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The MICCC in transition.



The year 2008 dawns on the Military Intelligence Captains Career Course (MICCC) in transition. Six years of combat deployments is changing the face of the Course as new doctrine; tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs); along with downrange experiences, are filtering into the curriculum. Teaching techniques are moving from basic classroom instruction to more seminar style teaching using practical exercises (PEs) and student input. Additionally, technology is beginning to enter the classrooms as acetate and map boards are being replaced by digital imagery and advanced analytical tools. Even the way we manage students is moving to automated systems that enhance our ability to track officers as they inprocess and move through their training. Amidst this change, one constant remains-the MICCC's mission is to produce relevant officers who can critically think, adapt, and be effective tactical intelligence combat leaders using proven Army processes.

In days gone by, the MI Officer Advanced Course was attended by officers looking to advance their careers by checking that block while getting some additional training before moving on to the Combined Arms Services Staff School ([CAS.sup.3]) and a tactical or strategic next assignment. We taught to the critical task list and were in a classroom more often than not, training doctrine written for Cold War Soldiers. That template worked for the time it was designed for, but with the advent of the War on Terror, leading to multiple combat deployments for most company grade officers, the MICCC must change to meet the needs of today's Army at War and associated future threats.

Today's MI captains are being asked to know and do more than at any other time in our Army's history. They must be specialists and generalists, sometimes functioning at the strategic, operational, and tactical level simultaneously. They are held to a higher standard based on the perceived capabilities to collect intelligence they may or may not have access to. Their contemporaries are leaving the Army in droves. The typical MICCC student now has multiple combat deployments and expects to return downrange as a member of a brigade combat team or military transition team before their next promotion. MICCC students represent a wide spectrum of officers to include pure MI officers, branch detail officers, branch transfer officers, aviators, specialty branch officers (Civil Affairs, Information Operations), and international officers from countries across the world in the ranks of first lieutenant to lieutenant colonel. The old [CAS.sup.3] curriculum is now included in the MICCC, while distributed learning modules (Captains Career Course Common Core or C5) are being used to complete Army-wide required training for all captains. Demographics of the typical MICCC student are changing dramatically and instruction must keep up with the demand placed on it by our modern intelligence warriors.

Instructional Tools and Methodologies

Training year (TY) 2008 is a year of change for the MICCC. Targeting; Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; critical thinking, and intelligence automated tools are being introduced into the curriculum. Programs of instruction are being updated with freshly written doctrine, while lessons learned are used to keep the curriculum relevant. One of the biggest challenges for MICCC instructors is to maintain the balance between field expedient measures taken downrange during current operations and what is actually Army doctrine. Officers with multiple combat tours are exposed to modified decision making and intelligence processes downrange that often work and are sometimes reluctant to acknowledge there is a place for traditional Army process.


Another dynamic at work is the "blind men and the elephant" paradigm. Each officer experience is different which leads to multiple perspectives on the same intelligence issue. Future instructional techniques are being considered to take these experiences into account. Critical thinking instruction is infused into the curriculum in a variety of ways. While students MI Corps is charged with producing officers who can use critical thinking tools to analyze and solve difficult tactical intelligence problems. This fits perfectly with current Army doctrinal processes taught such as Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) analysis of enemy courses of action; the Military Decision Making Process, along with denial and deception.


Another initiative is the use of a self evaluation instrument during the first week of the course to select officers based on their proven tactical and technical expertise to participate in the MICCC Seminar Program. Ten percent of each class is offered the opportunity to write for publication on a topic they are passionate about based on lessons learned from their recent deployments. This is the first year of the Seminar program, and these students' efforts are showcased in this special issue of MIPB. We hope to make this a yearly event.

Currently the MICCC has about a 40 to 60 percent classroom instruction to PE ratio. We are moving from the traditional classroom instruction to performance based learning, but more is needed. We teach processes using PEs, but the next level must be the assimilation of this information and application to real world situations that our officers are likely to face in their future jobs as intelligence officers. Two exercises the students enjoy working through during their Counterinsurgency block are Southern Cross and North Star. These exercises challenge students by simulating the constant barrage of information and analytical problems that they are likely to face while deployed. However, to perform up these exercises, students must still assimilate information from six days of instruction to be fully functional during the exercises. Lessons learned from downrange and TTPs are constantly updated and taught during this block. Again, the challenge is to ensure we capture student experiences while teaching approved Army doctrine.

The future is bright for officers attending the MICCC. TY 2009 promises to be a year of institutional change for the MICCC as new systems and teaching techniques emerge. Students will be able to preregister on the U.S. Army Intelligence Center's Intelligence Center Online Network portal from anywhere they have access to a computer. This innovative system, also being used by the Noncommissioned Officers Academy, will expedite inprocessing time as well as streamline paperwork such as academic reports. The Distributed Common Ground Station-Army will be incorporated into most MICCC PEs so that students will be training on the actual tools being used by deploying units to help solve the PEs. MICCC students will be more responsible for their own professional development and learning as we incorporate their lessons learned and experiences into the curriculum through a more interactive, challenging instructional process. Using some of retired Major Don Vandergriff's techniques, we will use directed reading in homework assignments leaving more time in class for problem solving and seminar type discussions combining student techniques with established doctrine. In fact, a typical MICCC day may look like physical training, seminar problem, seminar solution brief, directed solution discussion, individual test, retrain/retest, followed by directed reading for the next day. Even technical classes with detailed information can be taught effectively in this manner. For example, a Signals Intelligence block of instruction would begin with directed readings focused on capabilities and employment. The next day, an instructor would issue a tactical problem that incorporates the reading to a small squad sized group. The group will use the information from that reading and their own experiences to solve the problem and then brief their solution to the instructor. This gives the students and instructor an opportunity to synchronize doctrine and relevant experiences.


The danger associated with this type of instruction is that it places a larger burden on the student for his/her professional development. Understanding doctrine will take time. Applying doctrine combined with experience requires the students to be able to interact effectively within their group and with their instructor. While this may sound easy, the hard part is efficiently evaluating each individual student to ensure they meet the required standards. This is the instructor's challenge. When does the student need to be retrained and retested? Instead of devolving into a 'who shot John' situation, students and instructors must be clear on what is expected of each group and how evaluations will take place. There will be few formal tests in the new MICCC. Test instruments will be situational problems that require the officers to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the material they were taught in a realistic scenario. This must be the way forward.


"One day this war will end" are prophetic words from Apocalypse Now, the Vietnam era movie. We are currently focused on the close fight to ensure our officers are successful today. MICCC instruction must be flexible enough to ensure our officers are not only successful today, but also in the battles of tomorrow. We are concerned that with the demand on resources due to the War on Terror, instruction in conventional operations may suffer. This concern leads to the continuing evolution of the course as it focuses on intelligence processes that are applicable to tomorrow's as well as today's fight. We must maintain our ability to adapt processes to any condition on the future battlefield. That is the mission of the MICCC in transition.

by Major Nathan McCauley
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Author:McCauley, Nathan
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Apr 1, 2008
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