Armor & Mobility

MAY 2016

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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tacticaldefensemedia.com 4 | May 2016 | Armor & Mobility | Unmanned Tech Solutions Special Operations Center of Excellence: USAJFKSWCS Conceptual Evolution In his article, "The History of Special Operation Psychological Selection," Louie M. Banks noted, "Army SOF psychology has been greatly expanded to where it currently performs a multitude of services within SOF, e.g. training, organizational consultation, research and the prevention and treatment of stress reactions, but all of the current positions have as their basis the assessment and selection of soldiers for critical tasks." As part of the evolutionary expansion of ARSOF assessment and selection, a major breakthrough occurred in 2005. However, prior to 2005, assessment and selection was less structured. ARSOF assessment and selection programs still evaluated candidate's physical fitness, mental sharpness and capacity for teamwork, but failed to incorporate scientific testing to evaluate the attributes and interpersonal skills that are necessary to work in the Human Domain. To fill that gap, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School's 1st Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) returned to its roots adopting the "whole man" concept that had proven successful in the OSS. The "whole man" concept evaluates individuals in three distinct ways: individual inventory, individual application and team application events. In other words, candidates are assessed on what attributes they possess, how they use them and how they fit into the team. As described in Special Warfare, the professional development publication of Army Special Operations, the "whole man" concept is comparable to a three-legged stool. It must be the right height, strong enough to withstand stress and balanced to remain upright. Similarly, an assessment and selection candidate must be like a stool since a candidate who has physical strength, but lacks mental acuity or sufficient maturity to operate in complex environments will not succeed, noted by Will Cotty, Brendon Bluestein, and Jat Thompson in the "The Whole Man Concept: Assessing The SF Soldier of the Future," Special Warfare; 2005, Vol. 17, No. 4. During the individual inventory phase of the selection process, candidates receive a series of objective testing in distinct areas. Attributes such as integrity, perseverance and adaptability are measured by multiple physical challenges starting with achieving baseline fitness score required to continue in the course. If successful, candidate attributes are further challenged with ruck marches and runs covering unknown distances and other individual performance events designed to further measure perseverance and capability. At this point, students demonstrate integrity, perseverance, adaptability and capability by dealing with physical stress in an unpredictable environment. Following individual physical testing, a candidate's intellectual capability and character are measured through a series of IQ testing and other academic and psychological tests. During the individual application phase, candidate attributes of perseverance, personal responsibility, professionalism, adaptability and capability are tested as candidates are evaluated on their ability to follow specific instructions and complete a series of tasks centered on long-range land navigation over rough terrain. In this phase, individual application characteristics are challenged to determine a candidate's overall character. Do they follow instructions or does the candidate take the easy way? Finally, and most like the original selection programs of the OSS, the member of team application phase tests each candidate's ability to work as a team under rigorous conditions. Team events are typically conducted in a leaderless environment and provide an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate leadership through perseverance, professionalism, adaptability and capability as candidates either assume leadership roles or accept other team member's direction. Additionally, team events are completed within unknown timeframes; candidates who do or do not adapt to realistic and stressful conditions and thrive as part of a team are unable to succeed. During all phases, assessment and selection cadre utilizes a proven and scientific matrix, based on the ARSOF attributes, to assist in measuring and scoring each candidate's suitability for service in Special Operations. Likewise, cadre also reviews each candidates peer evaluations to learn about how a candidate behaves when cadre is not present. Peer reviews give an honest assessment of candidate performance and help further identify ARSOF attributes of integrity, personal responsibility, professionalism, adaptability and teamwork. Peer reviews are an integral part of the assessment process and are utilized throughout the entire training pipelines. Only the Adept For candidate's who complete the assessment and selection process, their complete records and test scores are reviewed by a board comprised of USAJFKSWCS senior leadership where each candidate's ARSOF attributes are evaluated through cadre assessments, peer reviews and individual scores. For candidates, success is determined by being "selected," meaning that the candidate is invited to return and begin the Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations or Special Forces Qualification Courses. For candidates who are not selected, individual performance and leadership evaluations determine whether a candidate is eligible to return for a second chance at selection. Candidates who failed to display any of the ARSOF attributes can be prohibited from reattempting selection. The reintegration of the "whole man" concept and the identification of the eight ARSOF attributes has been a useful tool for assessing and selecting the best people to serve in the three ARSOF Regiments. Likewise, the developmental process for turning Soldiers into SOF operators has proven to be the key to ARSOF's ability to provide the best trained forces in the world able to operate in any environment and within the Human Domain. Lead Art: LTC Joseph Long is a Special Forces offcer whose current assignment is as the Chief of Special Forces Proponency at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Janice Burton is the Deputy Public Affairs Offcer at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. (USAJFKSWCS) Members of a team work to build an apparatus during the team application phase. These types of challenges determine how well candidates can work as a member of a team during high pressure, timed events. (USAJFKSWCS)

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