John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

U.S. Army John F. Kennedy
Special Warfare Center and School
U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School shoulder sleeve insignia
Country  United States of America
Branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Type Special Operations
Role Recruit, assess, select, train and educate the U.S. Army Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces soldiers by providing training, education, doctrine, career management and a force-development capability

2,425 personnel authorized[1]

  • 1,891 military personnel
  • 534 civilian personnel
Part of United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command
U.S. Army Special Operations Command SSI (1989-2015).svg United States Army Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQ Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Nickname(s) SWCS
Motto(s) "Veritas et Libertas" (Truth and Freedom)
Major General James B. Linder[2]
Distinctive unit insignia
Swcs crest.png
Headquarters beret flash
USAJFKSWCS flash.gif
Headquarters background trimming

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.[3]


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 unconventional warfare.[4]

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 tasked with developing 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.[5]


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.

Approximately 3,100 students are enrolled in SWCS training programs at any given time. 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.

SWCS offers 41 different courses, including 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 at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.[6]

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, Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, Persian, Korean, Thai, Pashto, or Urdu with the end goal being to achieve an ILR score of III or IV (indicating professional proficiency). All students must pass an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) before moving to the next phase of their qualification course. The Defense Language Institute assists with this language education.

USAJFKSWCS flash.gif Units and directorates of the U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence Swcs crest.png[7]
Name Abbreviation Description
1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne)
1st SWTG(A)
US Army Special Warfare Training Group Flash.png
Provides entry-level through advanced training and education.
1st Battalion, 1st SWTG(A)
Trains entry-level SF Soldiers to succeed in combat on a SFODA. The training consists of tactical combat skills that include squad through company level tactics, Level C survival techniques enabling students to apply the Code of Conduct in order to survive and return home with honor, basic military occupational specialty (MOS) training, and unconventional warfare (UW).
2nd Battalion, 1st SWTG(A)
Trains SOF and other selected personnel in advanced special-operations skills, techniques, tactics, and procedures. Implements and evaluates associated doctrine, then deploys military training teams worldwide in support of regional combatant commanders and DoD missions.
3rd Battalion, 1st SWTG(A)
Trains and educates Army officers, NCOs, and Advanced Individual Training Soldiers in Civil Affairs operations.
4th Battalion, 1st SWTG(A)
Trains, advise, manage, counsel, and provide mentorship to all assigned students (US and Foreign) in the SF Qualification Course (SFQC) in order to produce expertly trained and well-prepared SF Soldiers.
5th Battalion, 1st SWTG(A)
Trains and educates Army officers, NCOs, and Advanced Individual Training Soldiers in Military Information Support operations.
6th Battalion, 1st SWTG(A)
Trains and educates SF, Joint Special Operations Forces, and other selected interagency personnel to conduct specialized intelligence and operational activities in order to provide them an unmatched capability to understand and address the diverse threats.
Support Battalion, 1st SWTG(A) Sustains the training force through the forecast and management of eight fundamental commodities consisting of communication and electronic, armament, aerial delivery, transportation, food service, publications, facilities, and Commanders In-Extremis Force (CIF). In concert with the commodities, the Support Battalion oversees a number of logistics-management programs that enhance training efforts. The SOCoE Personnel Action Center is a human-resource and academic-records company integrated with installation management to provide personnel-service support for the more than 3,500 students annually entering the Special Warfare Center. The Support Battalion has a support detachment forward to support the separate entities training at Camp Mackall and encompasses transportation, maintenance, food service, armament, communications and electronics, and installation support.
Special Warfare Education Group (Airborne)
US Army Special Warfare Education Group Flash.png
SWEG(A) is responsible for assessing, selecting, and educating U.S. Army Civil Affairs (CA), Psychological Operations (PSYOP), and SF Soldiers and civilians throughout their careers and consists of four departments: Human Dynamics Department, Academic Affairs and Education Department, Regional Studies Department, and Language Department.
Special Warfare Medical Group (Airborne)
US Army Special Warfare Medical Group Flash.png
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.
Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute
US Army Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute Flash.png
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.
David K. Thuma Non-Commissioned Officers Academy
US Army Special Warfare NCO Academy Flash.png
Develops and conducts Warrior Leader, Advanced and Senior Leader courses for Army special-operations non-commissioned officers.
Directorate of Training and Doctrine
DOTD is a hybrid organization that deals with doctrine, personnel proponency and the future training, leadership, and education needs of the Army Special Operations Forces. It comprises the former Directorate of Training and Doctrine, Directorate of Special Operations Proponency, and the Army Special Operations Capability Integration Center. DOTD has three branch proponents, Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, and Special Forces. For ARSOF overarching requirements there are three major elements within DOTD: Army Special Operations Capabilities Integration Center (ARSOCIC), Personnel Policy and Programs (PPP), and Training, Leader Development and Education (TLDE).

Former Commanders[edit]


  1. ^ SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES: Opportunities Exist to Improve Transparency of Funding and Assess Potential to Lessen Some Deployments (PDF) (Report). GAO. July 2015. GAO-15-571. Retrieved September 4, 2018. 
  2. ^ "SOCoE Command Group". US Army Special Operations Command. Retrieved 4 September 2018. 
  3. ^ "The US Army Special Operations Center of Excellence". US Army Special Operations Command. Retrieved 4 September 2018. 
  4. ^ Paddock, Alfred H., Jr (November 1979). "Psychological and Unconventional Warfare, 1941–1952: Origins of a Special Warfare Capability for the United States Army". 
  5. ^ "Official overview and history of SWCS". 
  6. ^ SWCS Academic Handbook (
  7. ^ SOCoE Units or Organization,, last accessed 17 December 2016

External links[edit]