Director, Foreign Area Officer
The Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program Office is located in the historic Weckerling Center (Building 326), on the Presidio of Monterey, California. The FAO Program Office is responsible for supervising the training and professional development of all newly-assessed U.S. Army FAOs as they complete their language training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. The FAO Program Office is responsible for planning and executing the biannual Joint Foreign Area Officer Course (JFAOC), Phase I, which provides all U.S. Department of Defense Foreign Area Officers with a one-week orientation of the FAO career field. The FAO Program Office is also responsible for managing the Weckerling Center as a meeting and conference venue to support the Presidio of Monterey community.
The director of the FAO Program Office also serves as the DLIFLC liaison to the World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay and actively cooperates with, and participates in, the international programs at the Naval Postgraduate School.
The FAO Program Office can be contacted at FAOProgramOffice@dliflc.edu
U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer
Army Foreign Area Officers are Soldiers grounded in the Profession of Arms who provide leadership and expertise in diverse organizations in joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environments; who advise seniors as regional experts; and who offer unique war fighting competencies―cross-cultural capabilities, interpersonal communications and foreign language skills―that are critical to mission readiness of the Army in today’s dynamic strategic environment.
U.S. Army FAOs are specially selected and trained to be regionally-focused political-military specialists that possess a unique combination of regional expertise and strategic focus. FAOs develop political, cultural, sociological, economic, and geographic awareness, and foreign language proficiency in at least one of the dominant languages in their specified region over the course of their extensive three-four year training program. A FAO will typically serve overseas tours as a military attaché, security assistance officer, or strategic-level political-military planner on the Geographic Combatant Commander’s or Army Service Component Commander’s staff. Additionally, FAOs serve as political-military planners in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Army Staff, Army Commands, or in other agencies of the Department of Defense. FAOs also serve as arms control specialists, country desk officers, liaison officers, and Personal Exchange Program officers to host nations or coalition allies. Roles and responsibilities of FAOs are extensive and varied. They advise senior leaders on political-military issues and relations with other nations, provide cultural expertise to forward-deployed commands conducting military operations, build and maintain long-term relationships with foreign leaders, develop and coordinate security cooperation plans, execute security assistance programs with host nations, and report on national or regional political, military, and economic information to the U.S. Government.
Army FAOs transition from their primary career field to a full-time FAO career track. The typical Army FAO first attends the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course (JFAOC), Phase I and then completes language training at DLIFLC at the Presidio of Monterey, California. FAOs then conduct one year of in-country immersion at a site somewhere within their assigned region. During this immersion the FAO is given a travel budget to fully orient and familiarize themselves with their region. FAOs are also required to continue to develop their foreign language skills and their knowledge of their region. Finally, FAOs are also required to attend a fully-funded graduate program and earn a Master’s degree with a focus on their assigned region.
The following documents provide the policy foundation for the U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer Program:
1.Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-3, Commissioned Officer Professional Development and Career Management (link);
2.Department of Defense Directive Number 1315.17, Military Department Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Programs (link);
3.Department of Defense Instruction Number 1315.20, Management of Department of Defense (DoD) Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Programs (link)