Learning to analyze open-source intelligence key to CJTF-HOA mission

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr. talks with participants during closing remarks of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Open-Source Intelligence Course on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 7, 2014. Commander Talks with Participants during Open-Source Intelligence Course

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr. talks with participants during closing remarks of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Open-Source Intelligence Course on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 7, 2014. Grigsby is the CJTF-HOA commanding general. The course taught participants different ways to collect open-source material, such as from local media and how to piece that information together with other intelligence they have. The other aspect of the course included perception and learning to see things through the eyes of coalition forces.

The Uganda foreign liaison officer (LNO) takes notes during the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Open-Source Intelligence Course (OSIC) on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 4, 2014. Uganda Foreign Liason Office Takes Notes During OSIC

The Uganda foreign liaison officer (LNO) takes notes during the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Open-Source Intelligence Course (OSIC) on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 4, 2014. LNOs from multiple countries and U.S. military members from multiple services participated in CJTF-HOA’s first OSIC. The course taught participants different ways to collect open-source material, such as from local media and how to piece that information together with other intelligence they have. The other aspect of the course included perception and learning to see things through the eyes of coalition forces.

Class participants sit and listen to an instructor during the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Open-Source Intelligence Course (OSIC) on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 4, 2014. Class Participants Listen to Instructor during OSIC

Class participants sit and listen to an instructor during the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Open-Source Intelligence Course (OSIC) on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 4, 2014. Foreign liaison officers from multiple countries and U.S. military members from multiple services participated in CJTF-HOA’s first OSIC. The course taught participants different ways to collect open-source material, such as from local media and how to piece that information together with other intelligence they have. The other aspect of the course included perception and learning to see things through the eyes of coalition forces.

Canadian Army Lt. Col. Ian MacVicar talks to class participants during the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Open-Source Intelligence Course (OSIC) on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 4, 2014. Canadian Army Lt. Col. Talks during OSIC

Canadian Army Lt. Col. Ian MacVicar talks to class participants during the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Open-Source Intelligence Course (OSIC) on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 4, 2014. MacVicar is the CJTF-HOA CJ 3/5/7 regional engagement and plans chief. The course taught participants different ways to collect open source-material, such as from local media and how to piece that information together with other intelligence they have. The other aspect of the course included perception and learning to see things through the eyes of coalition forces.

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) foreign liaison officers’ (LNO) and U.S. military members representatives from multiple services participated in CJTF-HOA’s first Open-Source Intelligence Course on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, from March 3-7, 2014.

The course taught participants different ways to collect open-source material, such as from local media and how to piece that information together with other intelligence they have. The other aspect of the course included perception and learning to see things through the eyes of coalition forces.

The course’s lead instructor and organizer was Canadian Army Lt. Col. Ian MacVicar, CJTF-HOA CJ 3/5/7 regional engagement and plans chief. MacVicar organized the course to teach analytical ways of thinking after gathering open-source intelligence, in order to solve complex problems. He explained the importance for people to be able to approach problems with an open mind and look at all variables before selecting a solution.

“I’m teaching people to not think reactively and instinctively, but to think reflectively, looking at every factor in a problem,” MacVicar said. “This course is giving people the skills to think in a more structured analytical fashion.”

Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr., CJTF-HOA commanding general, spoke at the end of the course and backed the importance of using open intelligence and analytical thinking.

He talked about how CJTF-HOA is faced with complex problems comprised of diplomatic industrial, military, political and economic variables, and the importance of teamwork in working through those problems. One way to accomplish this is through open intelligence, because a lot of information that can be used to support the mission is already openly published, the key is knowing where to find it.

“It’s all about being a good teammate with our multinational teammates,” Grigsby said. “We should be dependent on our teammates and on our partners for that information.”

Grigsby also talked about the importance of the perspectives of multinational partners. How important it is to see things through their eyes and stressed the importance of increasing their integration into CJTF-HOA’s daily operations.

“I want to enable and assist. The more we spend time together and do (these types of classes), we’ll be good,” Grigsby said. “You have something I don’t have. A different perspective and knowledge, which I need to have.”

The course was well received by those who attended. MacVicar said the students told him the course helped “them think in a totally different manner than they’re use to.”

One participant, the Uganda LNO, said he found the course very interesting and now has more tools to use when assessing and analyzing intelligence. This is important when he needs to brief his commander on current operations and also for problem solving.

“If we have knowledge, but we don’t know how to analyze it into intelligence products so that our commanders can make good decisions, then we can’t help our mission,” the Uganda LNO said.

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Partnership Open-Source Intelligence Course

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