EU Undercover Operations

Enabling officials to perform undercover operations to regional and international standards.

The EU Undercover Operations Course (EUUOC) combines the pre-selection, foundation and advanced courses as prescribed by international and regional curriculum. Students will learn how to establish and utilise a covert infrastructure, plan and prepare covert infiltration, participate in and deploy undercover operations against covert targets and sustain operations over time. The course draws particular focus to regional and international law, ethical standards, health, safety and security. The course requires attendance at selection weekend.

Introducing undercover operations, the course takes students with an existing knowledge of intelligence to the position of recognised covert operators.

Target Audience

The course is oriented towards trained and experienced intelligence professionals. Therefore, in addition to the usual minimum requirements for all Institute training, applicants should also posses regional training in intelligence on the operations, analysis or command track, equivalent to the EUIOC, EUIAC, EUIMC or similar. Historically, the programme has attracted the following representation:

Internationals: Representatives from EU, UN and other international agencies, missions and institutions. Nationals: National intelligence, military and law-enforcement delegates attending on behalf of European states.
Non-Profits: Functionaries in a position of public trust representing the media, NGOs, charitable and other third sector organisations. Others: Professionals from the private sector, academia and other organisations.

Learning Objectives

ECIM Concepts: Understand the European Criminal Intelligence Model (ECIM) and EU law and ethics impacting upon undercover operations. Prepare all appropriate authorisations and documentation to the required standard.

Covert Awareness: Improved self-motivation, problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills. Understand the limitations of informants, surveillance, electronic interception and other covert techniques. Explain the history and value of undercover tactics, handlers and agents in addressing social problems.

Operational Planning: Appreciate the security and confidentiality implications of undercover work. Plan short and long-term undercover operations.

Tactical Operations: Deter, disrupt and neutralise targets and operations where traditional methods have proven inefficient or unsuccessful. Provide intelligence and evidential support for tactical operations. Provide current, actionable and sustainable intelligence and evidence on targets and their activities. Penetrate target groups and identify unknown subjects of interest and their activities.

Covert Support: Develop advanced cover with covert infrastructure support. Conduct technical and physical surveillance countermeasures. Assess personal strengths, weaknesses and characteristics with regards to undercover deployment and prepare basic cover accordingly.

Welfare Management: Brief and de-brief undercover agents. Manage the health and safety, welfare, financial and managerial implications of undercover deployments.

Course Format

The EU Undercover Operations Course is designed to develop regional skills and knowledge in the field of deep cover operations overseas. To develop these skills a variety of formats and delivery methods have been used including:

  1. Flexible Delivery: Workshops and exercises as well as traditional lectures.
  2. Blended Learning: The latest iteration of the course combines preparatory training via our e-learning platform with consolidated learning in an intensive attendance programme.
  3. Coaching & Mentoring: Career advice in the security sector from recognised experts, assistance and support with course content and sustained aftercare.

Part 1 - Distance Learning

Prior to attendance each candidate must complete a preparatory learning programme delivered over no less than three months. Candidates are free to sign up at any time and on their own schedule. Therefore, between April and July the following webinars and other online events will be delivered over a secure platform. These sessions are on the more sensitive information and practical training needed to conduct deep cover operations at an international level. Each session is approximately 90mins in duration and most often scheduled during CET evenings and weekends to fit in with candidate's professional commitments.

  • Induction, Informants & Surveillance.
  • Interception & Covert Techniques.
  • Health, Safety & Welfare.
  • Deterrence and Disruption.
  • Influence & Deception Operations.
  • Covert Action.
  • Foot Surveillance.
  • Mobile & Progressive Surveillance.
  • Technical Surveillance & TSCM.
  • Undercover Surveillance & Reconnaissance.
  • Undercover Tactics.
  • Covert Support Structures.
  • Undercover Support to Operations.
  • Confidentiality & Security.
  • Undercover Selection.
  • Infiltration Tactics & Methodology.
  • Snap to Deep Cover.
  • Legend Development.
  • Bona Fides.
  • Covert Finance.
  • Legal Instruments.
  • Big Data, Cyber & OSINT.
  • Anti- & Counter-Surveillance.
  • Sabotage & Subversion (OTA*)
  • Covert Communications (OTA*)
  • Counter-Piracy (OTA*)

* Specialised optional training is offered with each of the Institute's courses. Although this extended training does not form part of the curriculum it is assessed and can offer candidates the opportunity to gain a more practical insight into a specific area of their training. These Optional Training Assessments (OTAs) are discretionary and may be offered at any point throughout the study cycle.

Part 2 - Residential School

After completion of the distance learning element in Stage I, an intensive residential school consolidates learning over five consecutive days, following a two day selection weekend. The majority of the school is Ex. THUNDERBOLT, a live training exercise and capability assessment during which candidates take on the role of undercover officers. Candidates must attend on-site in Vienna or Dublin to complete the school.

Day 1
Exercise Tenderfoot

Day 2
Exercise Tenderfoot

Day 3
Induction & Special Security Measures

Day 4
Operational Deployment

Day 5
Exercise Thunderbolt

Day 6
Exercise Thunderbolt

Day 7
Exercise Thunderbolt

Dates & Times

Candidates are free to sign up and begin studying at any time and on their own schedule. The residential school runs once a year, beginning on the third Monday in August and running for five consecutive days with the selection weekend beginning on the preceeding Saturday. Candidates may not be admitted to the residential school without having completed the distance learning element and passed selection. Therefore, candidates should ensure they are enrolled by no later than the first week in April to provide sufficient time to complete distance-learning and access to all available scheduled events. Applications take approximately 4 weeks to process but security vetting may take up to 6 months to complete for applicants who lack a current security clearance.


Assessment may be by any valid and accredited competency assessment meeting course requirements. However, competency is most commonly evidenced through the following combination of assessment methods:

  • A pre-selection dossier including validated: security vetting, professional/academic reference checks, higher education certification (degree-level or equivalent), fitness/medical checks and evidence of a relevant career history and assessed knowledge in European security.
  • A score of greater than 49% on the intelligence operations section of the MCPE or an equivalently balanced examination of similar content.
  • Submission of a portfolio of work satisfying the criteria for at least a pass according to the candidate handbook.
  • An approved assessor's independent testimony of observed competency across the undercover operations domain of the Integrated Competency Framework (ICF) for Intelligence throughout at least 10 hours of supervised professional practice.


Credentials are fully accredited for compliance with international standards. For further details on Institute requirements, international standards and accreditation, view the Accreditation page.


The EQF Level 3 Certificate in EU Undercover Operations accompanying this credential is earned after accruing 17 credits at approximately 170 guided learning hours.

Fees & Discounts

Not including accommodation, the course is delivered at a cost of €3500. Payment is accepted by bank transfer, card or PayPal. The following pricing options are available:

Member's Rate: If you have a current membership, log in with your user ID and password to receive a €170 discount when making your payment online.

Group Rate: If you are booking on behalf of a group, further incentives may apply. Please contact the head of the training and directing staff for further details.

Induction Fees: Candidates using the Institute to obtain a security clearance for the first time must also complete the Intelligence Security (INTSEC) awareness course. Those who have not studied with the Academy before must complete the Intelligence Foundations (INTFND) selection and induction course. Fees for these online short-courses are €350 and €150 respectively.


 IEIS Candidate Handbook (PDF, 352KB)
 EUUOC Syllabus & Curriculum (PDF, 198KB)


Vienna or Dublin.