Operations in the Information Environment: Course of Action Analysis Exercise

November 2021 No Comments

Author(s): Ellis, D. (ICONS); Murauskaite E. (ICONS); Ackerman, G. (CART, SUNY Albany); Clifford, D. (CART, SUNY Albany)

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The ICONS Project, a wargaming and simulation organization at the University of Maryland, was asked by
the Joint Staff, J39, DDGO, Strategic Multilayer Assessment Office (SMA), to design, execute, and analyze a
Table Top Exercise (TTX) in support of the Integration of Information in Joint Operations (IIJO) research
effort – which in turn supports the ongoing efforts by the Department of Defense (DOD) to institutionalize
and codify advancements in the area of Operations in the Information Environment (OIE).

The J39 in every Joint endeavor bears responsibility for OIE, as it is developed and promulgated. This
particular TTX was viewed as an opportunity to leverage the development of the new Joint Operating
Concept for OIE. The efforts of the Joint Staff and the Air Force (HAF/A3), as well as all the other Service,
Command, and Component participants, also used this TTX to examine the role of the DOD in OIE for major
scenarios of concern going forward. Scenarios for these TTXs were selected on the basis of two criteria, in
combination: 1) most likely adversaries the U.S. will face in the OIE space over the near term; 2) critical
scenarios for OIE which have different structures – in this case, a crisis, and a slowly evolving competition.

The following report is a summary of the outputs and analytical assessment of the exercises. Included in
this report are: 1) the design of the TTX, based on the analytic intent of the project, including team
recruitment and exercise format; 2) the scenarios and the guiding Course of Action (COA) questions
presented to the teams for response during the TTX; 3) observations derived by the Control Team members
and other observers, which are relevant to the DOD OIE enterprise.

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