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Foreign Area Officer (FAO)

Officers are typically selected for FAO development within the 7-10 year commissioned service window, but some developmental opportunities exist as part of IDE and Senior Developmental Education (SDE). Officers designated on this IAS development path will accomplish a 24-33 month training program that includes a regionally-focused masters degree program in regional studies, international affairs, national security studies, etc., foreign language training, and a six month regional immersion, known as a Foreign Area Officer Immersion (FAOI). Additionally, Olmstead Scholars and Mansfield Fellows will be designated as FAO officers upon graduation. FAO officers will serve alternating assignments between their Primary AFSC and IAS. This is a more demanding, dual development track will be carefully managed by PAFSC functional DTs, SAF/IA and AFPC, specifically via the newly established IAS Advisory Panel (IASAP). The IASAP takes a holistic view of the officer's career and Air Force needs and acts in a similar fashion to other Development Teams. Certified FAO officers have an AFSC of 16F3X or 16F4X. A non-certified FAO officer has an AFSC of 16F1X. If you are not a certified FAO officer and you believe this is in error, please use the "FAO Certification Policy" letter in the attachments section (found on the IAS Air Force Portal website) as a guide to determine if you should be a certified FAO and request certification through the IAS Branch in SAF/IAPA.