Information for

Eurasia Foreign Area Officers (FAOs)



M.A. Degree Program

Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS)



The M.A. Degree Program for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS), administered by CREECA, provides interdisciplinary area studies training for emerging professionals and future leaders in business, development, government, journalism, law, publishing and the military. Since its inception in 2001, the M.A. Degree Program in REECAS has trained a number of Eurasian Foreign Area Officers (FAOs), who are now serving in leadership roles in the US military, as defense attaches in US embassies in Eurasia, and at other agencies within the Department of Defense.

Why Wisconsin for FAOs?


In addition to our excellent faculty, wide range of area studies courses, proven record in language training, and extensive networking opportunities, UW-Madison has a lot to offer Eurasia FAOs:


Here is a little bit about our current FAOs.


Captain Courtney Olson is currently working on her M.A. in REECAS from UW-Madison, learning Kazakh in addition to Russian. She has traveled extensively and participated in FAO internships in the US Embassy in Russia and Bulgaria. She has served as a Sustainment Brigade Company Commander, a Battalion Logistics Officer, and a Signal Company Executive Officer, among other combat assignments. Her interests include Eastern Europe and the Balkans, traveling and volunteering with myTeamTriumph. CPT Olson also holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (2005).


Major Mike Panaro began the M.A. program in REECAS in fall 2014. His interests include military transformation and modernization efforts, particularly in Russia and Ukraine. He was most recently assigned as the Country Desk Officer for the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan at the Headquarters of U.S. Army Central. He has traveled extensively and participated in FAO internships in the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Mike served as a Cavalry Troop Commander and a Tank Company Commander in Iraq, and has held numerous other military assignments in the United States, Germany, and Kosovo. MAJ Panaro holds a B.S. in International Politics from the United States Military Academy (2000).


Our REECAS alumni, including many FAO alums, are leaders in their fields.


Major Dan Singleton graduated from the REECAS M.A. program in 2014. At present he is a political-military officer at the United States European Command in Germany.  He works as a desk officer in the Black Sea region. MAJ Singleton has traveled extensively and participated in FAO internships in the Latvian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. embassy in Azerbaijan. He has served as Sunni Reconciliation Section Chief and Scout Platoon Leader, among other combat assignments. His interests include Central Asia, cyber warfare, and just war theory. In addition to his M.A. in REECAS from UW-Madison, which he earned in August 2014, MAJ Singleton also holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2003).


Dr. Daniel L Burghart, is a professor of National Security and Eurasian Studies at the National Defense Intelligence University in Washington, DC. A specialist in Russian, CIS and Central European Affairs, Burghart has a B.A. in Political Science from Illinois, an M.A. in Political Science and Graduate Certificate in Russian Area Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in Russian and International Studies from the University of Surrey. Over his 30 years of service in the Army, he served in a variety of Foreign Area Officer assignments before retiring as a Colonel in June 2003. 


Colonel Tracy Roou is a Eurasia FAO who received her M.A. in REECAS from UW-Madison in 2002. She is currently Senior Defense Official and Defense Attach√© at the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan. COL Roou welcomes inquiries from prospective FAOs about the M.A. degree program in REECAS at UW-Madison. 


Lieutenant Colonel Steven Johnson is currently Executive Officer to the Director for International Affairs, Missile Defense Agency in Ft. Belvoir, VA. A career Army officer with extensive international experience focused on Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, LTC Johnson has served as Eurasian Regional Manager for the Missile Defense Agency, as Operations Officer to the Arms Control Inspection Unit, Defense Threat Reduction Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and as Chief of the Government of Iraq Operations Lane as part of United States Forces in Iraq. LTC Johnson received his M.A. in REECAS from UW-Madison in 2004.


For More Information

Contact Jennifer Tishler, Graduate Program Advisor and CREECA Associate Director:


Jennifer Tishler
Center for Russia, East Europe,and Central Asia
210 Ingraham Hall
(608) 262-3379

Return to MA Page