I've always wanted to join the Peace Corps up until recently. For my B.S. in International Affairs I have completed a lot of training for Emergency Management and I have found that the military is a great place get experience in EM. I am interested in EM, intelligence analyzing, and diplomacy. I am fluent in French.
So the idea of joining the Air Force has crawled into my psyche and it's really hard to get it out. My end goal is to be a Foreign Service Officer, but I either want to be in the Peace Corps or in the Air Force first.
Which gains more respect in the Dept. of State? Peace Corps or AF? Which would offer the best training to be an FSO?
With Peace Corps, service is a crapshoot. At many sites, you form your own job and even if you have the best of intentions you could be chasing windmills and accomplish very little. A lot depends on the cooperation you have at your site as well as the PC staff.
The job-related training I received in Peace Corps was pretty much laughable, too. So much depends on factors that are out of your control there is only so much that can be taught formally.
You will gain experience and write your own description of service so even if you do wind up failing through no fault of your own you can still write around it.
But if training is a big factor for you, pretend it won't happen in Peace Corps because there aren't any guarantees.
You mention that you're interested in intelligence, so you should be aware that joining the Peace Corps will disqualify you from certain positions in the Intelligence Community for I think 10 years.
As others have mentioned, if you join the military, you'll get veterans preference. On top of that, military pay is higher, and you will usually be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill after 3 years on active duty, which is helpful if you decide to go to grad school (it covers in-state tuition or private school tuition up to an annual limit, as well as a fairly generous housing allowance).
That said, the Peace Corps experience sounds really awesome and will definitely get you overseas (which is no guarantee in the military).
I just completed Peace Corps in North Africa. What enabled me to retire early at 55 and join Peace Corps was my Air Force service back in the 1970s. The technical training I received in the Air Force, along with the experience made me a great candidate for employment -- I have never lacked opportunity and never have been unemployed as a result of the Air Force. Hands down, lock in your specialty area and join Air Force. It will give you more options - plus, you make money and can start your retirement savings NOW. No Brainer