School Daze

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A couple of months ago, Battleland noted something called the Joint Special Operations University at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Joint was a Pentagon buzzword at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991, and Special Operations has been a military buzzphrase since 9/11. So it’s a two-fer to build a new headquarters for the Joint Special Operations Command.

But does the Pentagon need another university? After all, the U.S. military has its own Ivy League when it comes to institutions of higher learning. Off the top of its head, Battleland comes up with:

— Air University

— Defense Acquisition University

— Marine Corps University

— National Defense University, and its component parts, including the College of International Security Affairs, the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, which until two months ago was the Industrial College of the Armed Forces [note to deans: rename your school in honor of a soldier-scholar, pronto], the Information Resources Management College (“iCollege”), the Joint Forces Staff College and the National War College.

— National Intelligence University

— The Uniformed services University of the Health Sciences

…as well as the Army War College, the Navy War College, the Naval Post-Graduate School and the Army’s Command and General Staff College. Not to mention the Air Force Special Operations School and the Army’s JFK Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Plus the three main service academies, where future Air Force (Colorado Springs), Army (West Point) and Marine and Navy officers (Annapolis) are trained.

Be that as it may, the Army Corps of Engineers is on the hunt for labor to begin building – for at least $25 million – what it calls the “SOF Joint Special Operations University.”

The so-called “Project Labor Agreement survey” posted Tuesday is seeking information on the optimum kind of labor deal to build the school.

This is what JSOU, created shortly before 9/11 at Hulburt Field, Fla., wants to build:

Construct a multi-story facility with precast concrete exterior wall panels. Project includes site improvements, landscaping, communications and anti-terrorism/force protection. Construction consists of concrete pile foundation, structural steel framing, reinforced concrete slab, fire protection, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, security system, assured telecomm architecture, HVAC and built up roof. Additionally furniture and audio visual equipment will be included in this procurement.

“Over the next 10-20 years, Special Operations Forces will continue to operate against non-traditional, non-state, unconventional, and transnational enemies in complex, uncertain, and dynamic environments,” JSOU says in its strategic plan. “JSOU’s educational mission is a crucial linchpin in developing the kind of leading edge, adaptive, and innovative thinking that will allow joint SOF continued success at the tactical level while improving our capacities to succeed at the operational and strategic levels.”

The Army Corps of Engineers better buy JSOU some more adjectives while they’re at it. Bound to get a quantity discount.


How seriously can we take a "Battleland" reporter who repeatedly misspells the name of the home of AFSOC in Florida. It's HURLBURT Field, not Hulburt. (This is twice now you've misspelled it.)

A reporter who thinks "Joint" is a buzzword when in fact it's been U.S. military doctrine since the Goldwater-Nicholes Act of 1986, more than 25 years now? Who thinks "special operations" is a military buzzphrase when in fact the formal command has existed since 1987 and the concept predates WWII?

If you were a real reporter, you'd realize the JSOU has existed since the late '80s and has functioned in makeshift buildings at Hurlburt Field (there's that name again!) and in a rented former credit union in Tampa. It's a real university with real curricula that is highly relevant to today's world.

But, hell, snark is much easier than actual reporting.


There are certainly improvements that could be made to professional military education. I do however, think that there need to be separate service institutions focusing on the specific missions and cultures of the services. Based on the facts and context you have provided in this article, your criticism of JSOU is unfounded. You can't compare the service academies which train new officers to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences which trains doctors, to Air University which provides continuing training for USAF officers to JSOU.


@aidrius It may be an unfair comparison, but it raises the question why aren't some of the post graduate functions consolidated with the service schools instead of requiring separate facilities? It would certainly be more economical than having so many facilities educating officers at different levels, probably healthier for the institutions as well.


Because the US Special Operations Command is headquartered at MacDill, it makes sense to put the special ops university there, too. Right now they exist in a cramped, rented former credit union off the main base.


@aidrius  Although I think we all know the reason why this is not the case

Congressman: General ______ Don't you have a need for a new facility for some asinine purpose

General: Why yes Congressman I do, the Army could certainly Use a new  Joint Warfighting Power Point Preparation Collage, it would be perfect for your district.

Congressman: Excellent General, I will be sure to confirm you're appointment as Supreme Commander of Joint Inter-interoperable Coalition of the willing  Pronouncement Command, ensuring you a place on BAE systems board of directors when you retire.

General: Good to go, let me just put that in my resume' now, I'll go ahead and right up a Legion of Merit Citation while I'm at it.


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