Intelligence: April 11, 2005


The U.S. will now make foreign language skills a major factor in deciding which officers get promoted. There will also be financial inducements to learn new languages, and bonuses for those who already speak needed foreign languages. Bonuses will be paid to people with those languages who join the military. 

Three years ago, the U.S. Department of Defense got caught very short by a lack of officers who speak Arabic and Afghan languages. Many of the officers who did have those skills were in the army Special Forces, and these men found themselves much more effective because they spoke the languages of the locals where they were operating. The Department of Defense did what it usually does during such situations, and scoured the military for people who spoke Arabic or other languages needed to fight the war on terror. The military is now going to find out ahead of time who speaks what, and to what degree of fluency, and make that part of their military personnel records. 


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