United States Air Force Special Operations School
The United States Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) is a school under the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center (AFSOAWC), which falls under the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). AFSOC is the Air Force component of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
USAFSOS provides education to turn skilled Airmen into Air Commandos, a term used for U.S. Air Force Special Operators. The school provides specialized education to meet the unique requirements of AFSOC Airmen and joint and international special operations members. USAFSOS builds on the functional training conducted by other agencies like the USAF Air Education and Training Command and Other USSOCOM Service component training schools including Naval Special Warfare Command's Naval Special Warfare Center and U.S. Army Special Operations Command's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
The U.S. Air Force Special Air Warfare School was activated at Hurlburt Field in April 1967 under the Special Air Warfare Center, then located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The school was redesignated the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School in 1968. The School’s initial course was the Special Air Warfare Indoctrination Course designed to prepare Air Force personnel for duty in Southeast Asia. Since then, the curriculum has changed continuously to meet the emerging educational needs of special operations warriors as they respond to complex world situations.
Personnel and resources
USAFSOS is a "de facto" joint school, because of heavy joint/civilian attendance and the joint nature of subjects taught. The staff and faculty have a diverse mix of career fields and expertise and are a range of Air Force officers and enlisted personnel, AF Reserve individual mobilization augmentees, AF civilians and contractors.
The USAFSOS curriculum is directed by the AFSOC Commander to meet USSOCOM validated educational requirements. USAFSOS follows the USAF Instructional Systems Development model for course design and delivery.
Currently, courses are organized in one of four content areas: Irregular Warfare, Regional and Cultural Expertise, Special Operations and Language Training.
1. Irregular Warfare courses educate SOF personnel on a range of adversarial threats and operational and technological countermeasures available for consideration. Irregular Warfare courses include Aviation Foreign Internal Defense, International Terrorism, Force Protection and Interagency.
2. Regional and Cultural Expertise courses are geared to SOF areas of responsibility and trace their roots to the very first course taught at USAFSOS. The purpose of these courses is to educate the SOF warrior to the cultural, historical, political, economic and security issues of a particular region. Regional courses include offering covering Africa, Europe, Asia, Central and South America and the Pacific.
3. Special Operations courses indoctrinate new members of AFSOC and prepare Air Force special operators for global missions. Special operations courses include Special Operations Air Command and Control and Intelligence.
4. The USAFSOS Language Center provides initial acquisition, sustainment and just in time language training across a range of Department of Defense established critical languages.
Several USAFSOS courses utilize expert guest speakers, many at the top of their field, to ensure the most timely and relevant information is provided to the students. Over 700 such guest speakers, including former ambassadors, distinguished academicians, and active duty and retired flag-rank officers, regularly support USAFSOS. USAFSOS meets an increasing demand for "thinking warriors."
Course offerings are available at several locations worldwide as determined by AFSOC requirements. For some courses, open seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis to members of the Department of Defense and other U.S. Government agencies. Students are responsible for ensuring security clearance requirements are met before attending courses.
There are no tuition charges for U.S. military and government personnel attending USAFSOS courses. The owning unit funds student attendance.