How does an officer become a FAO? Both proponent and HRC receive inquiriesdaily from prospective FAOs and we need your help in informing young Armyofficers on the process of becoming a FAO.
Officers are now selected to become Foreign Area Officers through theVoluntary Transfer Incentive Program (VTIP). VTIPs are held quarterly at HRC,and interested officers should refer to the most recent MILPER message for the
specifics of each individual VTIP. All potential FAO applicants should reviewand be familiar with Chapter 28 of DA PAM 600-3. Officers selecting FA48-Foreign Area Officer (FAO) as a preference must meet minimum requirements for
FAO and complete a specialized questionnaire (FAO Questionnaire) which is sentto FAO Proponent. Note: this enables FAO Proponent to consolidate applicant
questionnaires for analysis in order to provide an informed recommendation tothe VTIP panel. Requirements vary by Cohort Year Group, and it is criticalthat the officer consider not only the general requirements, but specificrequirements for their year group as outlined in the MILPER for the particular
Neither FAO Assignment Branch at HRC, nor FAO Proponent approve VTIP transfers. We provide recommendations to the VTIP panel as the potentialgaining branch and ensure applicants meet general qualifications/requirements.
Officers compete against other officers for the limited number of vacancies ineach functional area. History has shown that FAO is among the most competitiveof all the functional areas and around 50% of applicants are selected.
In general, officers applying for FAO must meet the following requirements:
a. Complete the FAO Selection Questionnaire located at www.fao.army.mil. Thisquestionnaire will be reviewed in detail by FAO Proponent and if the officeris selected for FAO will be used to help determine their assigned AOC.
b. Officers are required to complete the Defense Language Aptitude Battery(DLAB) and have the score updated on their Officer Record Brief (ORB) prior tothe VTIP board convening. The minimum acceptable DLAB score is 95. Officersthat already possess a foreign language are still required to meet minimumDLAB requirements as the Army may require the officer to learn a differentlanguage to meet specific year group language requirements.
c. Officers must have completed their respective Captain’s Career Course(CCC). Additionally, officers must have completed company grade-level KDpositions in their basic branch, or must be currently serving in their KDposition.
d. IAW AR 621-1, an officer must have a baccalaureate degree with a GPA of 2.5on a 4.0 scale, or have completed a FAO-related graduate degree as per DA PAM600-3 and FAO Proponent ACS Webpage). All FAOs that do not already possess a
FAO-related graduate degree (as determined by FAO Proponent) must take the GRE. Officers who do not meet the 2.5 GPA requirement in their baccalaureatedegree must provide graduate degree transcripts or GRE scores in order to
compete in the VTIP.
e. Officers must be willing to accept designation into any Area ofConcentration (AOC). While officers may submit up to four preferences, AOCdesignations are designed to meet Army requirements, therefore officers maynot receive a designation into one of their stated preferences. Officers thatare offered accession into FAO branch through the VTIP and subsequentlydecline the transfer are ineligible for future selection.
f. Officers who are competing for other specialized programs (i.e.Fellowships, TWI, USMA, etc) may not be eligible to compete. FAO training isextensive and an officer’s commitment to another program may conflict withvital FAO training. Officers must be able to meet the availability timelinesspecified in the latest MILPER message so that upon promotion to MAJ they arecompleting or have completed FAO training and are ready to move to a FAO 04
g. FAOs MUST be able to serve in remote assignments where services andconcurrent spouse assignments may not be available. Officers who have familymembers enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) or who are
dual-military, should give serious consideration to whether a career as a FAOis the right choice for them and their family. All officers with familiesshould have their family members screened for EFMP prior to VTIP packetsubmission. This will provide the officer and the branch the opportunity tomake an informed selection decision.
Specific Cohort Year Group (CYG) requirements vary with each VTIP boardconvened. The following requirements are valid as of April 2012:
CYG 2004 and older are FULL - FAO does not have the resources to train any more officers in these Cohort Year Groups. Officers in these year groupsdesiring accession into FAO Branch must already possess the required skillsand training to operate as a trained FAO. Specifically, the officer must have:
Language Skills. The officer must possess a current (within the last 12months) DLPT score of 2/2 or higher in a language of the region for which theywant to apply.
Education. Officers in these CYGs must already possess a graduate degree in anappropriate FAO-related discipline such as International Relations or AreaStudies (see Chapter 28, DA PAM 600-3). MBAs are not acceptable.
Regional Experience. Interested officers must possess extensive regionalexperience in the area/region of the World they are applying for. Thisexperience will be verified by the FAO Proponent as being In Region Training
Officers in year groups 2004 and older desiring transfer to FAO Branch mustreceive a letter of endorsement from FAO Proponent ensuring they meetlanguage, masters, and in-region experience requirements listed above.
Interested officers should contact FAO Proponent at DAMOSSFFA48@CONUS.ARMY.MIL
to begin this process. This letter in no way guarantees selection for FAO bythe VTIP Panel but it does ensure the Officer is fully qualified and can beconsidered by the panel.
CYG 2005, 2006, 2007 - Officers in these CYGs must possess the seven generalrequirements (a-g) listed above. In addition, it is highly-desirable forofficers in this CYG to possess one or more of the skills/experiences outlined
above (relating to CYG 2004 and older qualifications). Lastly, CYG 2005, 2006and 2007 officers must be eligible to move and begin training by October 2013.
The required training start dates are adjusted with each VTIP and are intendedto ensure that the majority of FAO training is completed while the officer isa CPT so that when promoted to MAJ the officer can fill valid 04 FAOrequirements.
For the most current information related to the VTIP process, please refer officers to the HRC LDD VTIP page. The next VTIP is currently scheduled toconvene in July 2012.
For information about the FAO program in general, please refer officers to DA PAM 600-3 , Chapter 28, Foreign Area Officer. Interested officers should alsoreview information available on the FAO Proponent website.