The higher military education in Liptovský Mikuláš has more than 40-year old tradition. Its formation is dated back to the 70-ties of the 20th century, when the transformation of the Technical Vocational School started and resulted into creation of a higher education institution, the Military Technical University, on Sep 1, 1973. Later on, it was transformed into the Military Academy. Since 1973, more than 10,000 undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates, along with several thousands of specialized and career courses attendees have graduated. The SVK AFA has been developed as an education institution, which is able to provide a quality higher education, professional military education, lifelong education and international education corresponding to the needs and requirements of the Ministry of Defense of the Slovak Republic, the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, NATO and other stakeholders.
The International Courses Department (ICD) is based on previous International Staff Officers’ Course (ISOC) and its predecessor – the JSOC (or Junior Staff Officers’ Course) which was held in the Armed Forces Academy from 2002 to 2007 as a trilateral project between the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic. Due to this reason the Armed Forces Academy has achieved the status of PfP - Training Centre (PTEC).
The first JSOC course was held in 2003 as a pilot course for the Slovak officers only. Only officers from Great Britain and Netherlands were acting as instructors during the JSOC. After the successful initial course, the courses for international officers started to run. There were 10 JSOC courses in total of 431 students from 22 countries from 2004 until 2007.
The Slovak Republic was eminently interested in effective PTEC membership and a new project was established – the ISOC, after the JSOC was closed in 2007.
There were 16 ISOC courses in total of 279 students from 22 countries from 2007 until 2016. After expiration of the Memorandum of Understanding with Netherlands the new cooperation with the US National Guard Indiana was established. The first new ISOC course was held in a first half of 2017 as a pilot course for the Slovak officers only.
On August 7 2017, the SVK AFA Rector received from the ACT DCOS JFT the Evaluation Report with the result of the QA evaluation - “Conditional Accreditation” - valid for one year.
On August 8 2018, the SVK AFA Rector received from the ACT DCOS JFT the Re-Evaluation Report for the Institutional Accreditation of the Armed Forces Academy, which resulted in the "Unconditional Accreditation" granted until July 28, 2024. This has successfully completed more than three years of the SVK AFA effort to gain an institutional accreditation from NATO. The SVK AFA became the first military higher education institution within the European Higher Education Area, which succeeded in combining two quality management systems and successfully undergoing both the "Bologna-type" accreditation and the NATO institutional accreditation in parallel.
From 1. January 2019 ISOC transformed to International Courses Department and the ISOC remained as a name of one of the main products of this department.
The International Courses Department and the PME Centre, as one of the SVK AFA’s education platforms, will respond flexibly to interoperability and compatibility demand within NATO as well as to the development of an operating environment, where the Operational Art re-orientates current operations back to the high-intensity or hybrid warfare, and where defeating hostile conventional and un-conventional combat forces by NATO is essential. This also requires very high level of compatibility of staffs in the planning of Operations in a multinational environment. With focus on its mission and with support of NATO standardization documents, our institution will continue to educate staff to keep this level steadily rising. In the context of the educational process, a goal is to spread knowledge on both the Operations Planning at Tactical and Operational Level in accordance with applicable NATO standards.
The demand for courses in the area of decision making or planning at tactical level is rising not only from Partner nations, but also course by course; we receive more requests from NATO nations. There are not many ETFs, which offer the courses focused on this area within the high intensity land operations. Existence of this gap, even if not identified as a NATO requirement, is also supported by the effort to create Tactical level planning standardization document APP 28.
Target audience for the courses organized by SVK AFA are not only officers from NATO member and partner countries, but also teaching staff from partner education institutions, sponsored by the NATO Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP). The way the SVK AFA influences, interacts, develops and promotes identified requirements at the Tactical Planning Process discipline has been stated in the SVK AFA Education Center’s Long-Term Vision: „Preparing well trained, interoperable NATO Tactical and Operational Planning experts to enable and support interoperability of international staff in Alliance’s exercises and operations".