Professional Development Opportunities for Foreign Area Officers: 10,080 hours of training available over your FAO career

From the time we are accessed to the day we retire the United States Foreign Area Officers are provided the opportunity for 29 training events encompassing 10,080 total hours of training.  That is an absurd amount of years of training over the time from Senior Captain to a Junior Colonel. There is no shortage of training opportunities available for you, some of which are required and others of which are available if you choose to seek them out. This article outlines training events you are required to graduate from and those that are available for you to expand your horizons as a FAO. Bottom line: Try to never say “I didn’t know that.”  Try to train oneself.

Army FAO Training (6080 hours):

Defense Language Institute:  (1440 hours – 9 months – more for other languages)

Graduate School (2080 hours): Naval Post-Graduate School or other approved institutions

Joint Foreign Area Officer Course, Phase 1 (40 hours)

In-Region Training (2080 hours)

Attaché Training (1140 hours):

Joint Military Attaché School (520 hours):é-School-JMAS/

DLI – Washington (420 hours) Language refresher (if required and/or approved)

Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) (40 hours)

DISCS SCO-M (160 hours):

SCO training (200 hours)


  • DISCS SCO-O (160 hours)
  • FACT (40 hours)


  • DISCS SCM-FA-OL (SCM 101): Security Cooperation Management Familiarization Course
  • DISCS SCM-OC-OL (SCM-201): Security Cooperation Management Orientation Online Course

Joint / Combatant Command Training (1000+hrs)

Joint Forces Staff College (JPME-II) (400 Hours)

Joint Planners Course – Joint Knowledge Online and Combatant Command (40Hours)

USAID Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC) (24 hours):

Joint Special Operations University (JSOU): (40+ hours each)


  • Special Operations Forces-Security Cooperation (ISCS)
  • SOF Creative Problem Solving-Advanced
  • Special Operations Planning Course
  • Combating Terrorist Networks Interagency Seminar
  • Employment of Special Operations


  • Introduction to Special Operations Forces
  • Introduction to Irregular Warfare
  • Joint Special Operations Task Force (Level 1)

Joint Foreign Area Officer, Phase 2 (40 hours)

FAOweb and Joint Language University: Numerous language opportunities

NORTHCOM: Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) (40 hours)

NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany (40 to 80 hours each)

  • Resident Courses:
    • NATO European Security Cooperation Course
    • Arms Control Implementation Orientation Course
    • NATO Defence Leadership In Building Integrity Course
    • Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) and Mine Action (MA) Course
    • NATO Protocol Course
    • The Near Abroad – the Successor States of the Former Soviet Union
  • Online Courses: The NATO course offers numerous course online that provide significant professional development opportunities.

Service  / Component Opportunities (380 Hours)

US Army War College – Army Security Cooperation Planners Course (ASCPC) (40 hours)

Army FAO Language Opportunities (180 hours – each year): U.S. Army FAO Proponent annual language training

The United States Army War College: The Department of Distance Education

  • Defense Strategy Course (16 weeks – 80 hours)
  • Defense Planners Course (10 weeks – 80 hours)

DISCS SCM-P3, Security Cooperation Management Policy, Programs, and Planning (40 hours desk officer / plans officer course)

 Training Opportunities in the National Capital Region (100+ hours)

Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) (40 hours): Multiple Conferences

FAOA Luncheons: (For those who are stationed CONUS) (3+ hours but the networking is amazing)

National Intelligence University:

Ph.D. Program:  The School of Advanced Military Studies Strategic Planning and Policy Program, or ASP3 (6240 hours)  

Senior Service College (1080 Hours)

 Out of pocket opportunities (100+ hours)

United States Institute for Peace (USIP):

United Nations Peacekeeping Training – The Peace Operations Training Institute (POTI): offers Free On-Line Courses on UN Peacekeeping Operations: ”There are three ways to gain access to the courses – through the PKSOI website; through the Army Training Network/Regionally Aligned Forces Training Program ( ), which requires a DoD Common Access Card (CAC); or by simply going directly to the POTI’s landing page ( programs/pksoi/). Additional courses are available for a nominal fee on the POTI website.”

I have done most of this training (other than the Ph.D. program) – it is all beneficial to your future jobs.


  1. Sir,

    Thank you for taking the time to creat this blog. It is eye opening. And as I start my FAO journey (currently in IRT) I know with resources like these, I’ll be able to make the most of my Army FAO career!


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