From the commandant
By Maj. Gen. Bennet S. Sacolick
Originally published in the October-December 2011 edition of Special Warfare
We are making a number of changes at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, or SWCS, and pursuing initiatives designed to allow us to operate more efficiently and to professionalize the force, but none are more important than the ones we're undertaking to develop our training cadre.
We are, and must be, an adaptive organization characterized by agility, collaboration, accountability and integrity. We are the special-operations center of learning, and our credibility in producing the world's finest special operators is recognized and sustained by every single member of our three regiments. We are less concerned with the quantity of SWCS graduates than we are with the quality of our instruction. It is our mission to provide Army special-operations forces regiments with professionally trained and well-educated Civil Affairs, Military Information Support and Special Forces Soldiers and to train and develop those Soldiers from recruitment to retirement. As part of that mission, we promote life-long learning and transformation.
But the quality of our instruction cannot exceed the quality of our instructors. The professionalism of the force starts here, literally the first day a Soldier arrives at SWCS, with the first person he sees. For that reason, our cadre is our center of gravity. And just as we seek to professionalize the force, we must ensure that we are professionalizing our cadre.
As in our training of ARSOF Soldiers, the first requirement is to assess and select Soldiers who are appropriate for the mission. We are implementing a preferred-placement concept that will work within the Army Human Resources Command's levy process. The concept is designed to identify key skills and attributes of incoming instructor personnel and place instructors in positions that capitalize on their talents, education, experience and motivation.
At the heart of our cadre-development plan is the creation of the Special Operations Instructor Course, or SOIC, which will replace the current Instructor Training Course. SOIC will focus on contemporary instructional and learning models informed by our work with other military and civilian educational institutions. Then throughout their SWCS tour, instructors will receive continuing instructor professional development that will be monitored by their instructional leadership teams. An expanded instructor feedback mechanism will round out our cadre-development plan. The plan aligns course-developer and instructor efforts within a system of enhanced instructor feedback to ensure continuous instructor improvement.
The increased emphasis on the placement and development of our instructor talent will not only increase the quality of instruction for our students but also enhance the quality of the NCOs we return to the force after they complete their assignment as a SWCS instructor.
It is our intent to create an agile, adaptive organization where the best, the brightest and the most intellectually curious instructors are attracted, retained and empowered. We will encourage our cadre, our center of gravity, to actively reflect upon their profession, to develop experience-based improvements in curriculum, to embrace constant personal development, and always to use their initiative in producing America's finest special operators.