It is my contention that the new career course model is ultimately detrimental to the Special Forces Regiment. MCCC is a week course for Infantry and Armor officers, the first half of which is spent on company operations and troop leading procedures, the second on battalion staff operations and the military decision-making process. A shorter career course and no additional PCS had the net effect of getting ARSOF captains to graduate sooner, which means more time for utilization in operational billets. Captains move from their initial assignments directly to Fort Bragg, which saves them and their family the inconvenience of a relatively short PCS move to Fort Benning.
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It is my contention that the new career course model is ultimately detrimental to the Special Forces Regiment. MCCC is a week course for Infantry and Armor officers, the first half of which is spent on company operations and troop leading procedures, the second on battalion staff operations and the military decision-making process.
A shorter career course and no additional PCS had the net effect of getting ARSOF captains to graduate sooner, which means more time for utilization in operational billets. Captains move from their initial assignments directly to Fort Bragg, which saves them and their family the inconvenience of a relatively short PCS move to Fort Benning.
Special Forces deploy and fight as Operational Detachment-Alphas, led by captains. Attending MCCC allowed future SF officers, regardless of their previous branch, to mix with Infantry and Armor officers, as well as a small cohort of officers from a cross-section of other branches in the Army, sister services, and partner nations.
On a personal level, it allowed me to network with other captains who are now company commanders or staff officers in conventional brigade combat teams. This is a great resource to be able to reach out and talk about upcoming deployments, training center rotations, or overseas exercises with the conventional force involved. We do not have the same working relationship with the conventional Army.
By setting a professional standard in MCCC with our CF peers, we set the precedent that SF is an elite, professional force and negate some of the negative sterotypes that can have an adverse effect on our autonomy and freedom of maneuver. Our ultimate goal is to develop a symbiotic relationship with the rest of the Army and expand our network of SF proponents. Isolating ourselves in a SOF-specific course will not help, in this regard.
From a tactical perspective, MCCC graduates understand how the combined arms fight works and how light, mechanized, and stryker units are employed and their effects integrated in offense, defense, and stability operations.
This is essential to creating the well-rounded and well-connected SF officer that has to work effectively alongside and sometimes nest his efforts with CF. However, the money and time saved with the new SOFCC pale in comparison to the loss of the opportunity to build relationships with CF officers and the opportunity to understand how they fight.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government. I do not contend the title that opportunities are lost, a result of all organizational change, however there is always gain.
It is the comparison of the two that best inform leaders as to the value of an action. I would like to help the comparison by recognizing what is lost but developing what is gained. Savings: As pointed out, the course saves 7 million dollars annually; a rare occurrence when creating a course.
For working spouses or children who keep friends and doctors, the stability is priceless. The author is also correct about the utilization in operations billets.
The manpower study completed found that Captains will save months utilization. When you train officers that equates to Years in the force! To me, this topic is all gain. I hope this happens in the next months. However, when he claims it 'denies them exposure to a peer group from other branches' I believe that to be inaccurate. So, it denies them exposure to the SAME peer group. The exposure to different branches happens in SFOCCC, where the average number of branches represented in each class is During the instruction of several classes, which often are student led, SOFCCC has the unique opportunity to have our fires class taught by a former FA officer, CAS taught by a former Aviator, unit maintenance taught by a Transportation officer, along with light Infantry, Stryker, and Armor officers.
That is why the additional time with the peers in this course is paramount. They need the time to focus on leading small units versus companies, utilizing empathetic planning since they work by, with, and through indigenous forces, and how the other two regiments in ARSOF operate.
The problem is that these officers, at this point, are not even SOF yet; they have not been awarded their branch and are at their infant stage of understanding their own branch let alone sharing it with others.
To me, this topic is not yet relevant to the discussion. While that is true, it is balanced by gaining some of the best training the Army has to offer.
Our instructors have all made the transition from conventional to SOF and can mentor the students who are about to make that same transition. Additionally, our instruction is some of the best. To me, this topic is equal. There is formal discussion between the centers of excellence on an instructor exchange, where the campaign of learning truly can be exercised. Therefore, I whole-heartedly believe that due to top notch instruction tailored to their brand new branch, the ability to network with all branches and a more diverse peer group, coupled with the millions saved and families less disrupted that the SOFCCC is the right thing for our Army and the gains outweigh the loss.
Bolstering anyone can do.. Going into combat against a now thoroughly proven non linear battle space requires full attention by all involved and if there is no fear free dialogue you are doomed to failure In my opinion, MDMP has been replaced by "bolstering. The key difference is that the decision comes first, rather than resulting from a thorough process. I am not an advocate for bolstering. Bolstering regularly produces flawed, personality driven policies that have to be reviewed with every change of command.
