Tactical and Technical

Enhancing your Educational Preparation for Special Forces Selection

By The Cove May 16, 2019


Have you ever considered serving with the Australian Special Forces as part of your goal setting and career aspirations? Physical-based preparation regimes are well known and most people who aspire to serving with the various Special Forces units understand the sacrifices required including: intense workload, time away from home and an expectation of maturity and professionalism.

But what of the education-based preparation requirements? If Special Forces selection is part of your five year plan, what reading and study can you do to better prepare yourself prior to undertaking any testing?  As part of developing our #BreakIn package, we consulted a number of Special Forces members to ascertain if there were any key readings members should look at as part of their preparation for selection testing.  They offered three key suggestions (also available on their website):

The first is a paper by Scott Beal via the U.S. Army Research Institute  titled ‘The Roles of Perseverance, Cognitive Ability and Physical Fitness in U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection.’ The paper analyses 824 candidates who participated in the research and how the tests and measures included as part of the selection process can be used to predict long term success in Army Special Forces.

The second is an article by Paul Bartone, Robert Roland, James Picano and Thomas Williams via the International Journal of Selection and Assessment. The article, titled ‘Psychological Hardiness Predicts Success in U.S. Army Special Forces Candidates’ describes how over 1000 personnel were assessed for psychological hardiness and their scores were used to predict completion rates for the course.  The article suggests that psychological resilience is “an important individual characteristic associated with stress tolerance and successful performance in highly demanding occupations.”

The final is a paper by Ian Langford via the Directorate of Future Land Warfare titled 'Australian Special Operations: Principles and Considerations'.  It outlines the principles and considerations which underpin the employment of Australian Special Forces and why successful Special Operations appear to defy conventional wisdom and many of the theories and applications of warfare. Importantly, he specifically defines Australian Special Operations and what makes them unique in an Australian context compared to international partners.

If you are interested in Special Forces selection or even working with them in a support role, read the articles to assist your educational preparation prior to undertaking the rigorous training.  



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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