Course Overview: The Information Environment Advanced Analysis (IEAA) Course is a two-week (10 workday), graduate-level, educational program certified since 2012 by the Joint Staff/J7. It is the only Department of Defense (DoD) Joint-certified course focused specifically on the seventh Joint Function: Information. The course teaches analysts, planners, and operators to work more effectively together, in a highly interactive and coordinated curriculum, on the open-ended, complex, information-heavy problems currently facing policymakers and commanders. It focuses on and draws extensively from doctrine and concept documents including JP 3-04, JP 5-0, Strategy for Operations in the Information Environment, Joint Concept for Operating in the Information Environment, Joint Concept for Human Aspects of Military Operations, Joint Concept for Competing, and others including Service-level doctrine. The course is designed to improve students’ effectiveness across the competition continuum and within long-term, integrated campaigning contexts.
It also draws on talent and ideas from the OSD-sponsored Phoenix Challenge series of events, which brings forward the latest thinking, innovations, technologies, and recommendations for understanding and engaging effectively in Operations in the Information Environment (OIE). Successful completion of the course confers 1.5 JPME II credits to qualifying military graduates. The course is offered to Unified Commands, Services, and other DoD organizations along with our FVEY and NATO partners. It is currently offered 10 to 14 times per year.
Course Length: 110 hours (80 academic hours + 30 hours reading time)
Optimum: 30. Minimum: 24. Maximum: 36
Measurement: Participate and complete the practical exercise (PE) and oral evaluation
Location: Colorado Springs, CO or Worldwide
The IEAA Course gives analysts, planners, and operators the analytic concepts, affiliated techniques, operational design methodologies, and operational approaches required to conceptualize, define, decompose, characterize, make sense of, and ultimately address information-dense problem sets across the competition continuum. The skills and insights they develop allow them to better advise commanders and other senior leaders to take effective action against key problem sets using OIE to gain Information Advantage (IA) and larger operational advantages. By extension, this enables commanders to seize and hold the initiative within their operational environments by reducing friendly uncertainty and risk, in part by convincing adversary and other decision makers and target audiences to decide and act in ways beneficial to U.S. and allied strategic aims. Students learn how to develop operational approaches specifically for OIE; how and why gaining and holding IA is crucial to success in Digital-Age competition and conflict; and how Information Forces can work together more effectively with one another and with other kinds of military forces and national instruments of power to ensure unity of effort and achieve objectives, end-states, and strategic priorities.
(U) The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD(I)) sponsored the development of IEAA to help students and their senior leaders address strategic and operational problems identified in the National Security Strategy (NSS), National Defense Strategy (NDS), National Military Strategy (NMS), Global Campaign Plans via the Joint Strategic Campaign Plan, and the Unified Commands’ Theater Campaign Plans (TCPs). Based on repeated requests from theater commanders for a course of this kind, the Joint Staff/J7 continues to certify IEAA to give analysts, planners, and operators an educational experience that immerses them in a highly interactive and multidisciplinary set of approaches and concepts learned through the lens of real-world practical exercises (PEs).
The course focuses on OIE, IA, and the effective use of Information Forces as key means for achieving objectives, end-states, and strategic priorities. Students learn a carefully crafted, wide range of concepts, approaches, tools, and techniques to gain informational and thus operational and strategic advantage across the competition continuum. Key topics in the course’s 16 blocks of instruction include critical thinking for Digital-Age problems; decomposition of complex problem sets; influencing behavior of target audiences and targets using narratives and a range of other tools; defining and characterizing the problem to be addressed; forecasting and anticipatory analysis to determine where the problem may be going and how to address it; Joint operational design, art, and approach for developing a draft course of action (COA); will and capability aspects of informational conflict; planning considerations in the global IE; integrated planning and campaigning for long-term problems; wargaming and red-teaming; and assessment. Students learn new concepts in morning and afternoon plenary sessions and then break into small groups of about ten students each, where they learn more about the importance of these concepts by performing a series of tasks relating to each of them. Students complete these using a real-world, current, practical exercise (PE) focused on a major, long-term national-security concern. The course’s highly interactive and realistic approach allows students to hone their analysis, planning, and information-sharing skills while building an understanding of the best means for navigating various DoD and whole-of-government structures and dynamics. These educational insights and skills help them to discern and manage problems before they become crises, and crises before they become armed conflicts. Central aspects of this approach include teaching students how to seize and hold the initiative over adversaries and competitors by influencing their decision calculus and behavior through narratives and related means; how to work problems across all instruments of power (IOPs) and in coordination with their counterparts in non-military IOPs; how to wargame and red-team a draft COA; how to assess information-dense problem sets in which understanding and measuring will is often even more important than measuring capabilities; and ultimately how best to maintain a continuing advantage within a specific problem set.
