|International Affairs Specialists to Enter Training Pipeline
2/13/2006 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The Air Force recently selected 87 officers out of more than 400 volunteers to become its first class of international affairs specialists.
Those officers will enter training this summer to become either Political-Military Affairs Strategists, or PAS, or Regional Affairs Strategists, or RAS.
The program was established to produce a cadre of globally skilled Airmen needed to support the global war on terrorism in today’s expeditionary environment, said Col. Robert Sarnoski, Air Force international Airmen division chief.
"The vital need for these global skills is reflected in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, which promotes increased language and cultural capabilities along with enhanced security cooperation activities," he said. "Fielding these skills is just as important as fielding new weapon systems."
Candidates for PAS will complete a political-military affairs oriented program such as Air Command and Staff College with the PAS specialized study track or the Air Force political advisor internship.
Candidates for RAS will earn a regionally focused masters degree at the Naval Postgraduate School and learn a foreign language at the Defense Language Institute. They will then employ their knowledge and skills by serving in key international positions at regional major commands, combatant commands and in military-diplomatic offices at U.S. embassies, said Maj. Paul Tombarge, chief of the Air Force International Affairs specialist branch.
"RAS officers combine professional military skills with foreign language proficiency and a focused education in regional history and international security studies to understand the specific regional context in which air and space power may be applied," he said. "They can then integrate this understanding into plans and operations, and build effective relationships with our global partners -- relationships that are critical enablers for our Expeditionary Air and Space Force."
While these officers will become international affairs experts, they will remain competitive in their primary Air Force specialty, said Bruce S. Lemkin, the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs.
"The IAS Program is designed to complement an officer’s overall career development through carefully managed career broadening assignments," he said. "Fully consistent with the Air Force’s force development concept, we are committed to keeping these officers competitive in their primary career field while building their international expertise."
As the class enters the training pipeline this summer, Air Force Personnel Center development teams will begin directing next year’s candidates. Interested line officers with seven to 12 years commissioned service should indicate a preference for IAS development on their transitional officer development plan.
Intermediate Developmental Education selects should also reflect their desires on the Air Force Form 3849, Officer Worksheet.