Foreign Area Officer Program
NCIS must develop and maintain productive relationships with the law enforcement agencies and security services of international partners; this is accomplished by personnel with extensive cross-cultural competencies and language skills. To more systematically provide these critical skills to our organization, NCIS created its own Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program in April 2007. The purpose of the NCIS FAO program is to educate, train and maintain, through career management and continuing education, a group of qualified NCIS Special Agents and Intelligence Specialists with specific skills and knowledge relevant to regional foreign areas, languages and cultures.
The program is a unique opportunity for current NCIS Special Agents and Intelligence Specialists to support Department of the Navy (DON) efforts in achieving national security objectives. This program is driven by the need for NCIS to quickly deploy to any region of the world at any time in support of the DON.
Recruitment of FAO candidates is based on their strong area studies and foreign language capabilities or fervent desire to study and work in foreign areas.
Development of FAO expertise in selected geographic regions is achieved through acquisition of graduate degrees and foreign language education at the Foreign Service Institute, the Defense Language Institution, or other venues that include full immersion language education. Opportunities are also provided through study at the U.S. Naval War College, The Naval Postgraduate School, regional security centers and other accredited institutions.