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2019 Seminar for Military and Intelligence Trainers and Instructors


Seminar for Military and Intelligence Trainers and Instructors

Infusing Robust Critical Thinking Into Military and Intelligence Courses

Learn the Approach to Critical Thinking Explicated in Army Techniques Publication TC 2-33.4: Intelligence Analysis - and How to Teach it to Others

      March  27-29, 2019 plus two follow-up webinars 

Registration Closed

Seminar was held at Compton Gardens 

 in Bentonville, Arkansas

The Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking Is Used throughout Military Intelligence and Education

For many years, the military arena has embraced the work of The Foundation for Critical Thinking. Because of the robust and integrated nature of our work , our framework remains the only explicit approach to critical thinking instruction detailed for use in an Army Techniques Publication (ATP 2-33.4 - Intelligence Analysis ). The Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking is used throughout military programs in all branches and within the intelligence community at many levels. Our approach has been implemented at the U.S. Naval War College, at Georgia Military College, at Fort Leavenworth’s U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and at many other government and military institutions.  

Th e Foundation for Critical Thinking continues to play a vital role in developing informed , efficient military leaders and personnel who communicate effectively and want to advance substantive critical thinking through their work in the U.S. Military .

We invite all military and intelligence educators, trainers, and facilitators to join us for our first seminar and course designed specifically for you. This course will be led by retired Navy Captain Robert Niewoehner, Ph.D. - an experimental test pilot and aerospace engineering educator - and Dr. Linda Elder, international authority on critical thinking and educational psychologist .

Seminar Description and Purposes

The seminar and course will begin with three days of interactive workshops that will enhance your understanding of critical thinking and how to best foster it in your courses and training programs. The  seminar will be followed by a voluntary one-hour webinar on Tuesday, April 9th , which will be followed by a second voluntary  one-hour webinar on Tuesday, April 23rd . The follow-up webinars are designed to help you continue advancing in critical thinking by learning to develop your own practice activities and processes under the direction of our critical thinking experts. Certificates of Completion will be available at the end of the process.  

The seminar will be held in a retreat setting in beautiful Northwest Arkansas, near globally-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum and world-class biking trails. Participants will stay in local hotels and rentals of their choosing.

The purpose of this seminar and course is to cultivate higher understandings of critical thinking concepts and principles within your departments, institutions, branches, and throughout all education programs in the military and the intelligence community. Through this seminar and course, you will learn to better employ critical thinking in reasoning through issues and problems every day. You will learn processes for better promoting substantive critical thinking, and for improving decision-making abilities within your education and training courses. 

Through this seminar, you will be better able to help students :

  • better use critical thinking as a set of tools for effectively thinking through the questions, issues, and challenges they face in all parts of their work;
  • learn the art of intelligent, strategic decision-making through use of critical thinking concepts;
  • comprehend the long-term implications and benefits of building a critical thinking culture;
  • internalize the skills, abilities, and traits of reasonable, logical persons who think critically through all manners of questions and problems; and
  • understand and more effectively deal with the barriers to cultivating critical thinking within military and intelligence programs.

A primary aim of this seminar and course is to help you understand the fundamentals of critical thinking, and to better bring them into your coursework routinely and systematically. Through this training, you will come to recognize explicitly that critical thinking is not something to add to what you already do, but is rather a way of dealing with all significant questions and problems in military and intelligence work. Cultivating a robust conception of critical thinking over time, your students and trainees will come to recognize the essential relationships between critical thinking and these fundamental skills and characteristics:

  • Skilled reasoning within all areas of work and life.
  • Skilled decision-making and problem-solving in the military and the intelligence community.
  • Skilled analysis and evaluation of one’s emotions and values (which affect one’s decisions, communication skills, and ability to reason through complex problems).
  • Making intelligent choices in human relationships in the work setting.
  • Skilled reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

This seminar and course is designed to empower you to help your students and trainees:

  • understand the importance of developing critical thinking skills, abilities, and traits in order to reason well through complex issues;
  • understand critical thinking as the key to high-quality reasoning within any domain of thought or work;
  • understand how to analyze thinking by focusing on its parts or elements, and how to use the elements of reasoning in working through decisions and problems;
  • understand the importance of universal intellectual standards in thinking and how to apply these standards in reasoning through significant decisions;
  • understand the fundamental barriers to critical thinking;
  • understand the relationships between thinking, emotions, and desires as well as how this understanding relates to one's ability to function at a high level; and,
  • see their development in critical thinking as unfolding in stages over time through intellectual discipline.

Why Do We Need Critical Thinking?

  • The world is swiftly changing, and with each day the pace quickens. The pressure to respond intensifies. New global realities are rapidly working their way into the deepest structures of our lives: economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental realities with profound implications for thinking, learning, business, politics, human rights, and human conflicts. These realities are becoming increasingly complex; many represent significant (even all-important) dangers and threats, and they all turn on the powerful dynamic of accelerating change.
  • Can we deal with incessant, accelerating change and complexity without revolutionizing our thinking? Traditionally, our thinking has been designed for routine, habit, automation, and fixed procedure. There was a time when people learned how to do their jobs once, and then used what they learned over and over. But the problems we now face, and will increasingly face, require a radically different form of thinking thinking that is more complex, adaptable, and rationally sensitive to divergent points of view. The world in which we now live requires that we continuously relearn, that we routinely rethink our decisions, and that we regularly reevaluate the way we work and live. In short, there is a new reality facing us in which the power of the mind to command itself, to regularly engage in self-analysis, will increasingly determine the quality of our  work, the quality of our lives, and perhaps even our very survival.
  • It is clear that, at present, we are perilously unprepared to deal with the intricacies of the world in which we find ourselves. The question of how to survive and succeed in this new context (and those which will face us three, five, ten, and twenty years from now) is a question continually being transformed. Accelerating change, increasing complexity, and intensifying danger have sounded the death knell  for traditional methods of thinking and instruction. How do we adapt to reality when reality seemingly won’t give us time to master it before it changes itself, again and again, in ways we can but partially anticipate? The only answer is to revolutionize our thinking; yet, the crucial need for ever-new modes of thought – modes which adapt to emerging problems and situations in new and humane ways is ignored by most people, organizations, and cultures today. 


The registration fee for this event covers tuition, learning materials, and the follow-up webinars. Limited scholarships are available - click here to learn more.

Registration Option
Price Per Attendee

Early Registration

Register by December 17, 2018

  • 1 attendee: $1,299
  • Group of 4+: $1,199

Standard Registration

Available December 17, 2018 - March 26, 2019

  • 1 attendee: $1,499
  • Group of 4+: $1,399

The Foundation for Critical Thinking

  • At the Foundation for Critical Thinking, we strive to contribute to a more reasonable, rational, productive, and just world. We help people develop the skills of mind they need to function better in their work and in every part of their lives. 
  • The human mind is our most powerful resource, and yet it is largely undeveloped, unskilled, and prejudiced. It distorts, engages in delusions and illusions, and is narrow in its reasoning. Deficiencies in thinking lie at the root of the most significant problems facing us today, and within the seeds of those we will face in the coming future. At the Foundation for Critical Thinking, we therefore seek to promote essential change in education and society through the cultivation of fairminded critical thinking thinking that is predisposed toward intellectual empathy, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual integrity, and intellectual responsibility. A rich intellectual environment is possible only with critical thinking at the foundation of society. Moreover, in a world of accelerating change, intensifying complexity, and increasing interdependence, critical thinking is now a requirement for economic, social, and, in some cases, literal survival.

Critical Thinking Resources for Leaders and Educators in the Military and Intelligence Community

Tens of thousands of military leaders, faculty, trainers, and students use our Thinker's Guide Library in learning critical thinking. Visit our bookstore to see the many guides we offer for use in teaching and learning critical thinking. 

We also offer customized professional development training in critical thinking – both on-site and online – for military and intelligence faculty, leaders, and other personnel. In our courses and other training, we help military, intelligence, and other government personnel contextualize critical thinking within their work and learn how best to employ critical thinking in reasoning through the complicated challenges they face every day. To learn more about our professional development opportunities, please submit a Professional Development Information Request Form or email Ms. Rachael Collins at

About Our Presenters

Dr. Rob Niewoehner

Dr. Rob Niewoehner is an aerospace engineering educator and experimental test pilot, his second career after 34 years in uniform and retiring as a Navy Captain. He authored Engineering our Thinking: Critical Thinking for Technical Professionals (2018). He co-authored the two-volume Flight Test Engineering as well as The Thinker's Guide to Engineering Reasoning . His collaborations with Drs. Richard Paul and Linda Elder date to 2005, when he realized that his own teaching wasn’t having the impact he desired on his students’ intellectual development. He credits Paul and Elder’s mentorship for the awards he’s since received as an engineering and military educator.

Dr. Linda Elder

Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking. She is President and Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level, and has given presentations to more than 50,000 educators. She has coauthored four books and 24 Thinker's Guides on critical thinking. Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and the barriers to critical thinking, Dr. Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking.

Additional Information: