A Niche Capability: Vermont Instructs the Future of Warfare

The curriculum is delivered in a state-of-the-art facility located in Vermont. This multi-media classroom provides students with the highest quality learning environment. (Photo courtesy of the 3-124th IO Battalion) Story by Staff Sgt. Sarah Mattison, State Public Affairs

Recently the Vermont National Guard's 3-124th Information Operations Battalion was named the
Tactical Information Operations schoolhouse for the United States Army. Starting in 2015, the
Regional Training Institute (RTI) will see an influx of students from across the country, essentially
tripling the number of students attending the schoolhouse each year.
The Vermont National Guard's 3-124th Information Operations (IO) Battalion, Regional Training
Institute (RTI-VT) is the only Army National Guard or Reserve Component schoolhouse offering
courses that train entry, intermediate, and advanced level skills in Inform and Influence Activities (IIA).
"RTI-VT presents added value to Commands who send their soldiers to our training by offering a full
service schoolhouse. Delivering high quality training while saving money enables us to train more of
the total force. There is significant per diem costs savings when students live in our barracks and eat
in our dining facility," said Master Sgt. Scott Carbee, the Chief Instructor at the 3-124th IO Battalion.
Currently, the 3rd, 124th Information Operations Battalion instructs three different Information
Operations (IO) courses. The basic course, IIA-101 is a 40-hour distance-learning class and is a prerequisite
for both the Tactical Information Operations Course (TIOC) and the Functional Area 30
(FA30) Qualification Course.
The Tactical Information Operations Course is a 15-day resident class. There are four to eight courses
a year for TIOC, with 130-150 students graduating yearly. TIOC is open to all services of the military
and is also available to international soldiers as well.
Recently, two soldiers from Macedonia, members of Vermont's State Partnership Program, graduated
from TIOC. Additionally, RTI-VT is the only schoolhouse in the U.S. Army that teaches TIOC to Active,
Reserve and National Guard Soldiers. Upon completion of TIOC, soldiers are awarded the ASI-P4,
which signifies the Information Operations additional skill identifier.
The third course taught by the 3-124th Information Operations Battalion is an online, distancelearning
course the Functional Area 30 (FA30) Qualification Course. Approximately 50 students each
year participate and it is typically comprised of field grade officers, although Captains have the
opportunity to attend, usually in response to an upcoming deployment.
The 3-124th Information Operations Battalion delivers the Non-resident FA30 Qualification Course,
while the Resident course is taught at Fort Leavenworth. The two courses work in close collaboration
with one another.
"Knowing that the environment must be shaped is not enough. Combatant Commanders realize that
every soldier plays a role in influencing the battle space. Getting them trained on the available IIA
tools is critical to mission success. Effective IIA uses all components of the mission command
system to integrate, coordinate, and synchronize the use of information related capabilities into the
unit's supported operations. Our courses teach students to do that," said Lt. Col. David Leonard, the
3-124th Battalion Commander.
Currently, the Battalion has 20 instructors, seven of whom instruct FA30, while the remainder teach
TIOC. In addition, they have the capability to deploy Mobile Training Teams (MTT's) to units
throughout the country. These teams, comprised of five instructors, can travel to any CONUS unit
and offer the same quality and professional training that is offered as the in-residence course in
Vermont. This not only allows units to enroll multiple Soldiers, but also saves travel and per diem
funds by having the instructors go to another state versus sending multiple students to Vermont to
receive training.
When asked how Information Operations is utilized in the field, Carbee said, "Information Operations
takes experiences from within the operational environment, and fairly quickly synthesizes those back
into the way that we do business using TTP's (tactics, techniques, and procedures) to better prepare
the forces in an expedited manner, to what the normal doctrinal process would do. When we have
people return from in-theatre and they tell us what kinds of things are going on, we can relate that
into our courses so that we can help to make their operations planning more successful in theatre."
One of the biggest changes affecting the courses here in Vermont is the release of the new FM 3-13,
Inform and Influence Activities doctrine. In it, Inform and Influence Activities have been defined. In
response to this change, the TIOC will eventually be replaced by TIIAC (Tactical Inform and Influence
Activities Course). TIIAC is currently in development and will become a 40-hour distributed learning
course with a five-day resident class.
"This is the future of warfare. Information is power and utilizing that information as a force multiplier
is critical to mission success," stated Leonard.