Foreign Area Officers are the Navy’s globally embedded strategic operators. Keeping the fight forward in today’s increasingly complex global security environment requires persistent forward presence, and FAOs are an indispensable human element of the Navy’s global posture. FAOs are on the front lines of great power competition countering malign influences across geography and across domains and strengthening our worldwide network of allies & partners. This requires leadership, regional expertise, local contact, and unity of effort from the low end of conflict (day-day competition) to the high end (war).
FAOs are assigned to and gain specialized LREC skills (master’s degree, language, extensive in-region experience) within the five Geographic Combatant Command areas of responsibility: CENTCOM, INDOPACOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, and AFRICOM.
FAOs are assigned globally and fill a wide range of Pol-Mil oriented positions including Senior Defense Official/Defense Attaché, Naval Attaché, Security Assistance Officer, Joint, Fleet and Interagency Staffs, as well as Liaison Officers to foreign militaries. FAOs have opportunities to attend foreign war colleges as students or work with our foreign partners via multiple bilateral Personnel Exchange Programs.
Officers are accessed into the community via the Active Duty Lateral Transfer and Redesignation Board. The FAO Community seeks officers with a minimum of 5 years of commissioned service (YCS). Officers should be within 18 months of PRD to be accepted as a FAO and must be available for overseas PCS at next PRD. Qualified Restricted Line and Staff Corps officers may also apply. Qualified applicants must be due course and have demonstrated sustained superior performance within their parent warfighting community as well as strong international experience and linguistic aptitude.
For more information regarding the community, please visit the community website listed at the right and contact the FAO Community Manager.
For more information regarding the language resources available to FAOs, please contact the FAO Community Language Program Manager at ALTN.N13_FAO@navy.mil.