Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of State-Defense Integration (PM/SDI)

The Office of State-Defense Integration (PM/SDI) promotes and facilitates closer synchronization and coordination between the Department of State (DOS) and Department of Defense (DoD) by managing several high-profile political-military programs and functions. These include the Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) and Military Advisor (MILAD) programs; DoD visits to the Department (military education, pre-deployment briefings, and senior leader engagements); DoD requests for DOS participation in military exercises; DOS approvals of Foreign Government Employment (FGE) requests from retired military personnel; and PM University training courses for DOS personnel. These programs and functions build partnerships and foreign policy expertise in matters pivotal to both DOS and DoD. The end result is that both agencies more efficiently and effectively advance U.S. national security interests, prepare for and respond to emerging threats, and ensure the strategic alignment of our U.S. military and diplomatic efforts. See below for more information.

POLAD Program

The POLAD program dates back to World War II when U.S. diplomat Robert D. Murphy served as an advisor to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since the events of 9/11/2001, the program has grown from less than a dozen POLADs serving as advisors to service chiefs and combatant commanders, to approximately 90 positions deployed across the globe. POLADs advise U.S. military combatant and component commanders, as well as leadership in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and throughout the DoD enterprise. These experienced diplomats ensure that U.S. military operations, planning, and exercises benefit from their expertise, which enhances overall cooperation between the DOS, DoD, and other interagency partners.

(Above) Andrea Gastaldo, POLAD to U.S. Army North (USARNORTH), shakes hands with Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper before briefing him at USARNORTH headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. State Dept Image.
(Above) Chris Sandrolini, POLAD to North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command (NORAD-NORTHCOM) meets U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft on her first visit to NORAD and USNORTHCOM.  On the left side of the picture are Amb. Kelly Craft and her husband Mr. Joe Craft. On the right are NORTHCOM Commander General Lori Robinson, Maj Gen David Robinson (Ret), Mr. Chris Sandrolini, and Colonel Timothy R. Ryan, Commander, 21st Mission Support Group.  State Dept Image.
(Above) Andrea Gastaldo, POLAD to U.S. Army North (USARNORTH), shakes hands with Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper before briefing him at USARNORTH headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. (Above) Chris Sandrolini, POLAD to North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command (NORAD-NORTHCOM) meets U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft on her first visit to NORAD and USNORTHCOM. On the left side of the picture are Amb. Kelly Craft and her husband Mr. Joe Craft. On the right are NORTHCOM Commander General Lori Robinson, Maj Gen David Robinson (Ret), Mr. Chris Sandrolini, and Colonel Timothy R. Ryan, Commander, 21st Mission Support Group.

MILAD Program

The MILAD program consists of 98 U.S. military personnel (both commissioned and non-commissioned officers) assigned throughout the Department of State to both functional and regional bureaus. Their military planning experience and expertise coupled with their organizational networks throughout the DoD make them an invaluable resource for their DOS counterparts on issues such as military operations and exercises, post-conflict reconstruction, counterterrorism, Pentagon approval processes, and much more.

DoD Visits to the Department of State

PM/SDI organizes and supports visits for an extensive network of DoD personnel, which includes both DoD civilian and military leadership, U.S. military officers and non-commissioned officers, and international military students. DoD personnel visit DOS for pre-deployment briefings, training and education, and key leader engagement meetings. This engagement provides a better understanding of State priorities, programs, and resources and facilitates more effective State-Defense coordination. Such visits also lead to productive exchanges of information between U.S. military personnel and DOS counterparts at all levels.

Military Exercises

PM/SDI works across the Department of State to identify representatives with relevant expertise to participate in military exercises, as appropriate, ensuring DoD’s exposure to a broad range of the Department’s expertise and alignment of State and DoD efforts. State Department participation helps make these DoD events as realistic as possible through the incorporation of DOS policies and perspectives.

Foreign Government Employment Requests (FGE)

PM/SDI also manages the State Department’s approval process for requests by retired U.S. uniformed-services personnel seeking employment with a foreign government, or with an educational institution or corporation that is owned, operated, or controlled by a foreign government, as required by the U.S. Constitution under the Emoluments Clause. The State Department’s process begins following approval of the request by the relevant branch of the Armed Services.

PM University

PM University is open to all Department of State Foreign Service personnel. It provides professional training and networking opportunities that focus on improving the skills of Political-Military practitioners in missions and bureaus. PM University’s preeminent course is a three-day, New Political-Military Officers Workshop designed primarily for Foreign Service Officers who are heading to political-military or political-security jobs in the near future. This training includes classroom instruction as well as in-person consultations with experienced regional and functional experts relevant to the officer’s upcoming assignment. The goal is to gain an understanding of current U.S. foreign policy priorities in order to better advance the Department’s and the Administration’s political-military missions.