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Joint Military Attaché School graduates newest class, sends first general officer attaché to India in 50 years

By DIA Public Affairs

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Dec. 10, 2014 — On Nov. 21, defense attachés, attaché staff and spouses graduated from DIA’s Joint Military Attaché School. With completion of the 13-week programs, the graduates will fan out to 62 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia. These attachés will be the eyes and ears of the United States while they serve on the ground in their respective assignments.

 Acting DIA Director David Shedd offered keynote remarks to the group that emphasized the importance of relevancy, commitment to perform at a high operational tempo, and taking time to reflect.

“Integration is a vital means to an end called relevancy,” Shedd said. “We could be integrated and still irrelevant to our customers. Defense attachés provide relevancy.”

Army Brig. Gen. Robin Fontes, the class leader, will be the first female attaché assigned to India and the first general officer to serve as an attaché in India since the 1960s. 

“[India] is a very important country to [the United States] in the Pacific Region. Developing good relations with India … is key to meeting our national security objectives,” Fontes said. “Demonstrating to them how important this relationship is has meant putting a general officer there.”

During her tour, Fontes will serve as the primary military adviser to the ambassador and function as the Department of Defense’s representative to India.

“It’s always a privilege to be able to serve and certainly in an important place such as India is so I look forward to the opportunity to do that and the opportunity to experience a new culture,” she said.