By AFCLC Outreach Team
/ Published January 11, 2019
LEAP Scholar and Major Brent Johnson serves as an interpreter in Gabon during Central Accord 2016. (U.S. Army Africa Photo by Spc. L’Eric Wynn/Released)
The Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program deliberately develops Airmen with expertise in international affairs by facilitating language, regional expertise and culture courses. The Air Force Culture and Language Center has a similar mission, and for years now has been a critical contributor to the program.
Enhancing FAO education by delivering broad regional exposure and immersive language training, the Center’s staff provides individualized and personal attention throughout pipeline training. The FAO Program is a force development initiative of the Secretary of the Air Force/International Affairs and is designed to create a cadre of officers with in-depth regional expertise. The partnership between AFCLC and SAF/IA officially started in 2014 when the Center began placing FAOs in strategic locations for hands-on training to develop professional and diplomatic skills. The in-region training prepares FAOs to represent the US, the Department of Defense, and the United States Air Force, while building partnership capabilities with foreign government.
“AFCLC manages all aspects of the FAO In-Region Training (IRT),” said Sheila Miltersen, AFCLC’s FAO Program Manager.
IRT management requires handcrafted itineraries and around the clock customer service. The Center’s team continuously monitors FAO language skills, training history, test scores, and travel preparation; actively pursue training opportunities through embassy coordination.
“Since 2015, AFCLC has executed a total of 447 immersions for the FAOs,” Miltersen said.
Miltersen describes this past year’s involvement as “monumental” as far as the Center’s role in the FAO enterprise.
“AFCLC worked with SAF/IA and the Air Education and Training Command to enhance and normalize FAO training. “We identified training gaps, developed new courses, and established a real-time operating system with a common site picture for our FAO partners. Additionally, we increased our involvement by providing input to help develop the first FAO Career Field Education Training Plan,” Miltersen said. ”and presented at the inaugural FAO Orientation Course at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC). The orientation course was extremely informative and motivational.”
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