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Information Environment Advanced Analysis

Course Description: This course prepares students to apply IEAA concepts to enable intelligence, planning, and operational communities to characterize, forecast, target, wargame, and assess the information environment in support of a commander’s or policymaker’s decision-making process. Students are immersed in concepts, techniques and operational constructs and linked to the Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment (JIPOE), Operational Design, Operational Approach, and the Joint Planning Process (JPP).

Course Length: 110 hours (80 academic hours + 30 hours reading time)
Optimum: 30. Minimum: 20. Maximum: 33

Measurement: Participate and complete the practical exercise (PE) and oral evaluation

Location: Colorado Springs, CO or Worldwide

For More Information: If you have general questions about course content, or if you are interested in sponsoring an IEAA course at your location/facility, contact Rob Ehlers.

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.

JMark Services, Inc., has developed and currently teaches and administers an Information Environment Advanced Analysis (IEAA) course sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD(I)).  This is the only advanced analysis course available for intelligence analysts interacting with planners and operators from across all military services within the Global Information Environment (GIE).  The ideal candidates for this course include officers in the O-3 to O-5 range; officers in the O-1 and O-2 range with prior enlisted experience who have experience working informational aspects of complex problems; warrant officers in the WO-2 to WO-4 range; enlisted personnel in the E-4 to E-8 range; and civilians in the GG/GS-11 to GG/GS-14 range.  We accept others on a case-by-case basis.

This Joint-Staff certified and Joint credit-awarding course focuses on the ways in which the proliferation of information and information systems creates a distinct operating environment – the GIE – within what is now commonly referred to as the Digital Age.  Course mentors help students understand how to engage in careful and coordinated analysis, planning, and operations within the GIE to help the DoD and its partners achieve end-states and objectives across the spectrum of conflict.  The course content is designed to give students varied approaches and insights to help them and their commanders to seize and hold the initiative within complex problem and mission sets and, to the extent possible, achieve objectives short of armed conflict.

Our rigorous, two-week IEAA courses equip analysts, planners, and operators with concepts, techniques, and constructs enabling them to analyze a complex problem situation, anticipate how to achieve an end-state favorable to U.S. interests, and devise an operational approach (recommended draft course of action) to help a commander determine how to seize and sustain the initiative in the GIE, making extensive use of the informational instrument of power along with others, to achieve an  end-state and supporting objectives.  Students develop will- and capabilities-based activities and effects within the GIE to achieve their objectives and end-state in support of strategic priorities.  The course also gives students detailed approaches and tools for assessing progress toward achieving effects, objectives, and end-states.  These include measures of effectiveness, measures of performance, and effectiveness indicators.  This focus on assessment, and specifically on MOEs, MOPs, and MOEIs, is useful throughout the range of conflict, from information-driven to lethal  problem sets.

Seasoned mentors cover key course concepts, approaches, and tools within the context of real-world problem sets and practical exercises, resulting in a rich learning experience that students can carry back to their duty stations. As a result, course graduates from operations, plans, and intelligence organizations are better able to characterize, forecast, target, wargame, and assess the IE in support of a commander’s decision-making process and the achievement of national security objectives.

In addition to members of the joint U.S. military community, law enforcement, Intelligence Community, and Department of State professionals have graduated from the IEAA course and have successfully applied course concepts and techniques in such areas as special operations, counterterrorism, and gang and narcotics enforcement.

These courses feature highly interactive instruction in plenary and small-group settings, a challenging and realistic practical exercise, rigorous study and reading programs, and teaching/mentoring teams comprised entirely of senior leaders and educators. All IEAA courses include the following expertise, resources, and deliverables:

  • Senior IEAA educators/mentors and course administrators who conduct, teach, administer, and evaluate the course for up to 30 students during a two-week period. Our senior educators/mentors are retired senior officers with senior command and staff experience in intelligence billets as well as significant planning and operations experience.
  • Curricula, syllabi, lesson plans, extensive reading requirements, training and learning objectives, student workbooks and module packets, and an evaluation process that includes student performance assessment and continuous review of course progress, both during and after the course. (Note: course materials are available in hard copy or digital form.)
  • Detailed, relevant practical exercises, based on real-world problems addressed in the National Security Strategy and National Military Strategy.  These include detailed baselines, decision-maker profiles, and daily scenario injects (each covering a one-month period) that facilitate and ensure student application and comprehension of advanced IE-related analytic techniques, methods, and concepts taught throughout the course.
  • A 2.5-hour oral comprehensive examination administered to all students in the course.
  • An 8-hour block to build an IE Recommendation Briefing for senior evaluators playing the role of a theater commander, political advisor, and other key leaders.  The 40-minute briefing showcases students’ learning and new skills and is followed by a rigorous question-and-answer session with the senior evaluators.
  • Completion and assessment of detailed end-of-course critiques by all students at the conclusion of every course.  This continuous course critique and assessment process focuses on lessons learned, portions of the course to be sustained, and opportunities for improving specific aspects of the course.  Mentors and staff meet semi-annually for a Hot Wash in which key findings from the critique process are incorporated into the course, facilitating an iterative improvement that allows mentors to keep the course at the forefront of developing IE-related approaches, concepts, and practices.


Course Mentors/Instructors

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.

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.

Course Schedule

> 17-28 April 2023: Fort Belvoir (By invitation only)

> 14-25 August 2023: Fort Belvoir (By invitation only)

> 18-29 September 2023: Joint Base Langley Eustis, VA (By invitation only)

> 16-27 October 2023: Australia (By invitation only)

> 31 October – 1 November 2023: Australia SLIEC (By invitation only)

If your unit/organization desires to host and fund an IEAA course, we will help you with your registration needs, pre course logistics and overall management or facilitation of hosing a course. We can also work with you to secure a contracting solution so your unit funds will be efficiently put to work to execute a course. If your organization desires to pursue this option, the POC is: judy.nelson@jmarkservices.com

Contact Us

For more information on the IEAA course, the primary contact is:

Judy Nelson
Course Manager
JMark Services, Inc.