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Special Forces
Qualification Course

Home > Training > SFQC

NOTE: The Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) is continually being revamped, so some information may be dated.


The Army Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) is long and demanding. Although the length of the course varies according to Military Occupational Specialty and language it is generally 12 to 24 months long.  Most of the training is held on Fort Bragg, North Carolina or Camp Mackall, North Carolina.

Prerequisites.  Must be male, airborne qualified, medically qualified, physically fit, able to obtain a SECRET clearance, a high school graduate, and be selected for SFQC from the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) course.

Phases of Training. Currently (as of August 2011) there are six phases of training.

Phase I. Special Forces Orientation Course (7 Weeks).
Some of the common core subjects include land navigation, small-unit tactics, methods of instruction, history of Special Forces, SF MOS overview, Airborne refresher, and cultural training.

Phase II.  Language and Cultural Course (18-24 Weeks).
The difficulty of the language determines the length of the course.  Students are assigned a language upon graduation from the Special Forces Selection and Assessment course. Students must attain a minimum of 1/1 in listening and speaking ability. 

Phase III.  SF Individual Training (13 Weeks).
This phase concentrates on SF tactical combat skills and is comprised of individual training, advanced marksmanship, small unit tactics, training in specialized equipment, mounted operations, sensitive site exploitation, military decision making process (MDMP),  and SERE Level C training.

Phase IV.  SF MOS Training (14 Weeks).
There are five occupational specialties taught during the Special Forces Qualification Course.  The four enlisted MOSs include Weapons Sergeant 18B, Engineer Sergeant 18C, Medical Sergeant 18D, and Communications Sergeant 18E.  The officer MOS is 18A. There are two additional MOSs on a Special Forces detachment - 18F and 180A. The 18F is an Intelligence Sergeant who attends the 18F MOS producing course only after having some time on a detachment and attaining the rank of SSG (E-6). The 180A is a Special Forces Warrant Officer and he is selected only after several years of experience in Special Forces.

Phase V. SF UW Culmination Exercise or Robin Sage (4 Weeks).
This phase begins with academic lessons on unconventional warfare. The students explore the world of guerrila warfare, insurgency, sabotage, and subversion. Phase V concludes with the two-week long Robin Sage exercise that takes place in North Carolina in the fictional country of Pineland.

Phase VI.  Graduation (1 Week).
The students conduct their outprocessing, finalize travel arrangements to their next assignment, attend the Regimental First Formation (RFF) and the SFQC graduation. 18As attend the Detachment Leader Course.

See a graphic that displays the six phases of the SFQC posted on the website of the Special Forces Association.


Books about Special Forces Training by SOF News Book Shop

US Army Small Unit Tactics Handbook Paul LeFavor

US Army
Small Unit Tactics

This excellent reference book offers a conceptual overview of all relevant topics of small unit tactics every soldier ought to be familiar with in order to be effective on today's battlefield. The handbook is cateforized into five functional areas: history, doctrine, planning, operations, and common skills. Ideal for the Special Forces candidate getting ready for the "Q" course.

Published by Blacksmith Publishing, September 2015, 542 pages, by Paul LeFavor.

News Reports about SFQC.

"Taking De Oppresso Liber to the Streets: Why the US Army's Special Forces Qualification Course Needs to Become More Urban", Modern War Institute at West Point, by Sandor Fabian, October 7, 2020.

Facebook Special Forces Center and School

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Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS)
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Videos about SFQC

February 2011. SFQC.  USAJFKSWCS Facebook



Books about Special Forces Training

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Books on Special Forces training

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