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Irregular Warfare Advanced Course
Course #:PDS Code:Length:Classification:
SOC 46401FR10 daysSECRET
DSN:COMM:E-mail:Enrollment Type:
Course Information

Course Vision: Students analyze innovative approaches to complex Irregular Warfare (IW) challenges and opportunities.

Audience: Primarily military officers (O-4 to O-6), warrant officers (W-3 to W-5), non-commissioned officers (E-8 and E-9) and equivalent civilians assigned to or in direct support of Special Operations Forces (SOF).  Other military, civilians and international students may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Description: An advanced seminar course devoted to historical, current, and future IW theories and concepts where students expand critical thinking and IW planning skills by integrating social science into the analysis of relevant populations, adversaries, and IW security challenges.  Provides a comprehension of the nature, motivations, and environment of armed groups and innovative approaches to counter them.  Leads to an analysis of the relationships, IW concepts, plans and international events at the operational to strategic levels of war.  Uses vignettes, case studies, and a graded writing assignment to increase analytical and communication skills.

Objective: For students to be able to analyze Irregular Warfare (IW) concepts within the geo-political and operating environments.

Prerequisites: Complete and read the following prior to attending:

  • Complete the online (distance learning) requirement "Joint Special Operations University, Introduction to Irregular Warfare - Distance Learning (I2W - DL) Course - Mar 2013" available on Joint Knowledge Online (JKO). This is a requirement for attending IWAC.
  • Irregular Warfare Joint Operating Concept (Version 1.0), 11 Sept 2007. Dept. of Defense
  • Department of Defense Directive 3000.07, Irregular Warfare, 8 Dec 2008.  Dept. of Defense
  • The JOE - Joint Operating Environment, 18 Feb 2010.  United States Joint Forces Command
  • Irregular Warfare: Countering Irregular Threats Joint Operating Concept (Version 2.0), 17 May 2010.  Dept of Defense
  • A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking, Haskins, Greg R., available at:
Learning and Evaluation Criteria:  Students combine learned concepts and their own professional backgrounds to produce a three- to five-page, graded thesis on an IW topic.  The JSOU handbook, USSOCOM Research Topics for 2013, includes a wide variety of IW-related topics but attendees are not limited to these subjects.  Passing equates to an average score of 3 (out of 4).
Readings & Assignments: See prerequisites above.  The course director will also provide other references via electronic means prior to the course start date.  Readings average 30-50 pages per day and are crucial for student participation, discussion and learning.



  • Critical thinking and writing  
  • Understanding the population in IW
  • The interagency and SOF
  • Future SOF IW issues

Environment and Threats

  • The future joint operating environment and armed groups
  • Criminal activities in IW

Primary Activities

  • Modern counterinsurgency
  • Unconventional warfare
  • Counterterrorism
  • Stability operations
  • Security cooperation

Supporting Activities

  • Intelligence in IW
  • Influence in IW
  • Media in IW
  • Operational law and IW

Registration: Applicants may self-register by clicking on the “Register for this course” button above. 

MASL Number: D126048

Special Security Instructions: This course is taught at up to the Secret level.  Students must have a current and active Secret or above security clearance listed in JPAS.  The JSOU staff will verify all student security clearances. 

For students outside USSOCOM Headquarters (and only for MacDill AFB-based courses) the student’s SSO must submit a visit request through JPAS NLT 14 days prior to the course start date using the following information:

Dates: (inclusive course dates) ex., 6-17 May 20XX

USSOCOM Security Mgt. Office (SMO) code (for contractors):  MA3DF8X94
JSOU Security Mgt. Office (SMO) code (for USG & military in JPAS): MA3DFJU04
JSOU SMO phone: (813) 826-3685

JSOU SMO fax (for USG personnel not in JPAS, fax clearance info on organizational letterhead): (813) 826-3058


For any questions on submitting your visit request please contact the JSOU SMO at

(813) 826-1038/1039 (DSN 299-1038/1039).
*Course registration typically opens 60-90 days before course start date.