Leadership from throughout U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base and the local community gathered here today to break ground for a state of the art education facility that will take Special Operations Forces academic training into the future.
The first shovels full of dirt were thrown for the construction of the Joint Special Operations University Feb. 27 at the facilities new site across the street from the USSOCOM headquarters building. Participating in the ground-breaking was Dr. Brian Maher, JSOU president; Army Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, USSOCOM deputy commander; Retired Army Gen. Doug Brown, former USSOCOM commander and chairman of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Command Sgt. Maj. David Betz, JSOU senior enlisted advisor; Bob Buckhorn, mayor of Tampa; Retired Vice Adm. Joe Maguire, former commander of Naval Special Warfare Command and president of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Air Force Col. Andre Briere, 6th Air Mobility Wing vice commander; and Army Lt. Col. Thomas Nelson, Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District deputy commander
During his opening remarks, Maher credited three previous USSOCOM commanders with making JSOU what it is today: retired Army Gen. Pete Schoomaker, who envisioned JSOU and launched it at Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Brown, who ensured JSOU grew; and retired Adm. Eric Olson, who kept the vision alive. Maher said it was Brown who was mostly responsible for the current state of the academic institute.
“From the onset, he saw the vision of the Joint Special Ops University co-located with the headquarters, but he didn’t just talk about it, he acted on it,” Maher said. “He also saw a JSOU that was expanding beyond just a classroom and just the couple of courses we were doing at Hurlburt. So it wasn’t just a small building, a make-do building, it was a true world-class facility that he envisioned and made sure that the money and the concepts were there to use that building in the way he envisioned. He truly is the man that got us to this place, stuck with the vision and kept that alive during his tenure.”
Mulholland praised the efforts of JSOU and added this is the right time to modernize and expand.
“This couldn’t come at a better time,” he said. “As we endeavor to ensure America’s Special Operations Force remains relevant to our nation’s security requirements of tomorrow, it’s abundantly clear that the need for a highly and appropriately educated Special Operations Force is essential to that.”
The new 90,000 square-foot facility, scheduled to open in the Fall of 2015, will serve as the hub for joint and combined SOF education for U.S., international and interagency personnel. The building will have 16 classrooms, and auditorium, two lectionaries, a research library and room for classified briefings.
JSOU was established in September of 2000 with the mission to develop SOF and enablers for operational and strategic leadership; educate military and civilian leadership in the employment of SOF; and to conduct research on issues on national security issues critical to the SOF community. Last year more than 8,200 Special Operations, interagency and international students, from enlisted members to executive leaders, participated in various seminars and courses offered by the university. Currently, JSOU is working to earn accreditation as a degree-granting university to better serve the needs of the nation’s Special Operations Forces.