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Dr. Matthew Rhodes, professor of national security studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, talks about security and peace operation in Southeast Europe during his presentation on Balkan Security Issues Sept. 10 during the Eurasian Security Studies Seminar for U.S. Army Foreign Area Officers at the Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Marshall Center photo by Karl-Heinz Wedhorn /RELEASED)

GCMC PAO Staff Report

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Sept. 11, 2015) – The Eurasian Security Studies Seminar for U.S. Army Foreign Area Officers is being held here until Sept. 26 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Held every September, the Eurasian Security Studies Seminar provides U.S. Army Foreign Area Officers-in-training a better understanding of their duties, roles and responsibilities in working on regional security issues at various command headquarters and U.S. embassies, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kelly MacDonald, director of the Eurasian FAO program at the Marshall Center, who oversees this training seminar.

Adding to more than 1,300 graduates from 90 classes, 26 U.S. Army FAOs throughout Eurasia began this integral training Sept. 6. Seminar alumni include 19 general officers, 20 ambassadors and numerous other high-ranking dignitaries.

The first week of training concludes today, Sept. 11. This academic module consisted of classes focusing on international security and regional studies. Topics included: South Caucasus Security; FAOs in the Interagency Process; Central Asia Security; NATO and Eurasia; Balkan Security Issues; FAOs and the Country Team; EUCOM Strategic Environment; Terrorism; and, Hybrid Warfare on Europe’s Eastern and Southern Flanks, European and Eurasian Security Implications.

Next week, the FAOs-in-training will travel to U.S. European Command, U.S. Army Europe Headquarters, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and NATO Headquarters as part of the seminar’s field study module.

The last week of FAO training is a practical module to prepare them for life as a FAO.

The U.S. Army FAOs are regionally-focused experts in political-military operations who possess a unique combination of strategic focus and regional expertise, with political, cultural, sociological, economic and geographic awareness, as well as proficient in at least one of the dominant languages in their specified region.

A FAO will typically serve overseas as a defense attaché, a security assistance officer, or as a political-military planner in a command headquarters, Joint Staff, Major Commands, Unified Combatant Commands, or in agencies of the Department of Defense.

This seminar is part of the 50-year legacy of the FAO training program in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.