SETAF-AF hosts first Africa Foreign Area Officer Forum
1 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gerald Mathis, Senior Defense & Air Attaché, U.S. Embassy Tanzania, speaks about Army activities, operations, and investments in Africa during the Africa Foreign Area Officer Forum, held at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, Dec. 13, 2023. U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) hosted the first Africa FAO Forum in Italy, Dec. 11-14, 2023. The forum brought together FAOs from across Africa, senior leaders and subject matter experts to participate in academic discussions and professional development. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Genesis Miranda) (Photo Credit: Cpl. Genesis Miranda) VIEW ORIGINAL
SETAF-AF hosts an Africa Foreign Area Officer Forum
2 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jason Porter, G7 small scale exercises chief, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), addresses the audience during the Africa Foreign Area Officer forum held at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, Dec. 13, 2023. U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) hosted the first Africa FAO forum in Italy, Dec. 11-14, 2023. The forum brought together FAOs from across Africa, senior leaders and subject matter experts to participate in academic discussions and professional development. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Genesis Miranda) (Photo Credit: Cpl. Genesis Miranda) VIEW ORIGINAL
SETAF-AF hosts first Africa Foreign Area Officer forum
3 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Theater Sustainment Command Chief, Mark Harlow, addresses the audience during the Africa Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Forum at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, on Dec. 13, 2023. U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) hosted the first Africa FAO Forum in Italy, Dec. 11-14, 2023. The forum brought together FAOs from across Africa, senior leaders and subject matter experts to participate in academic discussions and professional development. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Genesis Miranda) (Photo Credit: Cpl. Genesis Miranda) VIEW ORIGINAL
SETAF-AF hosts first Africa Foreign Area Officer forum
4 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Africa Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Forum members participate in a discussion at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, on Dec. 13, 2023. U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) hosted the first Africa FAO Forum in Italy, Dec. 11-14, 2023. The forum brought together FAOs from across Africa, senior leaders and subject matter experts to participate in academic discussions and professional development. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Genesis Miranda)
 (Photo Credit: Cpl. Genesis Miranda) VIEW ORIGINAL
SETAF-AF hosts an Africa Foreign Area Officer Forum
5 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Theater Sustainment Command Chief, Mark Harlow, addresses the audience during the Africa Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Forum at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, on Dec. 13, 2023. U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) hosted the first Africa FAO Forum in Italy, Dec. 11-14, 2023. The forum brought together FAOs from across Africa, senior leaders and subject matter experts to participate in academic discussions and professional development. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Genesis Miranda)

 (Photo Credit: Cpl. Genesis Miranda) VIEW ORIGINAL
SETAF-AF hosts an Africa Foreign Area Officer Forum
6 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) chief of plans, left, Lt. Col. Issac Hedtke, Mark Harlow, Theater Sustainment Command Chief, Lt. Col. Jason Porter, SETAF-AF G7 small scale exercises chief, and SETAF-AF Security Cooperation Directorate Director Col. Matthew Kopp lead a discussion panel during the Africa Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Forum held at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, on Dec. 13, 2023. U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) hosted the first Africa FAO Forum in Italy, Dec. 11-14, 2023. The forum brought together FAOs from across Africa, senior leaders and subject matter experts to participate in academic discussions and professional development. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Genesis Miranda) (Photo Credit: Cpl. Genesis Miranda) VIEW ORIGINAL
SETAF-AF hosts an Africa Foreign Area Officer Forum
7 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) Chief of Plans, left, Lt. Col. Issac Hedtke, Theater Sustainment Command Chief, Mark Harlow, SETAF-AF Deputy of Exercise Division, Lt. Col. Jason Porter, and SETAF-AF Security Cooperation Directorate Director Col. Matthew Kopp lead a discussion panel during the Africa Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Forum at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, on Dec. 13, 2023. SETAF-AF hosted the first Africa FAO Forum in Italy, Dec. 11-14, 2023. The forum brought together FAOs from across Africa, senior leaders and subject matter experts to participate in academic discussions and professional development. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Genesis Miranda)

 (Photo Credit: Cpl. Genesis Miranda) VIEW ORIGINAL
Back to U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

Vicenza, ITALY – U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) hosts the first African Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Forum with 80 attendees at Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, Dec. 11th-14th 2023.

The African FAO Forum is a dedicated platform for FAOs, offering opportunities for academic discussions, professional development, and collaborative workshops to foster collaboration, address unique challenges within the African FAO community, and facilitate face-to-face interactions, mentorship, and career mapping discussions.

"Foreign Area Officers play a crucial role in enhancing the people’s understanding of our mission, operating at the tactical level to bridge the gap between the [Department of] Defense and State [Department Foreign Service],” said Maj. Gen. Todd R. Wasmund, SETAF-AF commanding general. “They contribute to our mission by maintaining relationships with our African partners and reinforcing understanding of the value of our military programs in their country.”

FAOs, commissioned officers from the U.S. armed forces, are strategically trained as military diplomats with regional expertise, language proficiency, and a global presence. They serve in various capacities, including U.S. embassies and combatant command staffs, engaging across domains to foster international partnerships and advance U.S. national security interests.

“Foreign Area Officers serve in various roles, from working at SETAF-AF in the Security Cooperation Division as desk officers to providing insight to the command about the U.S. military engagement with our partner nations in Africa,” said Lt. Col. Amanda Parker, a FAO assigned to the American Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. “Particularly in SETAF-AF, a Security Cooperation Chief would help to coordinate SETAF-AF’s activities with the partner nation’s military. There are a variety of different ways that this happens, and FAOs are critical to helping facilitate that.”

The forum featured multiple panels: FAOs in Crisis Response; Army 2030 and Multi-Domain Operations; U.S. Indo-Pacific Command priorities and their impacts on Africa; Army Activities, Operations, and Investments in Africa; and Senior FAO Insight.

FAOs organized a collaborative workshop during the forum, facilitating small-group discussions on challenges unique to the African FAO community. They categorized these challenges and assessed possible solutions within the African FAO team or if they required Department of Defense support.

The positive changes and support from leadership contribute to the continuous growth and effectiveness of FAOs in their diplomatic and security roles.

About SETAF-AF

SETAF-AF provides U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa a dedicated headquarters to synchronize Army activities in Africa and scalable crisis-response options in Africa and Europe.

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