Friday, April 08, 2005

This Looks Like A Good Idea: Pentagon to Stress Foreign Languages For Officers

Pentagon to Stress Foreign Languages (washingtonpost.com)

Where could you go wrong on this? If a language requirement for officers is required this would still benefit the US. Once that officer leaves the service this skill translates to many other government functions and businesses.

The moves reflect plans by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his team to better prepare U.S. forces for more operations and training missions in foreign countries and for working with international coalitions. In recent strategy statements, the Rumsfeld group has made clear that as part of the war on terrorism, it expects the U.S. military to take more action abroad to prevent ations from falling prey to terrorists or being undermined by such other threats as insurgency, drugs and organized crime.
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According to Pentagon figures, about 84,000 service members have some language proficiency. Of those, about 19,000 have had their language skill certified and receive "proficiency pay." About 1,900 service members are listed as proficient in Arabic.

No decision has been made on how many more professional linguists are needed or what percentage of the U.S. military should receive language training, Chu said. But he described last week's report as meant to signal that quiet efforts begun in 2002 to address the language issue would be giving way to bolder action.


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