Pentagon Heritage Display Honors Foreign Area Officers

Pentagon Heritage Display Honors Foreign Area Officers

DoD News, Defense Media Activity WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2016 — A new display at the Pentagon honors military officers who serve as regionally focused experts in political-military operations with advanced language skills, cultural understanding and the ability to advise senior military and civilian strategic decision-makers in an era of persistent conflict. The Defense Language and National Security Education Office dedicated the Foreign Area Officer heritage display Dec. 12 at the apex between corridors 7 and 8 on the second floor of the Pentagon. Daniel P.C. Feehan, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for readiness, hosted the ceremony. Diana Banks, deputy assistant secretary of defense for force education and training — the Defense Department’s senior language authority, also spoke at the dedication. Ceremony Kicks Off Awards Program The ceremony commenced the annual awards program for foreign area officers to recognize the capabilities and accomplishments of current and former FAOs from all of the services. The display in the Pentagon is the first of its kind to recognize the contributions of FAOs to DoD and its allies and partners, officials said. “As you walk through the FAO heritage wall display, you will see the history of FAOs ensuring readiness within the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard,” Feehan said. “FAOs are prepared to apply their strategic focus and regional expertise to advise senior leaders and develop and coordinate security cooperation.” Almost 2,600 FAOs are on active duty in more than 140 countries, and their history extends to before World War II. No two FAOs fulfill the same...
FAO program guest speaker on developments in Turkey

FAO program guest speaker on developments in Turkey

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   Editor’s note: This article is a feature from the Foreign Area Officer program’s monthly officer professional development series at DLIFLC. MONTEREY, Calif. – Ryan Gingeras, associate professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, spoke to Foreign Area Officers in language training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center about recent events in Turkey Oct. 19. “Because of the July 15th failed coup attempt this year the Turkish military is weakened, demoralized and has lost a lot,” said Gingeras. “One of the worst sectors affected was the press with the purging and prosecuting of opponents, and anti-American sentiment postured by the government is now at its highest.” The failed military-lead coup attempt only strengthened the power of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is seen as a pillar of the state, according to Gingeras. There is now an increased drive to strengthen the position of the president and the central government leading to mass purges and arrests. Erdogan’s government alleges the coup’s leader to be of the Gulen Movement, a pacifist, modern-oriented version of Islam that is designated a terrorist organization in Turkey. The movement’s founder, Fethullah Gulen, lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S., thus leading to anti-American sentiment associated with the coup. “The actual details of the coup are not entirely clear. The full size of those who participated in it, who the ringleaders were, is not fully known,” said Gingeras, making it unclear if the Gulen Movement was behind the attempt. “But what is clear is that the government has feared...
FAO program guest speaker on the India-Pakistan dyad

FAO program guest speaker on the India-Pakistan dyad

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   Editor’s note: This article is a feature from the Foreign Area Officer program’s monthly officer professional development series at DLIFLC. MONTEREY, Calif. – Dr. Sharad Joshi, an assistant professor of nonproliferation and terrorism studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, spoke to Foreign Area Officers in language training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Sept. 14 about relations between India and Pakistan. In his presentation “Assessing the India-Pakistan Dyad,” Joshi spoke about why this issue is important within U.S. National Security Strategy. The U.S. identifies a plethora of problems in Asia as it continues its rebalance to Asia and the Pacific, according to the strategy. In South Asia, the U.S. works with both India and Pakistan to promote strategic stability, combat terrorism, and advance regional economic integration in South and Central Asia. “In this partnership we always have to consider the other power,” said Joshi, referring to India and Pakistan as a hyphenated partnership. “For example, one cannot just go to Islamabad or just go to New Delhi without going to the other.” The problem herein is that India and Pakistan have been at odds with each other since the British Partition of India of 1947, which created India and the Dominion of Pakistan, later splitting into Pakistan and Bangladesh. Since then, India and Pakistan fought wars with each other from 1947-1948, in 1965, and in 1999. Kashmir, the disputed northernmost province of India, is at the heart of the tensions between the two countries. The vastly-Muslim province has religious and cultural ties to Pakistan, but is...
Former FAO program director at DLIFLC recalls 9/11 at the Pentagon

