The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS) — known informally as SWCS (pronounced “Swick”) — trains United States Army personnel for the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and Army Special Operation Forces (ARSOF), which includes Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations personnel. According to its mission statement, its purpose is to recruit, assess, select, train and educate the U.S. Army Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces Soldiers by providing superior training and education, relevant doctrine, effective career management and an integrated force-development capability.
The school began in 1951 as the Psychological Warfare division of the Army General School at Fort Riley, Kansas. The Army’s Psychological Warfare Center was created at Fort Bragg in May 1952 and the following month the school was co-located as the Psychological Warfare School. The center was proposed by the Army’s then Psychological Warfare Chief, Robert A. McClure, to provide doctrinal support and training for both psychological and conventional warfare.
The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) at Fort Bragg, N.C. manages and resources professional growth for Soldiers in the Army’s three distinct special-operations branches: Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Military Information Support. The soldiers educated through SWCS programs are using cultural expertise and unconventional techniques to serve their country in far-flung areas across the globe. More than anything, these soldiers bring integrity, adaptability and regional expertise to their assignments.
Special operations forces (SOF) training is grounded in the SOF Truths:
Quality is better than Quantity.
Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.
Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.[/headline]
On any given day, approximately 3,100 students are enrolled in SWCS training programs. Courses range from entry-level training to advanced war fighting skills for seasoned officers and NCOs. The 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) qualifies soldiers to enter the special-operations community, and teaches them advanced tactical skills as they progress through their careers. The Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center, operating under the auspices of the Special Warfare Medical Group, is the central training facility for Department of Defense special-operations combat medics. Furthermore, SWCS leads efforts to professionalize the Army’s entire special-operations force through the Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute and the David K. Thuma Noncommissioned Officer Academy. While most courses are conducted at Fort Bragg, SWCS enhances its training by maintaining facilities, and relationships with outside institutions, across the country.
In all, SWCS offers 41 unique courses that give soldiers the skills they need to survive and succeed on the battlefield.
The Army’s special-operations force is only as good as its education system. Likewise, that education system is only as good as its instructors. By employing the most experienced soldiers within its units and directorates, SWCS ensures the U.S. Army of tomorrow is equipped with the very best special-operations force. SWCS classes and field exercises are led by more than 400 military instructors, each of whom has operated in the same environments, for the same units, as their students will. Their real-world experience not only enhances the courses’ instruction; it fosters camaraderie built on students’ and instructors’ shared sense of duty and commitment. Annually, one third of the uniformed instructors rotate back to the operational force from which they came, to maintain operational relevancy in both SWCS and the Army’s special-operations units. As military personnel rotate between assignments, more than 200 expert civilian instructors and staff members support training, doctrine development and publishing initiatives by providing unique skill-sets.
Special-operations soldiers cannot be mass produced, and are elite because of the community’s rigorous selection standards. As the gateway to the special-operations community, SWCS selects only the top candidates to even attempt its rigorous training — soldiers who demonstrate character, commitment, courage and intelligence in their daily lives and professional careers. The Army’s special-operations unit commanders rely on the SWCS directorates to select the strongest candidates and give them the tools to succeed on the battlefield. Using lessons learned from these battlefields, curriculum and doctrine can be amended in a matter of weeks when gaps in training are identified. Together, these directorates oversee administration and policy throughout the community, serving the operational units while allowing them to focus on their missions with full confidence in their soldiers’ preparedness.
Army special-operations soldiers have a tremendous impact on today’s world. At each stage in their careers, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School is with them to guide and develop their skills