The real-world PEs that IEAA uses give students challenging, long-term, complex problem sets to work using analysis, design, and planning processes. The focus here is to help students understand the importance of developing information-sharing groups and techniques, employing standing planning teams, and making the best use of their organizational structures to maximize the depth, breadth, and effectiveness of integrated analysis and planning efforts to support Information Forces that enable decision advantage for senior leaders. The PEs are aligned directly with priorities set forth in the NSS, NDS, NMS, and Unified Command TCPs. Further, they give students timely and highly realistic problems to work within the context of key DoD and Joint documents.
Students engage with major challenges set forth in the PEs at the level of grand strategy by understanding the problem sets in terms of U.S. and allied strategic priorities they affect. They use an all-IOPs approach to develop their operational approach, and to build and deliver their final IE recommendation briefings to invited senior leaders. They can then use the new skills they develop in IEAA at home station and deployed to advise commanders and other senior decision makers regarding the best means for achieving informational and influence-focused effects, objectives, and end-states supporting strategic priorities. Importantly, the PEs reflect Unified Command Areas of Responsibility (AOR), are continuously updated based on current events in the global and region-specific competition environments, and are linked to learning objectives to plan, act, and assess to support decision makers and Information Forces. The PEs are the key component enabling students to leverage integrated Information Forces to gain IA by conducting information and influence activities in the IE.
Learning Assessment: Once IEAA graduates complete the 16 blocks of instruction, they have a much broader and deeper set of approaches, concepts, and frameworks for defining, characterizing, and managing information-heavy complex problems for continuing advantage. Prior to graduation, students demonstrate their learning in oral comprehensive exams and by building and delivering a 40-minute operational-approach (“draft COA”) briefing to senior evaluators from the local area. These evaluators range in rank from general/flag officers to lieutenant colonels/commanders who command organizations from the brigade/wing to the battalion/squadron level. They are all seasoned “information practitioners” who give the students positive, useful, and rigorous critiques of their briefings and help them understand how to incorporate what they learned in the course at home station and during deployments.
Prerequisites: Students from all the Services, and from FVEY and NATO militaries are eligible to enroll in the course. Applicants from the Coast Guard, non-DoD Intelligence Community, and other Federal Government departments and agencies are also eligible to attend given the importance of developing whole-of-government approaches and professional relationships. Applicants must have a strong record of performance as analysts, planners, or operators. Ideally, they will be in the O3-O5 range for officers, CWO2-CWO4 range for warrant officers, E5-E8 range for noncommissioned officers, and GS/GG 11-15 range for civilians. Personnel outside of these rank parameters are accepted based on their combination of qualifications, experience, and potential to learn and use course concepts and approaches. Contractors are accepted only by exception and through careful coordination with the course sponsor. Selection for the course depends heavily on the combination of an applicant’s training, experience, and education. Deployment experience, completion of Joint and Service courses relating to the IE and OIE, and Unified Command assignments also have weight in the selection process. Applicants who are not selected on their first attempt are encouraged to apply again as their qualifications increase.
Introduction to the Global Information Environment – Provides students with an overview of the new realities of the Digital Age and the complex global information environment, including concepts, techniques, constructs, lexicon and relationships to doctrine that will be used throughout the course.
Critical Thinking – Students learn techniques to adaptively apply when analyzing and challenging conventional wisdom, understand how adversaries think, and comprehend how critical thinking supports mission analysis – across the information environment and in numerous other domains.
Information Environment Decomposition – Students learn systems theory, approaches and analytic techniques with which to decompose systems, subsystems and attributes comprising an information environment.
