News: INSCOM general tells linguists to study hard
Story by Natela Cutter
MONTEREY, Calif., - The commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, told Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center students Nov. 6 that they need to “study hard” because he will “hang onto (their) every word” once they graduate and are sent to their duty stations.
“Trust me, when you are sitting next to me in a meeting with a senior government official and I am trying to explain and convey a message that has a lot of nuances, it is going to be really important to get it right,” Fogarty told a classroom of Air Force and Navy service members studying the Iraqi Arabic dialect.
Fogarty, whose organization is an end user of DLIFLC linguists and conducts intelligence and security and information operations for military commanders and national decision makers, visited the Institute to discuss how to improve student proficiency output, a process that depends on the synchronized efforts of multiple military agencies.
“This is an enterprise effort and what has to happen for an enterprise to function effectively is for all the stakeholders to do their job,” said Fogarty, referring to the foreign language training cycle that includes the recruiting of the best students, providing excellent foreign language instruction, holding the students to standard, matching their skills to tasks, and ultimately leading to the improvement of retention.
“What I have seen on a daily basis is the lives that are saved (and) the decisions that are enabled by the product that comes out of DLI. So I am a big advocate of the faculty and the program and I really wanted to come out to thank the team here and find out how we can get even better,” he said.
Many DLIFLC students come back to the Institute to learn up to three and four foreign languages throughout their career. Following graduation from DLIFLC, linguists continue their language studies at their next duty station and specialize in vocabulary of their area of expertise.
“We find (that if) you give me a proficient linguist, I will get him on the mission, and generally what we see is that they get very excited by the mission… They are able to use the skill set that they worked so hard to obtain. And what we are able to do is reap that benefit, not only from the task at hand but by retaining them for the future. And then, every time they reenlist they are working the target longer and (proficiency) continues to increase,” said Fogarty.
Because of their multiple skill sets and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, over the years the Army and other services have been challenged to place linguists in appropriate job slots that require the use of their foreign language skills. Meanwhile, to maintain their foreign language proficiency pay, linguists must take an annual exam each year.
“I have a responsibility to make sure that they are working the mission that they were trained for. And so we have to get away from the day where our linguists are doing something other than language,” stated Fogarty. “DLI has a commitment from me - If you give me that proficient graduate, then I will get them work in the language.”