Who is eligible to participate?
SOFTS is designed to support language training for personnel within the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and its component special operations commands: US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), Naval Special Warfare Command (NSW), US Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). As such, all SOFTS classes are driven by specific language requirements for USSOCOM personnel.
Space-Available Enrollment (Space-A)
Students, who are not directly attached to a USSOCOM unit (non-USSOCOM), or who are attached to a USSOCOM unit, but are not SOF Operators, may be able to participate in a SOFTS class on a space-available basis. These students are essentially auditing the class and are not guaranteed enrollment. In order to be eligible to participate in a SOFTS class, the student must be:
- Active duty or reserve member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force
- Members of the Coast Guard
- A civilian employee working for the Department of Defense or other Government Agency
Note: Retired personnel and contract employees are not eligible to participate in the classes. Any non-USSOCOM student which would like to participate in the class must be able to meet all system requirements, which are located here
All students who register for a class must first be approved by their unit’s Command Language Program Manager (CLPM). If a student is attached to a unit that does not have a designated CLPM, the student must be approved by SOF Language Office before they are enrolled.
Class Confirmation Notification
Space A students will not receive notification that they are confirmed for a class until 10 days before class start date. Space A students are confirmed in priority order based on the date they applied for the class. (i.e. first come, first served)
USSOCOM personnel will receive class material (books and other support materials) as well as hardware support as needed on a temporary hand receipt loan. Space A students will receive books however no hardware will be loaned.
Who can propose a class?
If a USSOCOM student requires language training outside the normal training schedule or on short notice, the student’s CLPM is able to propose a class through SOFTS Online. These proposals must be reviewed and approved by the SOF Language Office before students are able to be enrolled.
The class registration process is all done online. During the sign-up process, students are shown all of the upcoming classes that are open for enrollment and fit their language and proficiency level. If there are no classes available, or no classes that fit a student’s schedule, USSOCOM students are able to propose a class at the next available start date on the schedule. Before this class is created and open for enrollment, the student’s CLPM must first approve the class.
If there are no classes available for students that are not SOF Operators, they are able to complete their registration and be placed on a waiting list. Once a class that matches the student’s language and proficiency becomes available, the SOFTS Helpdesk will contact those students for preparation.
What are the Class Launch Requirements?
SOFTS classes are created to meet language training requirements specifically for SOF Operators. As such, classes will only start on the condition that there is at least one SOF Operator enrolled.
Classes also have a minimum enrollment requirement and will not launch if there are less than 3 total students enrolled in the class. Furthermore, classes have a maximum seating limit of 4 students, though not all classes will necessarily have all seats filled.
Upcoming classes are subject to cancellation at any time if they do not meet the minimum requirements for either SOF Operator or total student enrollment.
How can I enroll for the next level class in SOFTS?
In order to advance a full level (ILR 0+ to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or 3 to 4), an official OPI or DLPT test score will be required to verify that the next class matches your latest proficiency level. During the registration process in SOFTS Online, you will be prompted to enter scores and dates for an OPI and/or a DLPT test. After you enter the score information and complete the registration, your test information will be verified with you during the preparation process.
To advance a half-level (ILR 1 to 1+, 2 to 2+, or 3 to 3+), an unofficial OPI, OPIc (for levels 0 through 1+), or an online diagnostic assessment (e.g., DLI, Transparent, or Joint Language University) is all that is needed. After you enter the score information and complete the registration, your test information will be verified (via certificate or screen shot) with you during the preparation process.
How long does it take to become proficient?
Achieving a high proficiency level in any language varies from student to student. Click the link below for more details on how long it takes to become proficient in a language.
What are class tiers?
Every SOFTS course is assigned a tier designation by SOFLO. There are three different class tiers and each is described below:
Tier 1 classes:
These are classes are generally set aside for special circumstances. Most classes do not fall into this designation and are intended for general officers and flag officers or high priority needs.
Tier 2 classes:
Most classes fall under the Tier 2 class designation. These are classes that have at least 1 SOF student in the class, and includes classes requested by SOF students or those that are proposed by SOF CLPMs. The schedule for these classes is set and should not be changed arbitrarily. If the schedule requires adjustment, the request should be made through the Helpdesk and approval will be requested from the CLPM and from SOFLO before the change can be made.
Tier 3 classes:
These classes do not have any SOF students enrolled. These occur when SOF students drop or are no longer enrolled in an on-going course and only Space-A students remain on the roster. The schedule for Tier 3 classes are set and will under no circumstances be changed.
What are the SOFTS Standards of Conduct?
In order to best provide quality language training for the students participating in SOFTS, we expect all participants to adhere to the following behavioral policies. These guidelines are designed to provide a professional environment conducive to successful learning for all students. While participating in SOFTS classes, students should observe the following policies at all times:
Respect other online participants
Interact and collaborate with other participants
Refrain from using profane, derogatory, or unprofessional language
Refrain from engaging in other personal activities unrelated to the class. These activities may include, but are not limited to:
Non-instructional internet browsing
Non-instructional instant messaging, including the classroom chat function
Using the telephone
Remain clearly visible in virtual classroom at all times while class is actively in session
Eliminate background noises and distractions
Remain attentive and prevent unnecessary distractions
Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages
Refrain from smoking and/or use of tobacco products
Refrain from eating while participating in class
Attend all possible class sessions
Be on time to all class sessions
Student with more than 15% unexcused absences will be dropped from the course.
Students that miss 3 or more consecutive class sessions may be dropped from the course.
Notify your CLPM and the SOFTS Helpdesk prior to your class session in the event you will be late or absent to a scheduled session.
Any failure to follow these guidelines will be reported to the student’s Command Language Program Manager (CLPM) and/or the SOF Language Office.
Can I use a wireless internet connection?
In general, a hardwired internet connection is preferred due to the continuous stream of data going to and from each participant in the virtual classroom. This constant stream is what allows for the clear and crisp audio and video connection while participating in class. However, per the SOF Language Office, students are able to utilize a wireless internet connection for class, as long as it meets the minimum bandwidth requirements.
Students should note that all wireless connections are subject to interference from any number of sources (i.e. microwaves, cordless phones). These interferences can cause fluctuations in connection, which in turn create delays in audio or video, or even dropping from the class. You will often not notice these fluctuations during normal internet browsing; however, they can quickly become disruptive to clear communication in the virtual classroom. If a student’s connection disrupts the course, that student will be required to find a more suitable internet connection to attend class from. Failure to do so may result in an administrative drop from the class.
Will I receive a Certificate of Training?
At the end of a SOFTS course, students who attend a minimum of 60% of their course that is at least 60 hours long and who complete the Exit Test requirement will receive a Certificate of Training via email. The certificate confirms that you have successfully completed a SOFTS language training course and includes the number of hours you spent in training. This is a signed certificate from the Special Operations Forces Language Office (SOFLO).
When do I take Course Surveys?
The Pre-Survey can be accessed on your student homepage and you will be given instructions on how to access it during the first day of class. The 25% and Post-Surveys will be administered during class. If you are absent during the time of completion, the link to access the survey will be emailed to you.
How Secure is SOFTS?
All data transmitted to and from the softsonline.org website is fully encrypted using a sha1RSA (2048 bit) SSL certificate. The vConnect classroom and launcher software is also hosted on servers that fully encrypt all data using a sha1RSA (2048 bit) SSL certificate. The ClickOnce application that launches the vConnect platform is signed with a sha256RSA (2048 bit) code signing certificate. Finally, all data transmitted within the vConnect platform is fully encrypted using FIPS 140-2 compliant protocol DHE RSA AES128 with SHA encryption (DHE_RSA_AES128_SHA).