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International Affairs Specialist (IAS)

This page only provides an overview of the Air Force International Affairs Specialist (IAS) program, but it does address general questions, while also directing active-duty Air Force members and certified IAS officers to the Air Force Portal and Community of Practice, respectively, for further information.

The dynamic and evolving global security environment challenges us to perform our mission under an expeditionary concept requiring rapid, world-wide deployment. To ensure our continued success in this environment, we need a cadre of International Affairs Specialists with the insight and skills to build effective relationships with global partners. A review of the former Foreign Area Officer (FAO) program made it clear that a transformation was needed. Under the old FAO program, officers were not developed sufficiently nor managed effectively to become foreign area experts and most faced significant career progression hurdles for serving outside of their primary AFSC. The new IAS program replaces the FAO program and deliberately develops (selects, trains, assigns) officers with international affairs expertise while keeping them viable and competitive in their primary AFSC development track.

Fully consistent with the Force Development construct, select officers will be designated on an IAS secondary career path at the mid-career point and receive formal training and education with appropriate developmental assignments on one of two development paths. Some will do this as a well-managed, career broadening opportunity to gain international political-military affairs experience - the Pol-Mil Affairs Strategist (PAS); and for others this will be a more demanding developmental opportunity with multiple IAS assignments designed to create a true regional expert with professional language skills - the Foreign Area Officer (FAO), formerly known as Regional Affairs Strategist (RAS).

IAS Sustainment

IAS Regional Programs are designed to promote International Professional Development by offering educational opportunities in regional area studies. The International Affairs Specialist office makes the Language and Area Studies Immersion (LASI) program available to its Air Force line officers.

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Foreign Area Officer

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).

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Pol-Mil Affairs Strategist

Most officers are selected for PAS development in conjunction with Intermediate Developmental Education (IDE) designation, typically at the 10-12 year commissioned service point. In addition there are limited PAS opportunities as part of SDE.

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More Information

If you would like more information regarding the International Affairs Specialist Program, please contact us. (Please select International Affairs Specialist from the recipient menu.)

All active-duty Air Force members can visit the Air Force Portal website

All certified IAS officers can keep in touch with each other and with the IAS Branch via the IAS Community of Practice.

You can now visit a new SAF/IA News and Information page.