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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there international officers at Maxwell, AFB?
One of the U.S. Air Force's core functions is building partnerships. The establishment of strong, foundational aviation enterprises in our partner nations enables successful, sustainable, security within their own borders while contributing to regional stability. Successful partnerships ensure interoperability, integration and interdependence between air forces, allowing for effective combined and coalition operational employment. These partnerships also provide partner nations with the capability and capacity to resolve their own national security challenges, thereby reducing the potential demand for a large U.S. response or support1

What is IOS?
IOS, or the International Officer School, is the preparatory course for Air University's Air War College (AWC), Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), and Squadron Officer School (SOS). This course allows the international officers to better integrate into the academic culture with their U.S. classmates. IOS also manages all of Air University's international affairs, foreign disclosure, and foreign visits. For more information about IOS, see our home page

How do I become a sponsor?
The process is simple! Just fill out an application and return to the Chief of Sponsor and Dependent Programs at IOS. After review, IOS will provide you with a short training session and guides to assist in your sponsorship journey.
Click here to apply!

What are a sponsor's responsibilities?
As an AGA sponsor, your responsibilities include international student reception at the airport, helping to get settled into the local area, and being their first "friend" in the U.S. The AGA often helps to answer questions such as "Where do I go to have my electricity turned on?" or "How do I enroll my children in school?"

How do I get on base?
IOS adds you to our AGA volunteer list, 42d Security Forces runs a background check, and then you are issued a pass at the Visitor's Control Center.

How long does sponsorship last?
Sponsorship lasts for the entire duration of the student's course. The AWC and ACSC students are at Maxwell for a year, while the SOS students are here for 3 months.

How much of my time will it take to be a sponsor?
It's entirely up to you! The first few weeks are the most time consuming as some of the officers need assistance settling into the local area.

What should I do with students and their family?
Whatever you normally do! Typical activities include inviting them to your home, dinner, ball games, theater, museums...the list is endless. Just be yourself, do things that interest you, and find out what interests your officer and their family. The goal is to introduce the international family to American culture.

Are there any volunteer opportunities other than sponsorship?
Yes! IOS needs volunteers to help run the International Family Orientation Program (IFOP) and the International Dependents' English Course (IDEC), recruiting initiatives, and even welcoming international families as they arrive at the airport. For more information on volunteering, click one of the following links:

IFOP     IDEC      Welcome Booth

Do the international families speak English?
It depends...while our international students do have a requirement to have proficiency in English prior to their arrival at Maxwell AFB, their families do not. Of course, some countries national language is English, but many of our international families know little to no English. For adult family members of our AWC and ACSC officers, IOS hosts the
International Dependents English Course (IDEC) in the fall of each year which teaches basic conversational English. Other English Language courses are offered throughout Montgomery and the surrounding areas.

What's in it for me?

  • - Travel the world right here in the River Region
  • - Make life-long friendships with international students and families
  • - Enjoy learning about foreign cultures from those who live them
  • - Rediscover what you love about Alabama life by sharing it with fun, interested people
  • - Invitations to Air University sponsored events
  • - Invitation to the Alabama Goodwill Ambassador Appreciation Night which doubles as an annual awards banquet
  • - Take pride in sharing a positive image of Americana, Americans, and increase mutual understanding in the global community
  • - Change the world for the better

Where can I find information on school registration?
For information on local schools, school ratings, and the registration process,
click here.

How do I get my student's contact information?
After the sponsor-student assignments have been made, the Sponsor Coordinator at IOS will email you any available contact information, likely an email address. After the student arrives in Montgomery and obtains a phone, the Sponsor Coordinator will provide you with that number.

When do the students arrive?
Each course at IOS has a different starting point throughout the year. For this year's schedule, please contact the
Sponsor Coordinator.



[1] Air Force Basic Doctrine, Organization, and Command AFDD1, 14 Oct 2011 and the U.S. Air Force Posture Statement 2012 

International Officer School Patch
120 S. Mitchell Street
Maxwell AFB, AL  36112