The personnel of Special Operations Forces (SOF) units are constantly receiving training and attending advanced educational schools throughout their careers. This begins with their initial training that allows them entry into the SOF community. For the U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier the beginning is ‘getting selected’ in the Special Forces Assessment & Selection (SFAS) course and then graduating from the very demanding Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The training and education continue as the Special Forces Soldier goes through the ranks. The same can be said of the personnel of the Navy Special Warfare community, the Marine Corps’ MARSOC, and the Air Force’s AFSOC. One of the institutions that provides advanced learning at a higher level for all U.S. special operations forces personnel is the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU).

The Joint Special Operations University is located on MacDill Air Force, Florida. The air base is located eight miles south of the city of Tampa. It is a subordinate organization of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).  USSOCOM is the four-star headquarters for all U.S. special operations (Marines, Army, Air Force, and Navy). The Joint Special Operations University provides a variety of educational experiences utilizing residence courses, distance learning, integrating its activities with other military education schools of all the services.

The school’s purpose is to prepare the SOF personnel of all services for their missions around the world by offering specialized professional military education about special operations. The school was established as an institute of higher learning in September 2000 with the mission of focusing on special operations education. Some of the courses offered are listed below:

Cultural Analysis in Special Operations
Employment of Special Operations
Evolution of U.S. Special Operations Forces
Influence in Special Operations
International and Interagency Special Operations
Irregular Warfare
Joint Special Operations Forces Senior Enlisted Academy
Special Operations Combating Terrorism
Asymmetric Warfare
Counter Threat Finance
Countering Violent Extremism
Maritime Operational Planning Course

Many of the courses are just a few weeks long while others are bit longer. Some courses are taught at the unclassified level, some require a current SECRET clearance, and others (such as the intelligence related courses) require a TOP SECRET / SCI clearance. There are three separate academic departments – The Center for Continuing Education, the College of Special Operations, and the Enlisted Academy. Many of the courses offered at JSOU are available for international students.

Joint Special Operations University (JSOU)