Former FAO program director at DLIFLC recalls 9/11 at the Pentagon

By Warren Hoy U.S. Army Retired   MONTEREY, Calif. – My job at the Pentagon was to manage the Army’s Foreign Area Officer Program. There were five of us FAOs working together on accessions, training, and policy matters regarding Army FAOs. As part of the training side of our job, we worked closely with the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center to meet FAOs’ foreign language requirements. We also presented the Joint FAO Course twice a year at the Presidio of Monterey. I recall a beautiful late-summer day, warm-not-hot, with the kind of achingly blue sky no cloud would dare appear in. I was at work in my cubicle, but the biggest thing on my mind was how to sneak out early and enjoy the day. Maybe go for a bike ride. Then, at 9:37 a.m., a Boeing 757 crashed directly beneath my desk. My cubicle was in Room 3D452 of the Army ring at the Pentagon, and the date was Sept. 11, 2001. When American Airlines flight 77 struck the building, it hit the first and second floors and tunneled directly under my third-floor office. The explosion sent a fireball through the window next to my desk, the impact knocked me out of my chair, and the room immediately filled with thick, black oily smoke. My desk was at the back of a cubicle farm that held about 80 personnel, near the office of our division chief, Col. Mark Volk. Since we were at the back of the room, we knew no one was behind us, so as Col. Volk and I moved toward the exit we gathered up...
DTRA Europe director mentors FAOs

DTRA Europe director mentors FAOs

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Col. Mike Ashford, director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Europe, spoke Sept. 8 to Foreign Area Officers in language training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center who will assume future assignments in Europe. Ashford spoke briefly about DTRA Europe and its conventional duties concerning weapons inspection teams, which include linguists and FAOs. He also spoke about DTRA’s duties under the Vienna Document, which provides openness and transparency concerning military activities conducted inside the territory of all European and Central Asian participating states. Ashford specifically wanted to use his visit to offer encouragement to the FAOs while they are still young in their careers. He himself is a FAO, having served in Moscow and U.S. Africa Command, attended the Joint Military Attaché School in Washington, D.C., and taught at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. “I highly encourage you to get into a job with a high concentration of FAOs. That gives you a much better opportunity at promotion,” said Ashford about career advancement. He spoke about the military downsizing, making it difficult for FAOs to compete for promotion due to spending time away from the service, usually at an embassy or other foreign assignment. “But learn your profession before you try to go to the pointy end of the spear,” he added, as it takes experience before FAOs will be solving serious diplomatic problems. Being that the FAOs are currently in language classes at the institute, mostly Russian, Ashford encouraged them saying that “language proficiency as a FAO is important. It’s one...
Former CIA agent says language and culture knowledge essential to national security

Former CIA agent says language and culture knowledge essential to national security

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Frank Archibald, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency National Clandestine Service from May 2013 to January 2015, spoke to faculty and staff at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Aug. 18. Archibald spoke about how language and culture has helped him throughout his national security career and offered encouragement to the teachers in getting their students to achieve higher proficiency levels. “Individuals in relationship to the state are more powerful today than they ever were before and that is because of technology,” Archibald said, and he held out his cellphone. He talked about how people are more connected today than ever before. “Technology can be a power for good or a power for evil.” Throughout his career Archibald’s work focused on international relations between states such as that between the Soviet Union and the U.S in the Cold War, but today individuals are becoming more powerful through the connectivity of technology. Therefore, he stressed, the importance of understanding relationships down to the individual, and with that comes the thorough understanding of language and culture. “When I was in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo), once a month I would go places in the east where they haven’t had anybody from the Embassy in decades.” said Archibald, and then, following one particular trip, “one of the linguists said to me ‘Frank, you’re always so much better in French the day you come back from your trips to the east.’” These trips are how Archibald dealt with language and culture understanding in his career. Previous to his address...
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