News | Jan. 24, 2022

75th Anniversary Celebration

By Jeffrey A. Turner Joint Forces Staff College

JFSC marked its 75th anniversary on 13 Aug 2021. Over the course of its history, JFSC has endured name changes, building changes, and legislative changes, but the College has held steadfast in achieving its mission of producing joint qualified officers by leading in joint education. Professor Glenn Jones and Professors Emeritus Fred Kienle and Patrick Hannum write about the history of JFSC and how it adapted to meet the needs of the force.

Below is an excerpt from the article, “Meeting the Need: Leading Joint Education for 75 Years,” and the full text is available at our Journal, Campaigning, by clicking here.

Founded on the core values of teamwork, trust, and mutual understanding among the Services, the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) celebrates seventy-five years of joint education in 2022.  Established by the General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz brain trust during the tumultuous period following World War II, a time when joint education and assignments held limited value, Armed Forces Staff College (AFSC) met unique challenges and found its way.[i] The College began as a five-and-a-half-month Staff College aimed at officers in the early field grade rank. Today, JFSC is a leading innovator in Joint Professional Military Education Phase-II, offering a range of programs that vary in duration and delivery method. 

The Goldwater-Nichols Act (GNA) of 1986 and the creation of the Joint Specialty Officer (JSO) program renewed the call for cooperation and established new systemic roles and requirements for joint education.  In 1989, the Skelton Panel recommended establishing the two-layered approach to Joint Professional Military Education (JPME).[ii]  As a result, joint promotions and assignments increased in relevance and therefore elevated the College through increased relevance.  Later, the attacks of 9/11 and the escalation of the Global War on Terrorism drove increases in the size of the force, which caused an increased demand for JPME-II graduates who could operate jointly with unity of effort. 

In 2005, to address what had become the persistent challenge of teaching the right student at the right time, JFSC converted three twelve-week courses to four, ten-week courses, providing greater scheduling opportunities for its one thousand twenty-five students annually.  Simultaneously, JFSC launched the Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS), which leveraged senior faculty positions to create the first-ever joint War College focused on the Operational Level of War.   Today, in its seventy-fifth year, JFSC offers multiple methods to attain JPME-II credentials, produces over fifty percent of the annual JPME-II graduates, and remains the only college offering JPME-II to Major/Lieutenant Commanders enroute to their first joint assignment.[iii]  JFSC continues to lead in teaching emerging joint doctrine and solidifying an authentic joint culture.


[i] Armed Forces Staff College was redesignated Joint Forces Staff College in 2000.  Except in usage of direct quotes, JFSC is used in referring to the College.

[ii] The Goldwater-Nichols Act established Joint Specialty Officer.  The Skelton Panel of 1988 developed the layered approach to Joint Professional Military-Education; Phase I at Service colleges, Phase II at Armed Forces Staff College.  Later, JPME Phase III, CAPSTONE, would focus on officers selected for Flag or General National Defense University.

[iii] JFSC JPME-II programs include: Joint and Combined Warfighting Resident, Hybrid, Satellite, Joint Advanced Warfighting School.  Additionally, JCWS offers seminars providing JPME-II tailored to senior officers completing civilian Fellowships in lieu of War College attendance.