The Information Proponent Office regularly sees U.S. Army officers attend the Functional Area 30 Qualification Course, which is presented twice each year.
While the FA 30 Qualification Course at Fort Leavenworth is an Army course, and it’s not uncommon for Army civilians or U.S. Navy officers to attend the class, this year saw a new category of student — army officers from other nations. �
Capt. David Phillips from the Australian Army and Capt. Eric Racine from the Canadian Army have the distinction of being the first international officers selected to attend the FA 30 Qualification Course. �
Information Proponent Office Director Col. Mike Dominique explained the purpose of opening the course to international officers.
“We have to be prepared to operate in a coalition environment — we’ve seen this in Afghanistan and Iraq — and part of operating as a coalition involves building partnerships with our allies and learning how they operate in the information realm,” Dominique said. �
Brig. Gen. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, said, “This class reflects a level of collaboration between American and international officers that is vital in building cohesive teams with our coalition partners. Sharing knowledge — at all levels — will only serve to make us stronger.”
When asked about the challenges involved in opening the course to foreign officers, FA 30 Qualification Course Director John Warner said he doesn’t expect anything but positive results. �
“The international officers are very engaged and completely accepted in their seminars. And this education will allow these officers to help educate other soldiers in their armies how to conduct inform and influence activities, information operations and joint information operations,” Warner said.
Being the “first” in anything provokes the question of how the first ones were chosen. �
“We initially opened the class to ABCA (the American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armies’ program ) because we have an established working relationship and ABCA has similar information operations doctrine to ours,” Dominique said. �
Racine said he was selected to attend the FA 30 Qualification Course because he was recently put in charge of an information operations cell in the Canadian Army. �
On the other hand, Phillips was surprised to have been chosen.
“I’m an engineer but just became a staff officer. Before, I had never really heard of IO in the Australian Army,” Phillips said. �
Both Phillips and Racine said they are excited but understandably anxious about the next few weeks. �
For Phillips, this is his first time in the United States. Racine, whose first language is French, said he’s just a bit concerned about the language barrier.