Behavioral Influence – Students learn analytic and holistic concepts to understand the decision-making calculus within the information environment as related to decision makers; includes will, human factors, group dynamics, prospect theory, and social identity theory. The focus is on developing capabilities related to influencing the decisions and behaviors of various target audiences.
Information Environment Characterization – Students learn to create a textual and visual understanding of the problem they are addressing within the global information environment. This includes explaining systems, subsystems and attributes and to apply link, culture, semiotic, pattern, trend and anomaly analyses. Students also apply systems theory concepts and interrelationships, aggregation analysis and systems emergence.
Forecasting – Students engage in recomposition and synthesis of the current state to determine what may happen with the problem set and what they may be able to do about it. This leads them to anticipatory analysis, in which the students develop two future states using verbal and visual depictions to get a sense of what the problem may look like if it is not addressed with any measure of effectiveness, and what it may look like if it is actioned with greater effectiveness.
Sense Making – Students apply an information environment framework and a hierarchy of effort to align activities and effects to achieve objectives and an end-state. They examine how components of will and capability interact to reach the desired end-state they are tasked to meet. Students learn operational design techniques and begin developing an operational approach (draft course of action).
Global Planning – This block of instruction introduces students to a range of crucial planning and operational concepts and approaches. They receive instruction in integrated planning and campaigning—the indispensable art of conducting continuous planning and operations in parallel to deal with fast-moving, digital age problems. They also engage with the means for developing a whole-of-governments and whole-of-alliances approach, bringing as many important players from across the globe and various organizations as possible into the effort to address the problem at hand. Through the use of case studies, students also learn how to engage in Narrative Warfare, winning the battle for the narrative using effective meta-narratives, narratives, and messages.
Wargaming – Students learn to manage risk, think like the adversary and other actors, and discern nth-order effects by applying wargaming and red-teaming methods and techniques. Students learn to use an action-reaction-counteraction methodology to learn how wargamers and red-teamers should interact to ensure the plan is as thorough as possible and that they are anticipating adversary actions to the greatest possible degree.
Assessment — Students learn assessment terminology, techniques, and approaches. Measures of Effectiveness, Measure of Effectiveness Indicators, and Measures of Performance receive significant emphasis. Students are required to develop an assessment methodology and specific criteria for the problem they are working.
Capstone Practical Exercise (PE) – The capstone PE is delivered in two phases providing students with a realistic scenario within which they can apply all concepts, techniques and constructs learned throughout the course. Phase I consists of a 2.5-hour oral examination to ensure students have grasped of IEAA concepts and contexts; phase II is 8 hours of concept and technique application culminating with each small group delivering a thorough 45-minute IE recommendation to a senior leader panel.
Three seasoned mentors, all retired senior military officers, teach each IEAA course. Their operational and educational credentials are substantial. They maintain constant deep study of competition and conflict in the Digital Age, and the ways in which various state and other actors are engaging in this arena. The current mentor team has over 200 years of collective military experience. Ranks include colonels and lieutenant colonels with command experience at squadron/battalion and group/wing/ brigade levels (and multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and several other locations). Three hold doctorates (military history from The Ohio State University, Behavior Psychology from the University of Arkansas, and Organizational Psychology from the University of the Rockies) and the rest hold at least one master’s degree and in most cases two. Military specialties range from intelligence to behavioral influence psychology, to Information Operations, to close combat. All have extensive staff planning experience. Collectively, the mentor team has published four books and dozens of book chapters and articles. Several articles relating to OIE and competition in the Digital Age are in progress. Two of the mentors advised the Strategic Multilayer Assessment Team assigned to assess the state of and further develop Operations in the Information Environment, and all the mentors routinely provide advice and insights to course graduates and other military personnel supporting OIE and larger aspects of competition and conflict in the Digital Age. Our mentor team is rich with both practical and academic experience and remains highly relevant to thinking about and addressing current-day problem sets.
