An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

International Affairs Program
International Affairs Program Strategy and Plans Division Plans, Policies and Operations


The Marine Corps International Affairs Programs (IAP) identifies, develops and manages a professionalized cadre of subject matter experts in regionally focused political-military affairs who will possess advanced education in regional security studies, regional experience, and advanced linguistic skills. In order to serve as leaders, principle staff, planners, and advisers on capabilities for assignments on tactical, operational, and strategic-level staffs, joint and combined assignments, and for duty with interagency organizations in order to improve MAGTF plans, operations, security cooperation, and intelligence efforts. IAP Marines will be primary nominees: mil-diplomatic defense attaché, Office of Security Cooperations, regional plans, advisors, plans, policies, operations. IAP is responsible for selection, designation and assignment of Marines to the following programs:

(1) Foreign Area Officer (FAO)

(2) Regional Affairs Officer (RAO)

(3) Foreign Area Staff Noncommissioned Officer (FAS)

(4) Personnel Exchange Program (PEP)

824X Foreign Area Officer

  • Marine Officers will rate a region specific 824X AMOS designation upon successful completion of graduate level education at NPS and language training, or once a qualifying language proficiency score on file has been received. FAO designation is also possible through selection by the Experience Track panel for Marines possessing language and regional expertise, as well as a regionally focused graduate degree. Additionally awarded to Marines who have completed FPME, Olmsted scholar, or PEP in non-English speaking countries FAOs develop professional language regional expertise and cultural (LREC) capabilities and insights to help MAGTF, Joint, and Coalition commanders understand the complex human environment where Marines deploy. FAO training focuses on the three skill sets of the LREC continuum: regionally-focused graduate education, foreign language proficiency and direct experience through regional immersion and travel. The in-country/regional immersion prepares FAOs to understand historical context, cultural significance, and social perspectives of foreign societies and militaries.

822X Regional Affairs Officer Program

  • Marine Officers will rate a region specific 822X AMOS designation upon successful completion of academic training at NPS, completion of FPME, or PEP tour in an English speaking country. RAO designation is also possible through selection by the Experience Track panel when a Marine has significant regional experience outside of the aforementioned mentioned programs. RAOs develop specialized regional expertise through graduate education or significant time abroad. RAOs are qualified to serve in billets where foreign language skills are not required.

823X Foreign Area SNCO Program

  • Foreign Area Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (FAS) provide language skills, regional expertise and cultural capabilities (LREC) to MAGTF commanders throughout the phases of military operations and across the range of military operations to achieve U.S. government objectives. FAS's will apply LREC to the Marine Corps Planning Process, Security Cooperation and combined exercise planning, and serve as LREC trainers for operational force units, members of Forward Command Elements, and inter-organizational liaisons. FAS's will acquire Core Plus skills in Civil Affairs and Information Operations through skill progression and enhancement training as available/required. FAS's are proficient in their PMOS. This MOS may be assigned only as a FMOS and is available to ground and aviation Marines.FAS training focuses on the same skill sets as FAOs.

Personnel Exchange Program

  • PEPs represent Marine Corps engagement with allied partners to exchange and standardize operational procedures between coalition partners. Marine Corps exchange personnel embed with partnered military units while foreign counterparts embed with Marine Corps units, to develop and enhance worldwide security cooperation.

8220 Political-Military Officer

  • The 8220 MOS is used to designate those billets requiring a degree of knowledge or experience in international affairs. Officers assigned to fill these billets may include, but are not limited to, Regional Affairs Officers, Foreign Area Officers, and Interagency assignments. It will also be used to identify officers undergoing training as RAOs until they complete the requirements for designation in a regional sub-specialty (FMOS 8221-8228). This MOS may be assigned only as a FMOS. MOS 8220 will be assigned and voided only by authority of CMC (MM). Upon beginning Phase I of the Study Track RAO at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Foreign Professional Military Education (FPME) or PEP in English-speaking countries, Marine Officers will rate the 8220 designation. Additionally, Marines who serve in non-regionally affiliated political military (pol-mil)affairs billets within the contiguous United States which do not require the ability to speak a secondary language. Examples of such billets are: legislative affairs, state department, Liaison Officer (LNO), political/military fellowships (Brookings, JFK), or other interagency departments requiring pol-mil affairs expertise.

FY24/FY25 SCO Billet Vacancies

FY24/FY25 SCO Billet Vacancy List Updates:

FY24 SCO billet vacancies:

FY25 SCO billet vacancies:
O4/8248/New Zealand

For additional infromation, refer to MARADMIN: 174/23 HERE

JFAO Phase II Sustainment Courses
Plans, Policies and Operations