SMEIR HISTORY AND TEAM
Founded in 2006, IDS International Government Services (IDS) has become an innovator in multidisciplinary solutions, bridging the gaps between operational needs and organizational capabilities. Our team of interagency trainers and field practitioners provide expertise in conflict, politics, cyber, development, counter-narcotics, disaster relief, and social science research, among other areas.
IDS developed SMEIR to address the cyber and social media training needs of Combat Training Center (CTC) operational environments at the National Training Center (NTC) and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). The initial focus was to provide conventional Army units with an opportunity to access, research, and perform data analysis on social media content, while affording the unit’s Public Affairs (PA), Military Intelligence (MI), Psychological Operations (PSYOPS), and Civil Affairs (CA) elements the opportunity to interact with the notional population based on newly available social media data analytics.
As Cyber Mission Force (CMF) and United States Special Forces Command (USSOCOM) elements increased their participation at the CTCs, SMEIR grew to incorporate the unique training scenarios these elements require. To meet these initial requirements, SMEIR trainers provided USSOCOM elements with the ability to train on digital human intelligence tradecraft and virtually replicated real-world adversary network infrastructures that facilitated the CMF to be trained in network mapping, attack, and defense within select portions of the replicated network.
President / CEO
Nick Dowling is the President and CEO of IDS International, which he founded in 2006 to provide military and civilian customers with innovative solutions to complex and multidimensional national security challenges. Since that time, IDS has grown rapidly and emerged as high-quality provider of training, data research, and engineering services to the US government and international partners.
Under Dowling’s leadership, IDS has grown rapidly and today comprises a talented team of several hundred defense, development, and diplomacy experts. IDS offers a variety of innovative solutions and capabilities, including training, expeditionary services, data research, and cyber and information warfare. The company is the developer and exclusive provider of SMEIR™, a cyber and information warfare training system. Since its creation, SMEIR has been used at the Joint Readiness Training Center, National Training Center, Cybertropolis, Cyber Blitz, and at a variety of civilian locations hosting special forces training.
For nearly three decades, Dowling’s career has focused on the challenge of conflict and instability. In his government service, Dowling worked to end the Balkan wars, serving as Director for European affairs at the National Security Council where he helped coordinate Bosnia and Kosovo policy. Dowling also served as a defense fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a senior fellow at the National Defense University, and as a policy advisor for two presidential campaigns and one US Senate campaign. His private sector work has focused on land force training, capacity building, open source intelligence, cyber and information warfare, Monitoring and Evaluation, interagency coordination, and US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Dowling has a B.A. in government from Harvard College and an M.A. in National Security Studies from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Vice President, Cyber and Information Warfare
Noah Melgar is vice president of cyber and information warfare at IDS International, where he leverages his industry expertise in building cognitive Big Data intelligence tools, writing cutting-edge cyberspace training curricula, and creating realistic replicated internet environments for training purposes. In 2013, he developed a cyberspace training and exercise support program to help the Department of Defense (DoD) navigate the ever-expanding world of social media analytics and cyber operations. This initial work grew into its own Cyber and Information Warfare Department in 2015 and into its own company in 2018. The group offers a range of capabilities that bridge the nexus of social media analytics, software development, network engineering, and cyber planning to help the US government understand and mitigate cyber threats.
At IDS, Melgar also oversees day-to-day operations and strategic planning for SMEIR, a scenario-based capability that provides social media inputs and cyberattacks to help training units better understand the virtual human domain and its relevance to planning and operations. The technology is supported by teams of subject matter experts from Special Operations Forces (SOF) to the intelligence community. Through Melgar’s work, C-SMEIR has been used by US Army Special Operation Forces (SOF), Psychological Operations (PSYOP), and Civil Affairs (CA) units, from the team to the battalion level at the Joint Readiness Training Center, National Training Center, and at civilian locations hosting mission readiness exercises. This is one of many capabilities that enable public and private sector clients to understand, engage, and harness the world of offensive cyber, defensive cyber, and information operations.
Melgar has embedded and served as an advisor to Special Forces in rural Afghanistan on population stability operations and The Royal Project in Northern Thailand on illicit crop alternatives. A combat veteran (US Marine Corps, Iraq), he has served on training missions with the Ugandan, Tanzanian, Rwandan, and Kenyan armies in East Africa.
Melgar holds a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and international business from the University of Kentucky.
ADDITIONAL SMEIR LEADERSHIP
Built by Operators for Operators
Director, Product Development
Matt Ehlers is responsible for leading and overseeing the development of SMEIR. He influences the strategic direction of the cyber and information warfare training range and develops tactical action plans to build future functionality.
Ehlers has also served at IDS as an intelligence analyst for a United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) J39 pilot project and is program manager for IDS’s Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) Synthetic Internet for Training and Exercises (SITE) project.
Prior to his time at IDS, Ehlers was an Infantryman and Psychological Operations Sergeant in multiple leadership and staff positions from Infantry Squad Leader, Military Information Support Team (MIST) Detachment Sergeant at the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Gulf Cooperation Council (JSOTF-GCC), acting company First Sergeant in 4th Psychological Operations Group (POG), and Contingency Operations (CONOP) Planner at the Special Operations Command – Central (SOCCENT) J5.
During his time at the JSOTF-GCC, Ehlers led a PSYOP detachment supporting Foreign Internal Defense (FID) and Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations.
As a CONOP Planner, he countered malign foreign influence in non-permissive environments with support from interagency partners.
Ehlers has served in multiple combat zones on numerous deployments to include Afghanistan, Iraq, and GCC nations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Fire Protection Administration from Eastern Kentucky University as well as numerous technical industry certifications.