FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Dec. 20, 2018) -- The Army concluded its first accredited Joint Intermediate Target Development (JITD) course Dec. 14, at Fort Sill.

The course was identified as a necessary addition to Army training after a recent study, "Health of the Targeting Enterprise," and the 2014 Army Lessons Learned Forum found a gap in joint targeting knowledge. The Fires Center of Excellence and Army Multi-Domain Targeting Center have been charged with filling this gap as the executing entity for developing targeting standards, requirements, and training.

In the past, Soldiers taking this course would have to attend a JITD course somewhere else in the country, where the Army has no control over their prioritization or acceptance. Spearheading this new course on Fort Sill is Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jordan Kness, JITD program manager.

"I've got about 450 to 500 analysts that I need to start pumping out to the force. How am I supposed to do that sending one or two Soldiers to these courses at a time?" said Kness.

Being able to increase the volume of trained Soldiers is essential to warfighting as the information produced by these analysts is the foundational intelligence used to make decisions. With limited resources on the battlefield, this information is used to analyze, assess, and prioritize those resources (i.e. manpower, munitions, etc.) against a particular target.

"The Army has done well using internal targeting methodologies, but we have not been as effective working in joint environments," said Kness.

At the intermediate level, analysts are the bridge between raw data and advanced targeting decisions made by commanders. According to Dr. Michael Gonzales, program manager for targeting at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), these analysts will be taking source information, which may be raw intelligence, and attempt to determine whether or not the proposed target provides a function for the adversary that needs to be affected (i.e. destroyed, disrupted, or denied).

Using JITD, there is a standardization in the remarks, characterizations, and descriptions of targets so the information can be interpreted regardless of what branch of military is using the information. The information is then placed in an electronic target folder within the Modernized Integrated Database. This target folder can then be accessed anywhere in the world, allowing the work done by analysts to benefit the entire targeting community.

Having this new training capability ensures the Army can certify Soldiers in volume, allowing the Army to play a larger role in joint missions. Gonzales said this relieves some of the burden on other branches so they can then focus on their individual advanced targeting and execution pieces.

The near-term goal is for this course to be approved by the Advanced Global Intelligence Learning Environment and the Army Training Requirements and Resources System, which will open this course to a wider audience. While military intelligence analysts will be building these target folders, Soldiers such as Capt. Jessica Giannese, geospatial engineer and graduate of the new JITD course, is a user of this data as she creates graphics and material for decision makers at the advanced targeting level. Now, Giannese understands how to properly interpret the JITD format and knows what goes into creating that intermediate targeting data.

The weeklong course on Fort Sill is accredited by the DIA and is recognized by the intelligence community at large. In the coming months, Gonzales will be certifying an additional two instructors, providing four instructors to train the approximately 500 Soldiers requiring the training. Every two years, DIA will re-evaluate the program here to ensure course materials are still meeting requirements and implementing any updates.

The bulk of Soldiers eyed for attendance are E-3 through E-5 military intelligence analysts. These Soldiers will represent the main body of those producing the joint intermediate targeting data.