NORFOLK, Va. --
A new-model Joint Professional Military Education Phase II course is ongoing at the Joint Special Operations University in Tampa, Fla.,Aug. 9.
The 10-week course began in January. Two classes totaling 39 students have already graduated. A third class is under way and a fourth is slated to begin in September. Each class has 18 students with equal air, land, and sea service representation.
It's anticipated that nearly 80 participants will graduate from the course by the end of the year.
The new satellite program course is offered by the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and hosted by Joint Special Operations University. Because it is offered by JFSC but hosted by JSOU, it is considered "non-resident."
However, course participants attend classes full-time during the 10 weeks of instruction. This model reflects input from combatant commands, which preferred the 10-week, full-time option rather than a longer-term, after-hours option that was originally proposed.
In the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress authorized a five-year test of non-resident JPME II at no more than two combatant command headquarters. The Joint Staff chose Tampa as the location for its first "satellite" program to maximize exposure to the large population of staff officers requiring JPME II education.
Most of the students come from U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command. One international fellow and one interagency student also attend each class. Classes are open to other commands as room allows.
Congress requires the Secretary of Defense to report on the value of the program in 2015. Pending congressional approval, the satellite option may be offered to other combatant commands as soon as 2016.
The satellite program complements the existing JPME II course offered on-site at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, said Dr. Ken Pisel, who coordinates the non-resident satellite program at JFSC. The satellite version is identical in length and nearly identical in academic content to the on-site version.
The only academic difference is in the lessons on the elements of operational design, which use locally relevant case studies. For example, Norfolk-based students focus on the Revolutionary War Battle at Yorktown, Va., and Tampa-based students focus on the Second Seminole Wars in Florida.
The JPME II satellite program is open to officers and selected senior enlisted members assigned to Centcom and Socom. JPME II is required for all military officers to become fully joint qualified.
Each year, about a thousand students graduate from the 10-week Joint and Combined Warfighting School in-residence program at JFSC. Another 300-400 graduate each year from the 40-week Advanced Joint Professional Military Education program, a near-clone of JCWS designed for Reserve and Guard officers unable to commit to 10 weeks away from home.
Each year, about 30 U.S. officers graduate from the 11-month Joint Advanced Warfighting School War College program.