Army Reserve Foreign Area Officers: Citizen-Soldiers and Statesmen

By Blumenson, John | Army Reserve Magazine, December 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Army Reserve Foreign Area Officers: Citizen-Soldiers and Statesmen


Blumenson, John, Army Reserve Magazine


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Enhanced Reserve Component Foreign Area Officer (RC FAO) program is a little known program that provides qualified, reserve field-grade officers for service in strategic positions at the highest levels of the Army and the Department of Defense.

The Strategic Leadership Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, Headquarters, Department of the Army, is the FAO proponent, and has aggressively undertaken the mission of revitalizing the program since August, 2005.

More than 140 duty positions are available world-wide for officers selected to serve as RC FAOs. The majority of these are with the Defense Attache System as Assistant Army Attachés, the Defense Intelligence Agency; the Army Staff (G-2 and G-3) and the Combatant Commands.

RC FAOs receive the same functional area designator (FA 48) as their active component counterparts, supporting nine geographic regions. Those regions are: Latin America, Europe, South Asia, Eurasia, China, Middle East/North Africa, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

RC FAO assignments offer reserve officers unique experiences often not available in the Troop Program Unit. RC FAOs often find themselves in the field around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

LTC John A. Sutherland, an RC FAO assigned to the Pacific Command (PACOM), is one of a few U.S. military officers to visit Vietnam on an official visit since 1975.

"As an Army Reserve FAO I could not ask for a better position. I have traveled with then Pacific Command (PACOM) Commander Admiral Dennis Blair in 2002, worked on the first U.S. ship visit to Vietnam since 1975 and even met GEN Vo Nguyen Giap," said Sutherland.

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