Dr. Robert Ehlers, senior mentor, is a retired Air Force colonel with 24 years of service as an intelligence officer. He completed 12 active-duty assignments including tours from the unit to the theater-command level and special-duty assignments teaching history at the Air Force Academy and the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies. Rob commanded at the flight, squadron, and group levels. His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in international studies and history from Ohio State; a master’s degree in history from the University of Florida, Gainesville; and a Ph.D. from Ohio State in military, European, and African history. From 2010 to 2016, Rob served as the Director of the new Center for Security Studies and Professor of Security Studies at Angelo State University, leading the development of seven new online degree programs. These online programs, which included bachelor’s and master’s degrees in security studies, intelligence studies, homeland security, and criminal justice, have won national awards and are widely recognized among service-related personnel as useful and effective degrees. Rob joined JMark Services Inc., in January 2014 as a mentor for the Information Environment Advanced Analysis (IEAA) course. Rob is the author of Targeting the Third Reich: Air Intelligence and the Allied Bombing Campaigns, which won the Air Force Historical Society’s Best Airpower Book award for 2010. His second book, The Mediterranean Air War: Airpower and Allied Victory in World War II, won the U.S. Military History Group’s award for the best book published in 2015-2016 on any topic relating to American military history from 1918-1945.
Tom DiSilverio has nearly 40 years experience in the intelligence, engineering, education, space and arms control arenas. A retired Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Analyst and Air Force Reserve colonel, he has also worked for major defense engineering firms (Ford Aerospace, Loral Command and Control, SAIC) as a systems and test engineer. He worked as the principal test engineer for astrodynamic software applications and as an on-site programmer analyst for the Space Defense Operations Center in Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station for seven years. He helped design, build and operate the United Nation’s remote Weapons of Mass Destruction video/sensor monitoring system in Iraq in the 1990s. He served as the first Chief of On-Site Monitoring Operations for the UN’s Commission on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (UNSCOM). He served as a Deputy Team Chief for one of the 75th Exploitation Task Force’s Site Survey Teams in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He later served as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Masters of Science in Strategic Intelligence program for reservists at the Joint Military Intelligence College (now National Intelligence University) and served for nearly 20 years as both a contractor and a DIA employee as the Weapons of Mass Destruction Analyst and Defense Warning Advisor for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command.
Nic Grauer is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel with 23 years of experience as a behavioral scientist and information operations officer. In his final active-duty assignment, he served as faculty in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Air Force Academy where he initiated and led all Information Warfare curriculum, education, & research in the USAFA’s 2nd largest major. Before that Nic worked for the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, where he managed the entire Air Force Information Operations enterprise including Operations Security, Psychological Operations, & Deception programs and guided a complex Air Force-wide Information Warfare overhaul. While on Air Staff, he stood-up and managed the first ever 14F Information Operations Officer career field that applies social science principles to influence the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of foreign individuals and groups. As an Information Operations leader, Nic deployed to special operations units in 5 middle east nations where he trained 160 US and international forces to assess the effectiveness of their Psychological Operations in the fight against ISIS for Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. Nic also served as the speechwriter for two INDOPACOM commanders, crafting strategic messaging for the Navy 4-star admirals to shape regional audiences’ perceptions.
Dr. Kelly Ihme is an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel still engaged in her career as an intelligence officer and behavioral health nurse, currently serving as the Diversity and Inclusion Chief for the Iowa Air National Guard and adjunct faculty in the ODL Ph.D. program for the University of Arizona Global Campus. Her most recent assignment was as commanding officer for the 232nd Intelligence Squadron, which specialized in deliberate and dynamic targeting for AFRICOM and INDOPACOM. Prior to that, she was a Mission Operation Commander at Distributed Ground Station-Kansas and interim commander of the 127th Cyber Operations Squadron, where she developed a first-ever unclassified cyber intelligence curriculum for new Guard Airmen. As a military historian and Chief Archivist for Air Force Space Command, she was responsible for capturing contemporary history and was awarded the Bryce Poe II Award for Best Major Command History in 2008 and the Robert F. Futrell Award for Excellence in Historical Publication in 2009. As a nurse, she completed three combat deployments in air evacuation, ran multiple wing Suicide Prevention Programs and Traumatic Response Teams, and was the Mental Health Advisor to Air Force Reserve Command at the Pentagon focusing on behavioral health policy impacts in the Reserve Components. She has multiple publications on deployment mental health and mindfulness, including a chapter in the U.S. Army’s Operational and Combat Behavioral Health textbook. Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in nursing, master’s degrees in Military History and Military Operational Art, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology, where her dissertation was the University of the Rockies 2017 Mixed Methods Study of the Year. Her research interests are in autonomic nervous system stimulation, motivation and engagement, and the American Civil War.
