John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School

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U.S. Army John F. Kennedy
Special Warfare Center and School
JFKSWCS SSI.gif
U.S. Army John F. Kennedy
Special Warfare Center and School insignia
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Type Special Operations
Role Recruit, assess, select, train and educate the U.S. Army Civil Affairs, Pyschological Operations and Special Forces soldiers by providing training, education, doctrine, career management and a force-development capability
Part of United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command
US Army Special Operations Command SSI.svg United States Army Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQ Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Nickname SWCS
Motto "Veritas et Libertas" (Truth and Freedom)
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier General Eric P. Wendt[1]
Insignia
Distinctive Unit Insignia Swcs crest.png
Beret Flash USAJFKSWCS flash.gif
Background Trimming USAJFKSWCS trim.gif

The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) – known informally as "Swick" – primarily trains and educates United States Army personnel for the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which includes Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations personnel. Its purpose is to recruit, assess, select, train and educate the U.S. Army Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces Soldiers by providing training and education, developing doctrine, integrating force-development capability, and providing career management.[2]

History[edit]

The command originated in 1950, when the U.S. Army developed the Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) Division of the Army General School at Fort Riley, Kansas. The U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Center and School, which included operational tactical units and a school under the same umbrella, moved to Fort Bragg in 1952. 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.[3]

In 1956, the PSYWAR Center and School was renamed the U.S. Army Center for Special Warfare/U.S. Army Special Warfare School. The school was given the responsibility to develop the doctrine, techniques, training and education of Special Forces and Psychological Operations personnel. In 1960, the school's responsibilities expanded to counterinsurgency operations. In 1962, the Special Warfare Center established a Special Forces Training Group to train enlisted volunteers for operational assignments within Special Forces units. The Advanced Training Committee was formed to explore and develop methods of infiltration and exfiltration. On 16 May 1969, the school was renamed the U.S. Army Institute for Military Assistance. The curriculum was expanded to provide training in high-altitude, low-opening (HALO) parachuting and SCUBA operations. The institute comprised the SF School, Psychological Operations, Military Assistance Training Advisors School, Counter-Insurgency School, Unconventional Warfare School and Department of Non-Resident Training.

On 1 April 1972, the U.S. Army Civil Affairs School was transferred from Fort Gordon, Georgia to Fort Bragg, to begin operating under the center's umbrella. In 1973, the center was assigned to the new U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). On 1 June 1982, the Chief of Staff of the Army approved the separation of the center as an independent TRADOC activity under the name U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center (SWC). The SWC integrated special operations into the Army systems, training and operations, becoming the proponent school for Army Special Operations Forces.

In 1985, SWC was recognized as the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS). The major change at this time was the establishment of six training departments: Special Forces; Special Operations Advanced Skills; Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape; Foreign Area Officer; Civil Affairs; and Psychological Operations. A few years later, the Noncommissioned Officer Academy was instituted. On 20 June 1990, SWCS was reassigned from TRADOC to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. This designation gave USASOC control of all components of SOF, with the exception of forward-deployed units.[4]

Overview[edit]

The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) at Fort Bragg, N.C. manages and resources training, education and growth for Soldiers in the Army’s special-operations branches.

Special operations forces (SOF) training is grounded in the SOF Truths:[5]

  • Humans are more important than hardware.
  • Quality is better than quantity.
  • Special-operations forces cannot be mass-produced.
  • Competent special-operations forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.
  • Most special operations require non-SOF support

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. SWCS also maintains the Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute and the David K. Thuma Noncommissioned Officer Academy. While most courses are conducted at Fort Bragg, SWCS also has facilities and relationships with outside institutions.

In all, SWCS offers 41 unique courses, including assessment & selection and qualification courses for Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, Special Forces and Cultural Support. Advanced skills courses include combat diver training in Key West, Florida, sniper training at Fort Bragg and military freefall training in at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.[5]

Regional studies and education constitutes Phase II of the three branches' qualification courses. This phase lasts 18 to 24 weeks depending on the language category (CAT) assigned them. Students who are assigned to CAT I or II languages such as Spanish, French and Indonesian spend 18 weeks of study with the end goal being to achieve a score of 2 on the Interagency Language Roundtable Scale (ILR). Students spend 24 weeks studying CAT III or IV languages such as Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Tagalog, Persian, Korean, Thai, Pashto and Urdu with the end goal being to achieve an ILR score of III or IV. Students of all languages must pass an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) before moving to the next phase of their qualification course. SWCS offers intermediate and advanced language classes where students are expected to develop advanced skills in the language such as reading and listening. To achieve that, they take intensive courses sometimes administered by language detachments from the Defense Language Institute (DLI) with the goal of achieving a score of 2 to 3 in the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT).

Units[edit]

Units and directorates within SWCS
Type Name Abbreviation Description
Training 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) 1st SWTG(A) Provides entry-level through advanced training and education.
Training 1st Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) 1BN Trains entry-level Special Forces Soldiers attending the SF Qualification Course. Includes military-occupational specialty training for each 18-series MOS except 18D, tactical combat skills training and the Robin Sage unconventional warfare exercise.
Training 2nd Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) 2BN Trains advanced special-operations skills, techniques, tactics and procedures. Implements and evaluates associated doctrine. Includes military freefall, combat diver and sniper training courses.
Training 3rd Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) 3BN Trains and evaluates active-duty and Army Reserve officers and NCOs in Civil Affairs operations.
Training 4th Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) 4BN Trains, advises, manages, counsels and provides mentorship to all assigned students (U.S. and foreign) in the Special Forces Qualification Course.
Training 5th Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) 5BN Trains and evaluates active-duty and Army Reserve officers and NCOs in Psychological Operations.
Training 6th Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) 6BN Conducts special-operations intelligence training.
Training Support Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) Sustains training force at Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall. Services include academic records, food service, installation support, installation, maintenance and armament.
Training Special Warfare Medical Group (Airborne) SWMG(A) Together with the Naval Special Operations Medical Institute (NSOMI), composes the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center (JSOMTC). Educates and trains special operation combat medics SOCMs.
Training Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute WOI Educates, mentors, and provides training to become a commissioned warrant officer in the U.S. Army, Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 180A. Conducts advanced education and training courses for mid and senior grade Special Forces warrant officers. Serves as a catalyst for research and development of warrant officer professionalism.
Training David K. Thuma Noncommissioned Officers Academy NCOA Develops and conducts Warrior Leader, Advanced and Senior Leader courses for Army special-operations soldiers.
Directorate Army Special Operations Capabilities Integration Cell ARSOCIC Conducts concept development, experimentations and wargames; leads ARSOF modeling and simulations program; conducts digital and virtual individual training and collective battle-command training.
Directorate Directorate of Regional Studies and Education DRSE Educates special-operations soldiers in regional studies, foreign languages, culture, adaptive thinking, leadership, behavioral science and education.
Directorate Directorate of Special Operations Proponency DSOP Responsible for force management, focused on personnel life-cycle functions to develop and implement plans, programs and policies for active- and reserve-components. Conducts all assessment and selection programs.
Directorate Directorate of Training and Doctrine DOTD Analyzes, designs, develops and produces training and doctrinal literature.

Former Commanders[edit]

BG Eric P. Wendt

BG David G. Fox

MG Edward Reeder

MG Bennet Sacolick

References[edit]

External links[edit]