U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and SchoolSWCS 2030
Continuous Transformation and Modernization

By Brig. Gen. Guillaume “Will” Beaurpere, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Ostrander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Lionel “Lee” Strong, USAJFKSWCS Command Group

The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School delivers world-class Special Forces (SF), Civil Affairs (CA), and Psychological Operations (PO) Soldiers and doctrine for the full range of military operations across all domains and dimensions. 

With a multi-component (COMPO) (Regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve) responsibility, the SWCS’ role as an Army Center of Excellence includes supporting the doctrinal, training, leadership and education, and personnel proponency needs of the total Army for CA, PO and SF. In addition to its assumption of branch proponent responsibilities, SWCS assumed the specified proponent responsibility for irregular warfare for the Army as delegated by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. This responsibility affords SWCS an opportunity to lead the Army’s effort to think deeply about the role of irregular warfare and special operations activities in support of the full range of military operations.

Why SWCS must Change

Our institution must transform to address the modern multidomain and multidimensional battlefield, and we must do so with urgency knowing that Army special operations formations are already asked to take a leading role in solving the challenges instigated by peer and near-peer competitors worldwide.

Change does not come without risk. For over 70 years, we have operated under a Center and a singular school model. The SWCS 2030 Strategy transforms the CoE into a Center with three unique and largely autonomous schools—a move that will require vigilance on the part of the staff to address various challenges. As our institution evolves and modernizes, we are prepared to identify and mitigate risk wherever possible.


Branch Schools – What Remains Unchanged

As SWCS executes its 2030 Strategy and accompanying lines of effort, we will not change the standards or quality of instruction at our selection and assessment, qualification training or advanced skills courses. Our high standards are nonnegotiable. Current and future assessment and selection candidates and qualification course students will not be affected by the reorganization. While SWCS will continue to modernize courses to remain the world’s premier training institution, these efforts will neither distract from nor be distracted by this deliberate reorganization of our headquarters and establishment of branch schools.

The structure and missions of the Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute, the Master Sgt. David K. Thuma Noncommissioned Officer Academy and Special Warfare Medical Group remain unchanged. The SWCS will continue to own professional military education for its noncommissioned officers and warrant officers. Each of these elements will continue to provide world-class training and professional development to our ARSOF, Army, and joint formations.
SWCS 2030 Strategy Flow Chart

Branch Schools – What Changes

The SWCS 2030 Line of Effort 2, Transformation and Modernization, directs the formation of three branch schools. Each of the branch schools/training battalions (qualification courses) will be overseen by a commandant who is similarly responsible for branch-specific proponent roles and DTLP functions. The intent is for each school commandant (preferably an O-6 Centralized Selection List select) to be paired with a command sergeant major senior enlisted advisor to form the command team of each branch school. This is critical to the credibility and success of the schools, the institution, and the branches.  The commandant will enforce unity of command and unity of effort by combining command and branch proponent leadership with branch qualification standards in curriculum developed and implemented within a subordinate training unit.
SWCS 2030 Command Structure

Our investment in a senior officer and enlisted branch representatives provides each of our three career fields the expertise needed to effectively integrate DTLP across the Center and adjacent branch schools. This command team provides more precise management and representation of branch equities and greater integration of the capabilities they provide the Army and joint force to preserve combat power and increase the likelihood of operational success. Meanwhile, the Center remains relatively unchanged in its administration, management, and resourcing functions to ensure the successful development and publishing of doctrine, training management and resourcing, leadership and education, and proponent programs and products.

Irregular Warfare

On Feb. 28, 2022, Headquarters Department of the Army G3/5/7 designated the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and, in turn, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School as the Army Proponent for Irregular Warfare (IW).  As the IW Proponent, SWCS is responsible for doctrine, training, leader development and education, and personnel proponent functions as outlined in AR 5-22, Army’s Force Modernization Proponent and Integration System. In keeping with our school’s concept and recognizing our IW responsibilities to the Army and the joint force, we intend to establish an IW Academy. The initial estimate calls for the realignment of our ARSOF Captains Career Course, our Language, Regional Education, and Culture program, and a few of our specialized courses that address innovation and experimentation initiatives (i.e. advanced planning, cyber, unmanned systems, robotics). As resources allow, we anticipate a need to deliver revised IW curriculum to Army professional military education (PME) from the basic NCO and officer leader courses to intermediate level education and beyond.  In keeping with the direction of Army doctrine in the multidomain for greater joint and allied partnerships, we envision our IW training and education to look a lot like our Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center and PSYOP Qualification Courses, each of which possess joint accreditation.  Our IW Academy is an Army academy offering intellectual capacity and leading-edge human and informational advantage indispensable to success in irregular warfare operations and activities.


Aligning Multi Compo Branches

The SWCS is responsible for the training, education, professional development, and personnel management of the three branches SF, PO, and CA. These branches and responsibilities span beyond active duty (Compo 1) formations and extend across the Army National Guard (Compo 2), and Army Reserve (Compo 3). The preponderance of the Army’s Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations capabilities exist outside of ARSOF formations within the Army Reserve. As the Army undergoes rapid changes to modernize the force, SWCS is prioritizing resources and aligning training standards and curriculum to continue to provide the Army PO and CA capabilities that can achieve decisive effects in the human, physical, and information dimensions. SWCS 2030 will better align CA and PO training across the Total Army to deliver forces that can execute multidomain operations across the competition continuum.

Restationing of the 6th TASS BDE HQ

The Special Operations Center of Excellence is the only Center of Excellence where the Total Army School System training brigade within Compo 3 is not aligned geographically with its CoE. The 6th Training Brigade Headquarters is responsible for the training and education of Reserve Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations noncommissioned officers. The headquarters is located at Fort Totten, New York. The SWCS has petitioned the U.S. Army Reserve Command to consider a restationing action to move the brigade headquarters to Fort Liberty, North Carolina. 
SWCS 2030


The SWCS 2030 leads to a future Special Operations Center of Excellence composed of three branch schools and an IW Academy. Each responsible for executing a line of effort destined to produce expertly trained and educated IW practitioners and compo-agnostic CA, PO, and SF officers and enlisted Soldiers ready for their first assignment on a team or detachment.

As we roll out doctrinal and curriculum updates, we will ensure that we don’t jeopardize the capacity or quality of our professional military education or our branch qualification and advanced skills courses. Our branch schools and IW academy will keep us synchronized with the needs of the Army and the joint force. We will continue to adapt our training and education to develop leaders, who can solve our nation’s most challenging problems. 

Between now and 2030, the SOCoE and O-6 school commandants will transform doctrine, modernize compo-agnostic training, develop threat-informed and IW-relevant PME, and effectively assess and select Total Army CA, PO, and SF officers and enlisted Soldiers. These transformational and modernizing effects will provide a return on investment from our schools, Academy, curriculum standardization and redesign, compo alignment, and TASS restationing that will deliver Total Army CA, PO, and SF branches capable of meeting the demands of irregular or conventional warfare operations and activities worldwide.

SWCS 2030 
Initial Movement

SWCS 2030 Transformation

click to open

Pineland Underground Podcast SWCS 2030