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University course teaches principles of information operations

by Staff Sgt. Jason Lake
Air University Public Affairs

8/20/2008 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- In the midst of the Korean War in the 1950s an American fighter pilot came up with a revolutionary concept that changed tactical, operational and strategic war planning.

Based on his tactical dogfighting experience with North Korean MiGs, Col. John Boyd coined the term - OODA (observe, orient, decide and act) Loop -which stresses the importance of collecting, interpreting and reacting to battlefield information faster than the enemy in order to maintain a strategic advantage.

More than 35 Airmen and civilians from installations worldwide converged at Maxwell Air Force Base's Curtis LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education Aug. 11-15 to learn how the OODA Loop and other key concepts apply in information operations.

The LeMay Center's Information Operations Fundamentals Applications Course is typically held eight times throughout the fiscal year for senior airman through lieutenant colonel (and civilian equivalents).

While the course is intended for Airmen in the communications and public affairs realm, course instructor Capt. Ernest McLamb said Airmen from other career fields and other ranks may also attend the course on a space-available basis.

"The goal is to give students introductory knowledge of information operations in accordance with Air Force Doctrine Document 2-5," he said.

During the week-long course, students discussed electronic warfare, influence operations and network warfare in the air, space and cyberspace domains. To top things off, students put their new found knowledge to the test with a wrap-up exercise simulating an information operations cell within an air operations center. Students like Master Sgt. Michael Brogan were split into three groups to plan an information operations campaign including key concepts such as public affairs strategic communication, network and electronic warfare and military deception.

"I have a much better understanding how public affairs supports combatant commanders and what we bring to the fight," said Master Sgt. Michael Brogan, an operations manager at the AFN Tokyo at Yokota Air Base, Japan. "I think this course benefits all Airmen because it shows the role we play regardless of job specialty - especially in the joint nature of warfare today."

Tech. Sgt. Daryl Bagley, a logistics planner from Keesler AFB, Miss., said the course helped paint a bigger picture about how operational security and information operations fit into day-to-day activities even at home station.

"When we do logistics planning we usually only see how it directly affects our unit, but this course showed the strategic affects our job has on the Air Force mission," he said.

The course, which was formerly known as the Information Warfare Applications Course, started in 1994 under the direction of the Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak. Dates for the FY2009 schedule include: Oct. 6-10, Nov. 17-21, Jan. 12-16, Feb. 9-13, April 6-10, July 13-17, Aug. 10-14 and Aug. 31-Sept. 4. Temporary duty costs for active-duty Airman and civil service personnel are funded by Air University. To enroll in the course, Airmen and their civilian equivalents should contact their major command training managers. For more information, contact your unit major command training manager or visit

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