It is the USAJFKSWCS vision that ARSOF officers, select warrant officers and select NCOs will have a master’s degree along appropriate Professional Military Education (PME) and career timelines. Three of the specific programs designed for SOF Operators are highlighted below.
• 10-month program established at Fort Bragg site in summer 2010
• 20 students (7 NCOs, 13 officers) graduated on June 3, 2011
• 40 students (17 NCOs, 23 officers) started academic year 2012
In September 2010, SWCS, in partnership with the National Defense University, or NDU, began offering a fully accredited program for a master of arts in strategic-security studies.
The program mirrors the master of arts in strategic security studies, or MASSS, offered by NDU’s College of International Security Affairs. The NDU program is designed for students from U.S. departments and agencies, congressional staffs, and military and civilian representatives of the international community who operate in the Washington, D.C., area.
The SWCS/NDU program is offered to NCOs in grades E7 and above, warrant officers and officers from all special-operations branches who have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
The 10-month curriculum offers a strategic perspective on the global threat environment; the rise of newly empowered and politicized ideological movements; the relationship between political objectives; strategy; all instruments of national power; and the roles of power and ideology. Through seminars, independent study, research and the writing of a thesis, students will develop strategies for working with other agencies and with members of the international coalition. Through a combination of academic and practical learning, the program will prepare professionals to develop and implement national and international security strategies for conditions of peace, crisis and war.
Students who complete the MASSS degree should be able to meet the following learning objectives:
(1) Analyze the 21st-century geopolitical environment characterized by the rise of nonstate armed groups and the uneven erosion of state sovereignty;
(2) Evaluate the roles of power and ideology, the rise of newly empowered and politicized ideological movements, and the bases for authority and legitimacy;
(3) Understand the relationship between political objectives, strategy and all instruments of national power;
(4) Develop skills needed for thinking critically and strategically and for differentiating between policy and analysis. Put knowledge into practice in complex circumstances involving collaboration with diverse partners.
The SWCS/NDU master’s program is fast-paced and demanding. Students’ education backgrounds will vary — some may have completed their undergraduate degree recently, while others may have completed it years ago. To better prepare all students for the academic rigors of the program, the SWCS Education Management Division is coordinating with the Army Center for Enhanced Performance – Fort Bragg to develop an academic-success program tailored to the needs of the students.
The curriculum begins in September each year. Interested Soldiers should submit their application packet to the SWCS Directorate of Special Operations Proponency not later than April of the same year in which they wish to begin. Packets should include an application for the NDU College of International Security Affairs (Click Here), official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended, and a letter of release/endorsement from the current unit commander. For additional information, telephone the SWCS education counselor at DSN 239-9604 or commercial (910) 432-9604.
• 20 SOF students per year; conducted in conjunction with ILE at Fort Leavenworth, KS
• From August to March during ILE you will attend night school and from April to July you will attend classes at KU campus
ARSOF field-grade officers may apply to attend an 18-month program in the Naval Postgraduate School Defense Analysis department in Monterey, Calif. This program focuses on the study of irregular warfare and results in a masters degree for course graduates and counts as your intermediate-level education course. Col. Guy LeMire, a senior service college fellow in the Defense Analysis department, describes the program in detail in the following short video. Click here for Video
The University of Kansas (KU): Master’s Degree in Global and International Studies, Global Interagency Studies Track
• 55 new ARSOF students per year
• 18 month program; ILE completed during program
The Global Interagency Studies track of the M.A. in Global and International Studies program is fully funded by the United States Special Operations Command and is specifically tailored for Special Operations Forces officers. The program is now in its third year. All students are all nominated by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and admitted to KU through the Center for Global and International Studies. After successful completion of the graduate program, the University awards each graduate a Master of Arts in Global and International Studies with a Concentration in Global Interagency Studies.
The curriculum consists of 33 credit hours, with KU granting six hours of credit for ILE education. The remaining 27 credit hours come from nine KU courses that will be taught at two locations: night courses at the Command and General Staff College and day courses at KU’s main campus in Lawrence, Kansas. The night-school classes – four courses taken in sequence – are taught from August to March at CGSC. The final five courses are taught at KU from April through July. The program is fully integrated into the ILE year to minimize the impact on officers’ time.