U.S. Army War College Academic Programs

Academic programs offered at the USAWC fall under three general categories:

  • Senior Level College
    • Resident Education Program
    • Distance Education Program
  • Pre-Senior Level College
    • Basic Strategic Art Program
    • Defense Strategy Course
    • Reserve Component National Security Issues Seminar
  • Post- Senior Level College
    • Adjutant Generals' National Security Seminar
    • Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course
    • Joint Force Land Component Commander Course
    • Senior Reserve Component Officer Course


Senior Level College

The Senior Level College Program is the primary focus of the USAWC and the best known of our programs.  Students attend Senior Level Colleges only after extensive and highly successful performance at the direct and organizational levels of leadership. While a small number may have worked within the strategic arena, for most of our students the strategic level of leadership will be an unfamiliar environment that is much less structured and certain than the conditions they have previously experienced.

Successful performance in this new realm will require students to break some old habits, hone existing critical skills, and develop new competencies. To succeed in the strategic environment will require these future senior leaders to think differently than they have in the past. To that end and regardless of program, Senior Level College curricula are designed to produce graduates who can:

  • Distinguish the uniqueness of strategic level leadership and apply competencies required by strategic leaders.
  • Use strategic thought processes to evaluate the national security challenges and opportunities facing the United States in the 21st Century.
  • Evaluate the theory of war and strategy.
  • Evaluate DOD, joint, interagency, intergovernmental, multinational, and NGO processes and relationships, including Army contributions to the nation in peace and war.
  • Evaluate the role of landpower in joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational operations.
  • Synthesize theater strategies, estimates, and campaign plans to employ military power in a unified, joint, multinational and interagency environment.
  • Synthesize critical elements, enablers, and processes that define the strategic environment in peace and war.
  • Study and confer on the American military profession and guide its future direction.

Both the resident and distance education programs adhere to this paradigm, although the delivery systems are different. The resident program is a ten-month course of study, while the distance education program is taught over two years and includes two two-week-long resident courses.

The Resident Education Program consists of a six core courses, the Strategic Decision Making Exercise, five elective courses, and the National Security Seminar.  Each student also must complete a Strategy Research Project.   A number of Special Programs (voluntary, for credit) are available to selected students as part of the core or elective curriculum.  Numerous complementary programs (voluntary, not for credit) are available.

The Distance Education Program consists of a series of ten on-line courses and two, two-week resident courses, taken over a two-year period.

Successful completion of either Senior Level College program leads to the award of a U.S. Army War College Diploma and, for qualified graduates, the Master of Strategic Studies Degree.


Pre-Senior College Level

Basic Strategic Art Program (BSAP) provides the basic qualification course for officers assigned to FA 59, Strategic Plans and Policy, and forms part of the intermediate level education for these officers.   The 13-week program offers an introduction to strategy and to the unique skills, knowledge, and attributes needed as a foundation for their progressive development as Army strategists.  Currently, BSAP is offered three times per year.  Proponent for FA59 schedules attendance.

Defense Strategy Course (DSC) is a six-month on line distance education course that is offered twice each year. Fifty active duty, 25 U.S. Army Reserve, and 25 Army National Guard officers may participate in each course. The course focuses on improving student understanding of the National Security Strategy of the United States in a complex and changing environment. Interested officers may contact their assignment officers or apply through command channels.

Reserve Component National Security Issues Seminar (RCNSIS) is held annually in Washington, DC, for field grade officers from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. The seminar acquaints up to 50 Reserve Component field grade officers with contemporary national security issues, current military strategy, and the process of national security decision making. Interested officers may request enrollment through their command channels.


Post- Senior Level College

Adjutants General National Security Seminar (AGNSS) offers an opportunity for the 54 state Adjutants General and Deputy Adjutants General to come to Carlisle Barracks annually for one week during the resident academic year. In addition to updates on national security issues, participants exchange ideas with the resident class on issues affecting the Army and provide USAWC students with insights regarding issues confronting the senior leadership of the National Guard. For more information about this program, Adjutants Generals can contact the Army National Guard Adviser to the Commandant at the USAWC.

Joint Flag Officers Warfighting Course (JFOWC) is two-week senior officer course taught at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Designed to educate future Division, Battle Group, Marine Expeditionary Force, and Wing commanders on joint warfighting, it focuses at the theater strategic and Joint Task Force levels of operations. The course familiarizes students with theater campaign planning, joint crisis action planning, Interagency processes and DoD interface, theater command and control architecture, joint intelligence and information systems, space operations, strategic deployment, and joint logistics.

Joint Forces Land Component Commander Course (JFLCC) focuses on preparing flag-level officers to function effectively as Land Component Commanders. Offered three times each year under the direction of a senior mentor team (who have served as a Combined Joint Forces Land Component Commander), this one-week seminar-based course challenges senior officers to examine the key elements of forming and executing functional land component commands at the theater/operational levels in support of the Joint Force Commander, and in conjunction with Combined Joint Forces Air Component Commander, Combined Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander, and Combined Joint Forces Special Operations Commander component commands. The course also explores the challenges of conducting sustained land dominance operations in an interagency and multinational (non-governmental and international organizational) environment.

Senior Reserve Component Officer Course (SRCOC) annually brings 40 general and flag officers of the seven Reserve Components to Carlisle Barracks for one week during the Resident Education Program. Fully integrated with the resident program, these officers have ample opportunities to exchange ideas with the class on issues affecting the Army. In return, attendees provide valuable insights to students concerning the challenges and capabilities of the Reserve Components. Interested officers may request enrollment through their command channels.

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