Office of the Coordinator of the Foreign Policy Advisor Program (PM/POLAD)

Date: 2016 Description: Former POLAD to U.S. TRANSCOM, Richard Nelson (right hand side of picture), sits aboard an aircraft with Amb. George Krol (second from left) on a transport flight. - State Dept Image

Description: Department of State and Department of Defense Seals. © State Dept and DoD Images
Political-Military Affairs Bureau (PM)

Foreign Policy
Advisor Program

Foreign affairs are complex, rapidly evolving and interconnected. Emerging security issues demand that the U.S. Government be quick, agile, comprehensive and inclusive when navigating foreign relations. The interagency process continues to be the most efficient and effective means for the U.S. Government to leverage resources for securing America’s interests abroad. The POLAD program is at the tip of the spear for virtually all matters concerning interagency cooperation between the Department of State (DoS) and Department of Defense (DoD). Working together, with such programs as POLAD, America has the edge and will remain a global leader.

POLADs Around The Globe

Date: 2016 Description: POLADs Around the Globe: Africa Command; Central Command; European Command; Northern Command; Pacific Command; Southern Command; Special Operations Command; Strategic Command; Transportation Command. © Image courtesy of the Department of Defense

For a half-century, Foreign Policy Advisors (referred to as POLADs) have been on the frontline of interagency communications and collaboration between the Department of State (DoS) and the Department of Defense (DoD). The program has grown from a handful of POLADs, most with service chiefs or leaders of combatant commands, to 90 positions today, with postings in component commands, major headquarters, and in military units assigned to conflict areas. (Image courtesy of the Department of Defense)

POLADS provide invaluable foreign policy expertise and advice to senior, strategic level military leaders serving at various commands throughout the world. Thus, POLADS serve in varying environments, advising commanders facing a myriad of decisions with foreign policy implications. POLADS work alongside conventional and special operations commanders and communicate with foreign governments, militaries, and other government agencies. As part of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, a functional bureau within the State Department, POLADS also communicate with Department regional bureaus, fostering a greater awareness of DoD activities conducted around the world.

Date: 2016 Description: (Left image)Former POLAD to U.S. TRANSCOM, Richard Nelson shows former U.S. TRANSCOM Commander, General Paul Selva a presentation during an Open House at Scott AFB. (Middle image) Former POLAD to ISAF Force Reintegration Cell Afghanistan, Matt Chessen stands in front of the Laura M. Walker Forward Operation Base in Khowst Province, Afghanistan. (Right image) Former POLAD to U.S. TRANSCOM, Richard Nelson speaks with two members of the Philippine military. - State Dept Image

The POLAD Office

Foreign Service Officers frequently rotate through POLAD positions to provide fresh ideas, perspectives, and current foreign policy expertise to the DoD. The POLAD office serves as the source of continuity amidst frequent personnel changes, ensuring enduring institutional relationships for success.

Some of the main duties of PM/POLAD are:

  • Date: 2016 Description: Logo: Foreign Policy Advisor; Polad. - State Dept ImageIdentifying, recommending, referring, and supporting Foreign Service Officers’ placement to military organizations.
  • Provide administrative support, a Department of State responsibility as outlined in DOS-DoD Memoranda of Understanding.
  • Maintain continuous liaison with deployed POLADs.
  • Network with military commands to ensure that POLADs are properly assigned and engaged.
  • Visit POLADs and supported commands.
  • Identify new commands that would benefit from a POLAD. Identify commands where POLADs are not properly assigned or used.
  • Plan and organize POLAD conference and other events.

Internship Opportunities

Date: 2013 Description: Former POLAD Office program analyst, Danny Larson directs two interns at the 2013 POLAD Orientation. - State Dept Image

Are you a student interested in national security and foreign policy? The PM/POLAD Office has opportunities for student interns in the winter, fall, and summer months. The office is known for having one of the most enriching internship programs in the department. As a POLAD intern, you will communicate with leaders from DoS and DoD, Foreign Service officers around the world, and assist with the day to day operations of the office. Past interns have held key roles in various projects such as: the POLAD Orientation, the POLAD Conference, and the POLAD bidding/assignment process. The most current application information may be found with the Department of State’s Office of Student Programs at: