SPECIAL FORCES QUALIFICATION COURSE (SFQC)
Following successful completion of Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) and any other prerequisite courses, selected Soldiers will be scheduled to attend Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). SFQC focuses on core Special Forces tactical competencies in support of surgical strike and special warfare; Career Management Field 18 MOS classification; Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE); language proficiency; and regional cultural understanding. The qualification course consists of six sequential phases of training, upon completion of which Soldiers earn the right to join the Special Forces brotherhood, wear the Special Forces tab and don the Green Beret.
PHASE I: COURSE ORIENTATION AND HISTORY (6 weeks)
Special Forces Orientation Course is a six-week introduction to Special Forces covering history; doctrine; organization; command and control; core tasks and mission; Special Forces attributes; Special Forces mission planning; PMESII-PT system of regional analysis; land navigation; introduction to small-unit tactics; duties and responsibilities of each 18 series MOS; physical fitness and nutrition; Airborne refresher; and participation in the Robin Sage exercise as a member of a guerrilla force.
PHASE II: SMALL-UNIT TACTICS (SUT) (13 weeks)
Phase II of the SFQC includes an in-depth study of and practicum related to small-unit tactics and operations. It provides the tactical combat skills required to successfully operate on an SFOD-A. Students will master the following tactical skills: basic and advanced combat rifle marksmanship; small-unit tactics; Special Forces common tasks; urban warfare operations; Special Forces mission analysis; Advanced Special Operations Level 1 techniques; sensitive-site exploitation procedures; military decision-making process; Tactical Operations Orders; and SERE Level C training.
PHASE III: MOS TRAINING (14 Weeks - 18A, 18B, 18C, 18D; 16 Weeks - 18E)
Each Soldier attending SFQC is assigned to one of five Special Forces Career Management Field 18 Military Occupational Specialties for enlisted Soldiers or Area of Concentration (Branch 18) for officers: Special Forces Detachment Commander (18A); Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B); Special Forces Engineer Sergeant (18C); Special Forces Medical Sergeant (18D); or Special Forces Communications Sergeant (18E).
18A Detachment Commander Course
This course trains selected officers in the critical branch (18A) tasks and competencies required to perform the duties of a detachment commander of a Special Forces ODA. It focuses on the full operational spectrum of problem analysis and resolution design associated with SF core missions across the elements of the national power spectrum. Duties and functional-area familiarization of the 18 series MOSs (communications, engineer, medical, weapons, intelligence) include: the military decision-making process; special operations mission planning; adaptive thinking and leadership; special reconnaissance; direct action; unconventional warfare; foreign internal defense; counterinsurgency operations; military operations in urban terrain; interagency operations; warrior skills; advanced special operations skills; OPFUND management; elements of national power considerations; culture; in-depth core mission analysis; information operations, planning and conduct of ODA training; and three field training exercises.
18B Weapons Sergeant Course
This course trains and qualifies NCOs in the basic skills and knowledge required to perform duties as a weapons sergeant on an SFOD-A. Special Forces weapons sergeants receive an extensive knowledge of U.S., allied and foreign weapons systems found throughout the world. They gain extensive knowledge of various small-arms rifles and pistols, submachine guns, crew-served heavy and light machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired and automatic grenade launchers, forward-observer procedures, call for fire and emergency close-air support, direct-fire and indirect-fire weapons (mortars), air defense systems, sniper systems, and individual and crew-served antitank missiles. Soldiers receive instruction on conventional and unconventional tactics, techniques and procedures; mounted and dismounted operations; base defense; weapons emplacement and maintenance; offense and defense operations; advanced combat marksmanship; training management and range operations; and the ability to recruit, organize, train, and advise or command indigenous combat forces up to company size.
18C Engineer Sergeant Course
This course trains and qualifies NCOs in the basic skills and knowledge required to perform duties as an engineer sergeant on an SFOD-A. Special Forces engineer sergeants are experts in employing offensive/defensive combat engineer capabilities to include demolitions, explosives and improvised munitions, construction, homemade explosives, target reconnaissance, and target analysis. Soldiers learn to read blueprints as well as design and construct theater-of-operations buildings, complete with plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems; field fortifications and Special Forces Tactical Facility construction; advanced demolition techniques utilizing U.S., allied, foreign and civilian demolition components; firing systems; calculation; and placement of charges, expedient charges and range operations. They can recruit, organize, train, and advise or command indigenous combat forces up to company size.
18D Medical Sergeant Course (14 weeks [SOCM - 36 weeks])
Medical sergeants specialize in trauma management, infectious diseases, cardiac life support and surgical procedures, with a basic understanding of veterinary and dental medicine. Both general healthcare and emergency healthcare are stressed in training. Medical sergeants provide emergency, routine and long-term medical care for detachment members, associated allied members and host-nation personnel; establish field medical facilities to support unconventional warfare operations; provide veterinary care; prepare the medical portion of area studies, brief backs, and operation plans and orders. Soldiers selected for MOS 18D attend 250 days of advanced medical training, including the Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM) course. They can recruit, organize, train, and advise or command indigenous combat forces up to company size.
The SOCM course is a 36-week program of instruction that teaches eight 64-student classes per year and must be successfully completed no more than two years prior to entering the 18D Medical Sergeant Course. The target audience for SOCM is Army, Navy or Air Force enlisted service members who hold, or are designated for assignment to, a special operations medical position. The course qualifies these enlisted service members as highly trained combat medics with the necessary skills and abilities to provide initial medical and trauma care and who have an aptitude to increase team survivability. SOCM is designed to teach the special operations combat medic the knowledge and skills required to manage combat casualties from initial point of injury through evacuation. Additionally, the course teaches the student skills that enable him to prescribe appropriate treatments for diagnosed diseases in accordance with tactical medical emergency protocols and their corresponding formulary. Students graduating from SOCM are certified as National Registry EMTs at the basic level. They are also qualified in basic life support, pediatric education for pre-hospital providers and advanced cardiac life support. The course consists of 19 academic modules. These modules are structured in a manner that takes a student from having no medical background to performing acute lifesaving interventions in 36 weeks.
Special Information: The SOCM must take the Advanced Tactical Paramedic Examination, which is a cumulative, externally promulgated written exam administered by the USSOCOM ATP Certification Committee. Students must pass the ATP examination to deploy as a USSOCOM medic.
18E Communications Sergeant Course
This course trains and qualifies NCOs in the basic skills and knowledge required to perform duties as a communications sergeant on an SFOD-A using some of the most sophisticated communications equipment in the Army. Special Forces communications sergeants learn U.S., allied and selected foreign communication systems found throughout the world and are capable of employing and accessing SF, joint and interagency communications. Communications sergeants have a thorough understanding of radio theory; basic electricity; radio telephone procedures; signal-operating instructions; communication security; power applications; information operations, electronic warfare and advanced communications procedures; satellite theory; the use of satellite radios such as the AN/PSC-5C/D, AN/PRC-117G and BGAN antenna and the radios' modes of operation; Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA), High Performance Wave-Form (HPW) and point-to-point operations; satellite communications links, encryption and decryption; computer technology, including computer systems networking, troubleshooting, assembly and applications (computer applications A+ training and NET+ training); network computers in a LAN and WAN configuration; server/routers setup; and FM, AM, HF, VHF and UHF radio system maintenance. Communications sergeants prepare the communications portion of area studies, brief backs, and operation plans and orders. Other duties and responsibilities of the SF communications sergeant include communications planning such as transmission site selection, signal support in the Special Forces group, MDMP, mission planning, and preparing a signal annex. They can recruit, organize, train, and advise or command indigenous combat forces up to company size.
PHASE IV: UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE CULMINATION EXERCISE - ROBIN SAGE (4 weeks)
Soldiers must put to use all of the skills they have learned throughout the SFQC to successfully navigate the unconventional warfare environment during the Robin Sage CULEX. The Robin Sage CULEX has been the litmus test for Soldiers striving to earn the coveted Green Beret for more than 40 years. Students are organized into SFOD-As. The SFODA is trained and mentored throughout the exercise from mission receipt through planning and infiltration by combat-proven Special Forces operators. Students are taught the necessary skills to survive and succeed in a UW environment consisting of a notional country characterized by political instability and armed conflict that forces Soldiers to exercise both individual and collective problem-solving. A key to the success of the Robin Sage training is its real-world feel that is established by the use of guerrilla forces. The SFOD-A must assess the combat effectiveness of the G-forces and then train them in basic individual tasks from each of the MOSs as well as collective tasks in basic small-unit tactics, while remaining responsive to asymmetrical challenges. During this training, the SFOD-A must demonstrate its knowledge of UW doctrine and operational techniques. Participating in this rigorous and realistic training exercise provides the future Special Forces Soldier with the skills and confidence needed to successfully deploy with an SFOD-A.
PHASE V: LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (24 weeks)
Phase V of the SFQC focuses on language and culture. During Phase V, Soldiers receive basic special operations language training in the language assigned to them at the completion of SFAS. Languages are broken into two categories based on their degree of difficulty.
Category I/II: French, Indonesian-Bahasa and Spanish
Category III/IV: Arabic, Chinese-Mandarin, Czech, Dari, Hungarian, Korean, Pashto, Persian-Farsi, Polish, Russian, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish and Urdu
Students receive instruction in three basic language skills: speaking, participatory listening and reading (limited). The following areas of emphasis are covered during the training: overview of physical and social systems; economics; politics and security; infrastructure and technology information; and culture and regional studies. Language instruction focuses on functional application geared toward mission-related tasks, enhanced rapport-building techniques, cultural mitigation strategies, interpreting and control of interpreter methods. Also, a progressive PT program is started during Phase II in order to prepare for Phase III.
To successfully complete Phase V, Soldiers must achieve a minimum of 1/1 Listening and Speaking as measured by the two-skill Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).
PHASE VI: GRADUATION (1 week)
Phase VI is the final phase and is comprised of one week of outprocessing, the Regimental First Formation where students don their green berets for the first time, and the graduation ceremony. It is followed by initial placement within the Army National Guard Special Forces.