Murphy's Law: That's Really An Order, Not A Request

Archives

January 3,2009: Last year, the Department of Defense thought it had completed a detailed survey of language skills among all its personnel. While the active duty personnel followed orders and did the survey, reservists, particularly in the army were less diligent. Less than ten percent of the reservists complied. Part of the reason was that participation in the survey was not made mandatory. Now it is, and the army expects to identify over 50,000 reservists with foreign language skills.

Those that did take the survey initially, revealed that 22,000 troops had some skill (from crude to fluent) in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi and Hindi. These languages are much in demand by the armed forces. The plan is now to encourage those who are less-than-fluent to improve their skills. Free training will be provided, with the prospect of those bonuses once greater proficiency is achieved.

The U.S. Army has found that about 13 percent of its troops have some foreign language skills. About ten percent of that group are talented, or needed, enough to receive special pay for their language abilities. This amounts to up to $12,000 a year for active duty troops, and $6,000 a year for reservists. The max rate is available to those with high skill levels in Arabic, Turkish (used in Central Asia), Farsi (Iranian), Chinese, Korean, Dari (Farsi dialect spoken in Afghanistan), Hindi (many dialects in India), Somali and Swahili (common language in East Africa). The minimum bonus is $3,600 a year. Skills are tested regularly to maintain qualification.

Linguists are crucial for successful intelligence work, in peace as well as war. In particular, you want people who have security clearances, or who can get them. Department of Defense employees fit the bill here. Otherwise, you have to hire civilian linguists, who often do not have clearances, cannot get them, or are actually liable to act as spies for foreign nations.

 


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close