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President's Welcome Message 

Message from the President
SES Dr. Brian Maher
Joint Special Operations University

I appreciate you taking the time to review our website and to consider what the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) can do for you and your people! This is my third year as its President, and I remain thoroughly committed to academic excellence, our published long-term vision, and continuing to take innovative steps to ensure SOF education remains a cornerstone of career-long professional development. This site is intended to quickly present the many educational opportunities available at JSOU. It is my hope that this information provides a comprehensive program update that is timely, relevant, and specifically focused on you, the SOF Warrior-Diplomat!

JSOU has been in existence for almost ten years. During this period, we have developed several significant educational initiatives that ultimately impact each of us. Deliberately starting out slow but building on the outstanding academic programs already in existence, JSOU is now accelerating its consortium of educational capability that projects the best in SOF education to wherever most needed. As the joint SOF Educational Component of the U.S. Special Operations Command (per USSOCOM Dir 10-1), our mission remains to develop Special Operations Forces and enablers for strategic and operational leadership; to educate our military and civilian professionals in the employment of SOF in a joint, interagency, and international environment; and to conduct research and publish on national security issues critical to the SOF community. Our recent focus has been to stabilize programs in each mission area and to establish a long-term “battle rhythm” to balance our educational efforts with available resources.

Here are some of our major accomplishments during the past academic year and a look toward future initiatives. Specifically:

  1. Joint SOF Senior Enlisted Academy (JSOFSEA) Comes to Fruition. The development of the 6-month distance learning curriculum was completed and all lesson plans were approved by our curriculum review committee. The 2-month in-residence program was completed and validated in December 2009. Our initial (pilot) course began in January 2010. Staff coordination for “senior level” equivalency for JSOFSEA students is progressing with firm commitments from the Air Force, Navy, and the Marine Corps. Coordination is ongoing with the Army and is not expected until completion of the pilot course in the Spring 2010. This unique academic program places its emphasis on mission-oriented leadership that provides SOF’s senior enlisted “Warrior-Diplomats” the knowledge to think critically and lead successfully in the future operating environment.
  2. Regional Expertise and International Engagement. JSOU continued to develop its recently established Regional--Cultural Division to support growing international engagement opportunities and to initiate an advanced regional expertise program. It is expected this approach will benefit both the SOF community and foster closer relationships with SOF’s international partners. By the completion of AY10, JSOU will be a full participant in the USSOCOM Global Force Management process, which prioritizes SOF deployments and activities in concert with Components and Theater SOCs. This will increase visibility of JSOU’s Joint Mobile Education Team commitments for International partners (JMET-I) and can be utilized to establish or reinforce unique engagement opportunities, or fill gaps where engagement is desired but not supportable through normal training activities. JSOU elected to join the Global Center for Security Cooperation (GCSC) consortium, which supports and coordinates education activities for the five Regional Centers and affiliated members. The GCSC maintains the Regional International Outreach (RIO) system that JSOU uses to better coordinate and deconflict various international education activities. Additionally, JSOU was specifically recognized in the DoD Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) FY10 guidance and continues to expand our CTFP curriculum by adding mobile regional courses and designing an Advanced Special Operations Combating Terrorism (Alumni) course.
  3. Interagency Education. This series of courses continues to be in high demand and is gaining a reputation for its authenticity and practical approach in addressing multiple levels of academic need. The curriculum, encompassing five specifically focused seminars/courses aimed at SOF--Interagency Partner collaboration, was reviewed in its entirety with the USSOCOM Interagency Task Force (IATF) leadership and re-validated with only minor adjustments. The most recent significant advancement was to mesh core IA lessons into a Joint Mobile Education Team (JMET) format and conduct this vital instruction on the road at SOF headquarters and locations.
  4. Operational Education. The JSOU Irregular Warfare (IW) curriculum expanded significantly recently, with the introduction of the 2-week Advanced IW Seminar for practitioners and the adaption of the USAFSOS’ Contemporary Warfare Insurgency Course for a joint student audience, configured for mobile education team venues. Additionally, JSOU recently launched its Introduction to Special Operations Forces (ISOF) course, which is designed for individuals with minimal special operations experience or knowledge but who are identified to serve in various staff positions that require a fundamental understanding of selected joint special operations topics, capabilities, and structure. This course will round out the special operations staff certificate program and will be offered at MacDill AFB and component locations.
  5. Research and Publication. JSOU places special emphasis on expanding its academic research program and serving as the USSOCOM research coordinator for MFP-11 funded academic programs. The JSOU-sponsored Annual Research Conference was permanently moved to MacDill AFB, where increased participation from the USSOCOM leadership and headquarters staff was better facilitated. Coordination of more than 60 new topics in seven separate categories was accomplished with staff, TSOC, and component input. This list is available in USSOCOM Research Topics 2013 and distributed throughout the SOF community through SOF Chairs and representatives at each PME institution, to key colleges and universities with interest in special operations research, and available on-line from JSOU and USSOCOM web pages.

In December 2009, JSOU became an accredited institution, with its academic standards and curriculum evaluated by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET), a national accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education. In addition to this notable achievement, JSOU’s re-location to MacDill AFB will be a major endeavor. Slated to move into USSOCOM’s Pinewood facility in October 2010, JSOU will, for the first time ever, have its own classrooms and be positioned to both use the skills and expertise of the headquarters while providing tailored academic programs that directly support its mission.

Finally, remember this is YOUR University! JSOU's ultimate goal is to support joint SOF education in whatever manner or form the SOF community requires. Therefore, I personally solicit your comments and request any feedback so we may achieve JSOU's full development potential. Let's hear from you, and I look forward to seeing you in class!