Military Wiki
Joint Forces Staff College
Active 1946-present
Country United States
Branch Joint
Type Staff college
Part of National Defense University
Garrison/HQ Norfolk, Virginia

The Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) located in Norfolk, Virginia, was established as the Armed Forces Staff College in 1946 and incorporated into the National Defense University in August 1981. It educates and acculturates joint and multinational warfighters to plan and lead at the operational level. Military operations increasingly require the Armed Services to work jointly and JFSC provides students the tools to operate in a joint environment. JFSC is composed of four schools, each with different student populations and purposes.


The mission of the Joint Forces Staff College, a component of the National Defense University, is to educate national security professionals in the planning and execution of joint, multinational, and interagency operations in order to instill a primary commitment to joint, multinational, and interagency teamwork, attitudes, and perspectives.

Schools composing the JFSC

  • Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS)
  • Joint and Combined Warfighting School (JCWS)
  • Joint Command, Control & Information Operations School (JC2IOS)
  • Joint Continuing Distance Education School (JCDES)

Academic Programs

  • Advanced Joint Professional Military Education (AJPME)
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME)
  • Joint Transition Course (JTC)
  • Homeland Security Planner's Course (HLSPC)
  • Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Planner's Course (JIMPC) [1]


In the 1930s, few officers were qualified, either by training or experience, to engage in joint operations.[2] The demands of World War II brought out the urgent need for joint action by ground, sea, and air forces. To alleviate the friction and misunderstanding resulting from lack of joint experience, the Joint Chiefs of Staff established an Army and Navy Staff College (ANSCOL) in 1943. ANSCOL conducted a four-month course that was successful in training officers for joint command and staff duties.[2] ANSCOL, which had been established to meet the immediate needs of war, was discontinued upon its conclusion.

A joint committee was appointed to prepare a directive for a new school. This directive, which was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 28 June 1946, established the Armed Forces Staff College (AFSC). Responsibility for the operation and maintenance of its facilities was charged to the Chief of Naval Operations.

Following a temporary residence in Washington, D.C., AFSC was established in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 13, 1946. The site, formerly a U.S. Naval Receiving Station, was selected by the Secretaries of War and Navy because of its immediate availability and its proximity to varied high-level military activities. There were 150 students from all Services in the first class. They assembled in converted administration buildings on February 3, 1947 to be greeted by the first commandant, Air Force Lieutenant General Delos C. Emmons. The faculty officers came from joint assignments in all theaters of World War II.

With the construction of Normandy Hall in 1962, AFSC completed its transition from a temporary to a permanent institution. AFSC was assigned to the National Defense University (NDU) on 12 August 1981. In the summer of 1990, AFSC changed from an intermediate joint professional military education school to a temporary duty institution where Phase II of the Chairman's Program for Joint Education is taught.

In 1999, JFSC opened Okinawa Hall which houses the Congressman Owen Pickett Wargaming Center and the Congressman Ike Skelton Library, which is a specialized military library focusing on research in joint and combined operations, military history and naval science, operational warfare, and irregular warfare.

On 30 October 2000, the President signed the Defense Authorization Bill renaming Armed Forces Staff College (AFSC) to the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC).

The staff, faculty, and students are assigned by each Service to foster a joint atmosphere.

Islam controversy

In April 2012, a course on Islam at the Joint Forces Staff College was suspended when it was revealed that students were being taught that all Muslims, not just terrorists, are enemies of the United States, and that it would be justified to "obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths". The course had been taught since 2004.[3] The Council on American-Islamic Relations called for all officers that had taken his course to be re-trained.[4]

On June 20, 2012, the Pentagon announced the completion of its inquiry into the JFSC course and a larger review of professional military education. The reviewers found that, with the exception of the elective course, "adequate academic standards exist for approving [PME] course curricula and presentations, and for selecting guest lecturers." Regarding the JFSC course, they found that “institutional failures in oversight and judgment” allowed the course to drift over time until it ceased to include instruction on U.S. counterterrorism strategy or on policy for countering violent extremism. The course has been suspended and will not be offered again until recommended changes have been made. The Army lieutenant colonel who taught the class has been relieved of his teaching duties. The report also recommended a review of the actions of two civilian JFSC officials to determine if administrative or disciplinary action are appropriate, and a second military officer will receive administrative counseling.[5]

Notable alumni


The Joint Forces Staff College is located at Naval Support Activity Norfolk, Virginia, adjacent to Naval Station Norfolk.


External links

Coordinates: 36°55′14″N 76°18′35″W / 36.92056°N 76.30972°W / 36.92056; -76.30972

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