The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 reorganized the Department of Defense to create an organization that was more focused on joint matters. One of the results of the Act was to create and mandate joint professional military education for active component officers.
Title 10 USC, Chapter 38, Section 666 directed a parallel effort for RC officers:
The Secretary of Defense shall establish personnel policies emphasizing education and experience in joint matters for reserve officers not on the active-duty list. Such policies shall, to the extent practicable for reserve component, be similar to the policies [for the AC].
Although the DOD fully complied with the requirements for the active component, it fell short of meeting the guidance in Title 10 for the Reserve Component. To rectify this situation, Congress included the following language in the FY 99 Defense Authorization Act:
In order to prepare reserve component field grade officers for joint duty assignments, the committee directs that a course similar in content to, but not identical to, the in-residence Joint Forces Staff College course for field grade active component officers be developed as soon as possible. Although the specifics of the course of instruction are best left to the Secretary of Defense and the service secretaries, the committee believes that a curriculum including periods of in-residence training, as well as distance learning, presents the best combination of academic rigor, cohort development, and cross-service acculturation.
As a result of the language above, the Joint Forces Staff College established the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education (AJPME) course. The first action of the AJPME program was to develop a Beta course to validate the delivery of Joint PME in a blended format that used distance learning combined with a two-day, in-residence exercise. In summer 2001, four iterations of the Joint Operations Course (Beta test) were offered to students in the National Capitol Region / Pennsylvania, CENTCOM / SOCOM, PACOM, and JFCOM. The successful completion of this Beta test validated that joint education could be delivered in a blended format. In the FY 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress authorized funds to begin development of the full AJPME curriculum. AJPME was formally changed to the Joint and Combined Warfighting School – Hybrid (JCWS-H) program effective 30 June 2016. Where AJPME provided students an opportunity to obtain JPME II equivalency, JCWS-H now provides them with fully accredited JPME II status upon completion of the course.
The JCWS-H course is approximately 252 hours of Web-based collaborative distance learning (DL), research and writing for publication. In addition, students complete 136 hours of face-to-face time in two temporary duty assignments to JFSC. Hybrid students complete the same lessons and exercises as Resident and Satellite students, but spread over a 40 week period. The curriculum is characterized by a progression from higher-order cognitive activities to effective exercises that encourages attitudinal shifts. The cognitive learning activities focus on recall and mastery of information, application of concepts and principles, problem solving, discovery, and building on existing military experiences. The learning activities foster recognition and integration of new attitudes and values that promote joint acculturation.
The first AJPME class started in September 2003. Based on a CJCS directed OPMEP policy change, the transition from AJPME to JCWS-H occurred in 2016 and was retroactive to impact JCWS-H’s first class, 15-3. While AJPME graduates received JPME II equivalent qualification, the 2016 OPMEP change granted JCWS-H graduates full JPME II credit. As a result, active duty members could also attend JCWS-H. As of 2020, over 3,750 students have graduated from the JCWS-Hybrid course.
Reserve Component Joint Officer Management Program
Although the Goldwater-Nichols Act and subsequent Congressional action outlined the process and procedures for delivering joint education to Reserve Component members, there have been no concurrent statutory guidelines for Reserve Component Joint Officer Management. Requirements for Joint Specialty Officers (JSO) as outlined in Title 10, were specifically designated for active component (AC) officers and prevented RC officers from being designated as JSOs. In September 2002, the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (ASD/RA) issued DOD Instruction 1215.20, Reserve Component Joint Officer Management, to provide these guidelines for RC officers. Among other things, DODI 1215.20 defined a new concept, the Fully Joint Qualified Officer as the RC parallel to the JSO.
In October 2007, DODI 1300.19, DOD Joint Officer Management Program, was signed. This DODI took a Total Force perspective and superseded DODI 1215.20. While there is a wealth of valuable information in that instruction, it contains a few key points for the RCJPME:
- DODI 1300.19 Officially recognized RCJPME as equivalent to JPME Phase II for RC officers. As of 30 June 2016, CJCSI 1800.01E Chg1 adds JCWS-H course as a JPME-II credit graduating program.
- DODI 1300.19 Establishes that it is DOD policy to "designate as JQOs sufficient numbers of quality officers who have completed Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase II (or in the case of RC officers, Joint and Combined Warfighting School – H (JCWS-H))," and to "establish, to the maximum extent practicable, similar policies emphasizing education and experience in joint matters for officers [in the Reserve Component]."
- The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, under the USD (P&R) is assigned responsibility for monitoring "RC compliance with the DOD JQS program with the goal of increasing the pool of RC joint qualified officers."
The current DODI 1300.19 (dated 4 March 2014) can be found at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/130019p.pdf.
Additional information about the JQO qualification and self-nomination process can be found in The Joint Qualification Handbook [pdf].
Joint Professional Military Education (JPME)
JPME is an essential element of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. The implementation of DODI 1300.19 retains JPME as the backbone for attaining the four levels of Joint Qualified Officer (JQO).
JPME Phase I emphasizes the fundamentals needed for success in joint operations and is taught from the hosting service’s perspective. JPME Phase I is taught as part of the resident and non-resident curricula of the Intermediate Service Colleges and the non-resident curricula of the Senior Service Colleges, and is a prerequisite for Level II JQO.
JPME Phase II is granted by the National War College, Eisenhower School, College of International Security Affairs JPME Phase- II Track/Cohort, Joint and Combined Warfighting School (JCWS), and the Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS) courses at JFSC. JPME Phase II is a prerequisite for officers to attain Level III JQO. RC officers have the option of taking any of the Phase II programs listed above or completing JCWS-H.
To satisfy the educational prerequisites for Joint Qualification Level-III, officers must receive credit for completing a CJCS-accredited program of JPME (Phases I and II). JPME is, by law, a three-phase approach comprised of JPME-I, JPME-II, and CAPSTONE (JQ L-IV). JCWS-H can satisfy the education prerequisite of JQO designation for an RC Officer.