Stuart Purves recently retired from the Australian Army after 25 years of service. An infantry officer, he commanded at platoon, company, and battalion level; and completed operational tours in East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His most recent deployment was as the principal advisor to the Iraqi Chief of Operations. He has also completed instructing and mentoring roles, particularly focused on battlefield tactics, leadership, planning and strategy at the Australian Army School of Armour; the British Army Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; and the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. He holds Masters degrees in Strategy & Management from the University of New South Wales and History from the Australian National University. Stuart recently completed a concurrent posting as the Australian Army’s Liaison Officer to the U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC), and the Australian Army Land Capability Division staff officer responsible for developing, planning and executing interoperability initiatives between the Australian and U.S. armies. This included representing the Australian Army in the U.S. Army’s Future Studies Program; and leading Australia’s involvement in the series of U.S. Army-led modernization experiments called “Project Convergence.”
David Johnson completed a distinguished military career as an Air Force intelligence officer in 2010, retiring at the rank of colonel. He is currently the senior Director of ISR Development with PatchPlus Consulting. In his final active duty assignment, he served as Chief, Distributed Common Ground System Weapon System Office, AF ISR Agency, where he led program management and oversight of the AN/GSQ-272 Sentinel (AF DCGS) weapon system. He also served as Chief, ISR Force Development, Training, and Weapons and Tactics, AF ISR Agency; Chief, ISR Division 607th Air and Space Operations Center, 7th Air Force; Chief, NATO Intelligence Systems Service Branch, SHAPE; and Commander of Pacific Air Forces Air Intelligence Squadron and 26th Air and Space Intelligence Squadron, Hickam AFB.
He was Instructor, Flight Commander, Assistant Operations Officer, and Operations Officer of the Intelligence Division, USAF Weapons School. Mr. Johnson holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from Louisiana Technical University.
Mike Phillips is JMark’s President and Chief Executive Officer. In that role, he implements JMark’s strategic vision and goals, drives corporate growth and success, heads a dynamic leadership team, and ensures JMark’s continued expansion in national and global markets. He was formerly the Executive Director, Analysis Mission Programs, Department of the Air Force, where he was responsible for implementing standards and policy for intelligence analysis across the USAF and for the development of advanced intelligence analysis education and training programs. In that role, he served as primary agent for professionalization, outreach, and rapid improvement of Air Force intelligence analysis.
His 28-year military career included assignments as principal military advisor to the United Nations special representative in Kosovo; commander of the 381st Intelligence Squadron; Director of Intelligence (A2), 13th Air Force, PACAF; commander of the Air Force Intelligence Analysis Agency, and commander of the DIA Special Collections Operations Group. He retired at the rank of colonel in September 2009. Mr. Phillips holds master’s degrees in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and in international relations from Troy State University; he has served as a National Defense Fellow at Georgetown University.
Dr. Erin Roper is an experimental social/political psychologist. She previously served as the Senior Intelligence Officer for DIA’s Human Factors Analysis Division, and was the standard bearer for Human Factors analysis and methodologies in the U.S. Defense Enterprise. During her seven years of government service, she lead multiple international working groups on techniques for applying social science methods to intelligence problem sets, and lead a research team which is an internationally recognized expert in developing and applying intelligence-relevant social network analytical approaches. She built and delivered a Division-wide, four-week, graduate-level curriculum to train her analytic workforce, a first in the intelligence community. She has research and teaching interests in advanced and novel analytic methods, leadership decision making, information operations, and antecedents to political violence. In 2012, she accepted an academic appointment as a member of the psychology faculty at Northwest Arkansas Community College.
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If you have general questions about course content, contact Stuart Purves, Senior Mentor, at email@example.com. For information on hosting or attending an IEAA course, contact the Course Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.