis, Israeli Defense Intelligence, for a public lecture on culture and innovation in Israeli intelligence. This lecture was the first in an occasional series of events focused on a comparative study of non-U.S. intelligence organizations. For event photographs, click HERE. See below to view the video.


Colonel (ret.) Itai Shapira is a retired colonel from Israeli Defense Intelligence (IDI) with more than 25 years of service as an intelligence analyst and manager on the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. During his military service, Col. Shapira served as an intelligence officer (G2) of a regional brigade and of an infantry division, including during some of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) hybrid warfare conflicts. Additionally, he served in various roles in the IDI’s Research and Analysis (RAD) Division on the general staff level – including as the Head of the Syrian Department, and the Deputy Head of RAD for Analysis. In this capacity, he oversaw RAD’s analytical products, tradecraft, methodologies, and strategic partnerships – supporting policy, strategy, force design and operations on the national, defense, and military levels. Col. Shapira integrated all-source analysis of strategic, political, military, technological, counterterrorism, targeting, economic, and social intelligence. He also served as the Head of the IDI’s “Red Team” Department, where he oversaw the production of alternative analysis pertaining to all issues engaged by the IDI as well as the development of disruptive thinking methods.

Col. Shapira is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom studying national intelligence cultures. He is also the Director of the Red Team Thinking Academy™, where he leads training provided to national security organizations in disruptive thinking. He has a B.A. in economics and philosophy from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from Tel Aviv University (with a thesis researching the influence of competitive intelligence over corporate strategy in the Israeli business world), and is a graduate of the Israeli National Defense College. Col. Shapira has published academic and professional articles about intelligence, Middle Eastern, and defense matters in Intelligence and National Security, War on the Rocks, Defense One, The National Interest, RealClear Defense, and Strategic Assessment.