Courseware Structure


The Countering Illicit Power courseware consists of modular, “plug-and-play” instructional guides and case studies, together with teaching aids such as webcasts, podcasts, and power point presentations that can be delivered through various learning platforms. When aggregated as suggested by the model syllabus, the materials stand alone as a core or elective graduate-level course that addresses the challenge of countering illicit power. Alternatively, individual modules and teaching aids can be disaggregated to supplement existing training, education, war gaming, simulations, and tabletop exercises. 

It is not the intent of these materials to provide a set-piece program of instruction. When confronting the problem of illicit power, there are rarely “right” answers or solutions. Every course of action presents risks and opportunities. Helping the learning audience recognize risk, understand critical information requirements, and anticipate and plan to contain or confront illicit power is the goal. Beta testing in a number of different learning environments exposed only one, hard and fast rule for delivery -- that the most effective learning takes place through collaboration. Where robust discussion and debate was not possible, the students continued to have difficulty understanding how to apply the concepts and lessons. Thus, the version 1.0 courseware was reframed to enable robust interaction between facilitators and the learning audience. 

 Facilitators and professors do not have to be subject matter experts to use the materials effectively. They do, however, need to be thoroughly familiar with the content of the case studies and the enduring lessons derived from them. “Facilitator’s Guides” provide a useful organization framework, but they are not a substitute for the actual case studies themselves. Facilitators must also be comfortable guiding the learning audience through an often open-ended process of critical thinking, discussion and debate.

Learning Objectives 

The learning objectives of the courseware are to help military and other U.S. government personnel:  

  • Understand illicit power structures -- how they are structured and how they operate, and the disruptive impact they have on our ability to achieve strategic objectives. 
  • Apply critical thinking and adaptive learning to conflict analysis and assessment in situations involving illicit power structures.  
  • Effectively identify critical information and intelligence requirements.  
  • Formulate strategies for effective international and inter-organizational engagement and cooperation for countering illicit power structures.  
  • Be aware of available means, methods, and tools for countering the effects of illicit power during active conflict and political transformation.  
  • Understand the planning factors involved in operations to counter illicit power structures. 

Learning Outcomes 

Upon completion of the model syllabus, students should be able to:  

  • Recognize the importance of illicit power and illicit power structures to security and development operations.  
  • Analyze illicit power structures to determine their strengths and vulnerabilities. 
  • Design campaigns and programs to counter illicit power and illicit power structures.  
  • Coordinate activities with other U.S. government agencies and international actors.  
  • Evaluate the effects of actions taken to counter illicit power and illicit power structures and adjust accordingly.