JPME Requirements and Special Areas of Emphasis (SAE)


Basic Questions 

  • What are IPSs? 
  • Why are IPSs important to military operations? 
  • How do we understand IPSs in the operational environment? 
  • What are the basic strategies for dealing with IPSs? 
  • What are the tools available for dealing with IPSs? 
  • With whom do we partner to deal with IPSs?

The problem of illicit power presents a universal security challenge that, as the case studies illustrate, is not confined to time, terrain, or culture. As LTG H. R. McMaster pointed out in his forward to Impunity: “Crafting effective strategies . . . must begin with an understanding of the factors that drive violence, weaken state authority, and strengthen illicit actors and power structures.” This is an enduring problem. 

Although not specifically designed to do so, the “Countering Illicit Power” courseware does address a multiplicity of current Department of Defense requirements for both Service-specific and joint professional military education (JPME). 

Special consideration was also given to the Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Special Areas of Emphasis (SAE) List that was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for 2016-17. Thus, the “Countering Illicit Power” courseware addressed four of the five 2016 SAEs. There is some carryover into the SAEs for 2017-2018 as a result. The relevant 2016 SAEs are: 

SAE 1 -- Transregional, Multi-function, Multi-domain Joint Warfighting:  

a. Characteristics that define the strategic landscape and modern battlefield;
b. Comparative perspective on defining the enduring nature of war vice changing character of conflict; and
c. Ability to address warfare in the seams, to include economic, information, and gray zone competition; 

SAE 3 -- Counter/Anti-Corruption; 

SAE 4 -- Leveraging Security Force Assistance (SFA) Principles to Build Partner Security Capacity; and 

SAE 5 -- Operational Assessment [Contributes to all objectives, guides strategic questions, opportunities, risks, and indicators of performance, effectiveness, and success].1


  1. The Joint Staff – 2016 JPME Special Areas of Emphasis List.