Or, as Mr. Martin has noted, the policies are cemented by the bureaucracy and organizational politics. At least a class on why they actually should plan. I outlined some of this in a SWJ article. In , I happen to be presenting Mission Command That was in fact the failure of the concept of MC NOW in it is interesting to see that nothing has really improved That was what I meant by "tactics.
The percentage of those folks still in and in positions that are valuable to my position are much higher. Maybe I'm a one-off, but I doubt that I'd also add that traditionally, from my perspective, MCCC instructors were made a priority fill within the Army.
Not so much at SWCS. I'm assuming that won't change anytime soon- regardless of whether the slots become authorized or not which, I'm wondering how they will during a downsizing of the Army I do hope someday we make a rank above commanding general where an Army officer can make changes to Army training and doctrine. I just want to clear up a couple items for a cleaner conversation.
The bureaucracy has caught up and the slots are being formally set up. However, unlike the 18A Phase instructors there is not a formal benefit for promotion when the boards meet. The CCC does not teach tactics it teaches doctrine and planning; other phases teach tactics. I was wearing 2 tabs and had more schools than both of them combined and I was not the most schooled student in the class.
We still learned a lot about planning from both of them. If I follow the logic stream correctly, all SAMS instructors should be triple canopied combat arms officers with combat experience.
This phase is part of the initial MDMP training. This gives them the same amount of training as MCCC graduates. It is a continuation of the training. An argument could be made that the students are getting 2 months less training than CPTs of my generation. That however, is a different argument.
As for CF connections this is a back and forth. I have heard both sides bring up the same point argued in opposite directions. Maybe all the CCCs should be combined, then everyone would meet everyone. Maybe this is where the conversation should focus. Regarding your last comment about management timelines, and I would add that the KDPs or check the block jobs are exactly why an officer heavy Special Forces Regiment will never be an ideal organization for UW.
Unfortunately, once something like that is incorporated, it is very difficult to change. The 2nd and 3rd order repercussions of changing anything having to do with the pipeline- unless it produces faster results- while we are at war is almost impossible.
The result has been a lot of re-training in the 18A course as well as lots of issues in the planning phase of Robin Sage. When these issues were reported to multiple general officers, there were attempts to get at least half of all students to go to the Maneuver CCC. These efforts were defeated due to bureaucracy and the time and effort these kinds of changes take- but, mostly it was because of the reality of the pipeline interruptions this would cause- the war needs bodies and we just can't take the pain in the short-term for the long-term gain this would provide All of our decisions have to take that into account- which is really, really sad.
We can't manage our ARSOF careers with sense- instead we have to manage them as a massive bureaucracy would I am in no position to judge this course as it was implemented after I retired.
There are of course merits to this course especially if it includes a deep dive into unconventional warfare for the junior SOF leadership. On the other hand if conventional and special operations force interdependence is important than this moves away from that.
But when I did my year in purgatory as the Chief of SF Officer assignments I learned the math behind the timelines for development of SF officers which is of course the same for all Army officers. The faster we get Captains through the pipeline the better and remember that the QDR drove the requirement to grow from ODAs to ODAs which we could not accomplish thus we had to reorganize the 4th battalions of all 5 SF Groups so that means a corresponding increase in officer throughput in the SF qualification course and the same applies to the CA and PSYOP qualification courses as both forces grew significantly post But as CPT Richmond notes the opportunity for developing special operations and conventional force interdependence is reduced.
The only way to overcome management by timeline and move to true talent management and provide significant broadening opportunities is to do away with year group management and the fixed promotion timelines in DOPMA. This applies to more than just SOF of course. But I am not holding my breath. Categories: training - special operations forces - SOF. Gordon Richmond. Just my humble unknowing opinion I find this comment extremely interesting for the following reason All including comments below.
The problems I have personally witnessed with this are many, just 2: 1- the course was, and is still to my knowledge, done out of hide and thus the best instructors aren't available- there have been instructors at times who had just graduated their respective Q course themselves.
2014 Green Book: ARSOF 2022: The future of Army SOF
However, the future operating environment will continue to evolve with highly adaptive state and non-state adversaries seeking to challenge the status quo and our national interests. The forms of conflict employed by adversaries in the future are expected to be hybrid in nature, blending conventional and irregular capabilities, and will more often challenge the stability of regions through indirect means. Preventing or deterring hybrid conflict short of all-out war is demanding. It requires persistent forward engagement at points of vulnerability around the world. It requires operators to understand the political, cultural, and geographic complexities of austere operating environments and the unique challenges faced by our allies and partners.
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