Retired general encourages FAOs in language learning

Retired general encourages FAOs in language learning

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course Jan. 25-29 at the Weckerling Center on the Presidio of Monterey, California. FAOs, who come from the four branches of the U.S. military, are regionally focused and are considered experts on political-military issues. Once their FAO training is completed, they are expected to serve as defense attachés, security cooperation officers and political-military planners worldwide. Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Matthew Brand spoke about the language enabled FAO Jan. 28. He served as a defense attaché in the Republic of Georgia and is a Russian linguist. He also served as the former deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and policy at NATO, his final assignment. “We are training you in this language so you can talk to people. You cannot get access to somebody if you can’t speak their language,” said Brand. “The most important tool in your kit is your language.” As part of their training path, a FAO could spend anywhere between 26 weeks to 64 weeks in class, seven hours per day at DLIFLC studying a foreign language. “The most important person you should know is yourself,” said Brand, who recommends that the FAOs become familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire to assist in their language learning. In theory, Myers-Briggs determines how humans process information and which of the four psychological functions is dominant for one person most of the time – sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. “How does this apply to language learning? One thing we all have in common...
Admiral, DLIFLC graduate speaks to FAOs

Admiral, DLIFLC graduate speaks to FAOs

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course Jan. 25-29 at the Weckerling Center on the Presidio of Monterey. FAOs, who come from the four branches of the U.S. military, are regionally focused and are considered experts on political-military issues. Once their FAO training is completed, they are expected to serve as defense attachés, security cooperation officers and political-military planners worldwide. Rear Adm. Todd Squire, director for international engagement, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., spoke briefly about the FAO role in security cooperation Jan. 26. Squire defines security cooperation as DOD interaction with foreign defense establishments to build relationships that promote specific U.S. interests. “It sounds daunting, but at the end of the day, it’s really not that hard,” said Squire. Squire said that a good beginning is to understand the U.S. codes and recommend that FAOs learn these among other policies. Security assistance under Title 22 is a Department of State responsibility and security cooperation under Title 10 is a Department of Defense responsibility. Between State and DOD, Squire echoed what many speakers at this and previous Joint Foreign Area Officer courses said – FAOs have many bosses and to get used to that, but to remember that the ambassador is the President’s direct representative in a foreign country and the closest at hand. However, not everything is just work. Squire also wants FAOs to enjoy the experience of being a FAO as he enjoyed all of his assignments abroad. He is a two-time...
Former ambassador teaches FAOs ‘Embassy 101’

Former ambassador teaches FAOs ‘Embassy 101’

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course Jan. 25-29 at the Weckerling Center on the Presidio of Monterey, California. FAOs, who come from the four branches of the U.S. military, are regionally focused and are considered experts on political-military issues. Once their FAO training is completed, they are expected to serve as defense attachés, security cooperation officers and political-military planners worldwide. Former ambassador to Fiji David Lyon spoke about embassy settings Jan. 26, where FAOs will work with Foreign Service Officers together on a day-to-day basis to promote diplomacy and solve problems before they become disputes. “In the field the most important relationship is between the ambassadors and the geographic combatant commanders,” said Lyon. Ambassadors are appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate and are the personal representatives of the President in a foreign state. All U.S. personnel in a country are under the direction of the ambassador except in a situation where a geographic combatant commander has jurisdiction over Defense personnel, such as U.S. Pacific or European Command. The second most important person in an embassy is the deputy chief of mission and is the key adviser to the ambassador. “FAOs live in both worlds (Department of State and Defense). You have to satisfy your immediate boss in the embassy and your home agency,” said Lyon. Breaking down the staff structure of an embassy, Lyon informed the FAOs of who they will be working with when they arrive at their duty stations. U.S. embassies and consulates are made up of...
Retired general opens joint FAO course

Retired general opens joint FAO course

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course Jan. 25-29 at the Weckerling Center on the Presidio of Monterey, California. FAOs, who come from the four branches of the U.S. military, are regionally focused and are considered experts on political-military issues. Once their FAO training is completed, they are expected to serve as defense attachés, security cooperation officers and political-military planners worldwide. Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randy Kee, a former political-military planner opened the conference Jan. 26 with his presentation titled “Reflections… the arena of Political – Military.” “As you serve, you are the dash between the political and the military,” said Kee. Kee drew upon experiences from his multiple assignments around the world. He spoke about a myriad of strategic challenges facing the U.S. in 2016, citing the Middle East and ISIL as an example. He also spoke about access to resources around the world and that competition for resources creates conflict. “Being good at political-military may ultimately save us in our resources. We talk a lot about building partner capacity. When we do, we can underinvest in that area and focus elsewhere,” said Kee. “Nations we have invested in are much more resilient when bad things happen.” In his final assignment, Kee served as U.S. European Command director of strategy, planning and coordination before his retirement in December 2015. “Nations will choose to make contrary policies to us simply because they have grievances with us. As a FAO, you can help change that narrative,” said Kee, as he spoke...
Senior defense attaché shares experience with FAOs

Senior defense attaché shares experience with FAOs

By Natela Cutter DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif., – Maj. Gen. Charles W. Hooper, the senior defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, shared advice and some of his life experiences with Foreign Area Officers at the Presidio of Monterey Jan. 13. A Joint Foreign Area Officer Course is organized each year by the DLIFLC FAO office, gathering officers from all four branches of the military for several days to teach new FAOs and their spouses about their future career path and what will be expected of them while working abroad. “You (are expected) to act as a combat multiplier…FAOs are always shaping. In the Army we call it ‘Prevent, Shape and Win,’ …the essence of your talents and your skills is to shape that strategic environment and hopefully prevent the possibility or the utility of arms,” said Hooper, to more than 100 officers. As regionally focused experts, FAOs normally receive foreign language training at DLIFLC and possess unique skills with political, cultural, sociological, economic, and geographic awareness of the nations they study. These highly trained individuals will go on to receive Master degrees in their field of expertise and serve as defense attaches, political-military advisors,  and occupy positions at the Joint Staff, major Combatant Commands and Department of Defense. “Build partner capacity in support of U.S. goals and objectives,” recommended Hooper. “The reason you are being trained to do what you do is to assist our partners in creating a security environment that is favorable to U.S. interests.” Hooper also recommended that one of the most important aspects of being a FAO is the ability...
Army Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere welcomes the Army’s new Soldier-Statesmen

Army Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere welcomes the Army’s new Soldier-Statesmen

By Natela Cutter DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence , Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, told the newly assigned class of Foreign Area Officers that they are “ambassadors of the U.S. Army at all times,” especially while on assignment abroad during their FAO careers. Lt. Gen Legere, participating by video teleconference, opened the week-long Joint Foreign Area Officers’ Course being held at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center with insights into the strategic operating environment and the imperative for students to begin the mastery of their assigned region. “You must understand the history, politics, geography, economy, religion, and social structure of the region…  you must have the ability to sort all that out and communicate it to policy makers,” said Legere, describing what is expected of a FAO assigned to a U.S. embassy abroad as a defense attach‚, security assistance officer, or political-military planner. The Army G2 spoke to over 65 Army FAOs, who arrived recently at DLIFLC to begin training and academic studies at the Institute or Naval Postgraduate School.  Each FAO must learn a foreign language, earn a Master’s degree relevant to their assigned region of the world, and gain in-country experience prior to starting a career in the field as an Army FAO. “You will be engaging foreign military leaders and helping build partnership capacity for our Army  by facilitating foreign military cooperation and exercises,” among other assignments, said Legere, explaining that at times a FAO may be the only U.S. military officer in an embassy abroad. “In some cases you will be it – the...
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