Danish military looks to train more linguists at DLIFLC

Danish military looks to train more linguists at DLIFLC

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Members of the Royal Danish Defence College Institute for Languages and Culture in Copenhagen, Denmark, visited the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Jan. 25-27. The U.S. and Denmark, both NATO countries, support each other in the field of language training and education through NATO’s Bureau for International Language Coordination. “As part of that partnership, DLIFLC helps them with teaching materials and other learning resources that they can use in their classrooms,” said Detlev Kesten, associate provost for academic support at DLIFLC. Kesten said that the Danes plan to send about half a dozen students to attend the DLIFLC Dari Basic course this summer. This will be the first time students from Denmark have attended DLIFLC since 2013. Though the Danish military has modeled some of DLIFLC’s best practices in teaching, nothing can replace the highly skilled native-born instructors who teach at the institute in Monterey. From 2007 to 2013 nearly 40 Danish students graduated from the 47-week Dari and Pashto courses. During the visit, the Danish delegation learned about DLIFLC’s teaching methods, use of technology in the classroom and testing methods, as they visited the institute’s Continuing Education Directorate Jan. 26. They observed an Arabic and Pashto class Jan. 27. The Danish military’s language school conducts a two-year military linguist program in Arabic, Russian and Persian, and is also responsible for English and French language instruction for Danish cadets and officers. DIFLC provides resident instruction in 23 languages with the capacity to instruct another 65 in Washington, D.C., graduating more than 200,000 linguists since...
Admiral, DLIFLC graduate speaks to FAOs

Admiral, DLIFLC graduate speaks to FAOs

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course Jan. 25-29 at the Weckerling Center on the Presidio of Monterey. FAOs, who come from the four branches of the U.S. military, are regionally focused and are considered experts on political-military issues. Once their FAO training is completed, they are expected to serve as defense attachés, security cooperation officers and political-military planners worldwide. Rear Adm. Todd Squire, director for international engagement, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., spoke briefly about the FAO role in security cooperation Jan. 26. Squire defines security cooperation as DOD interaction with foreign defense establishments to build relationships that promote specific U.S. interests. “It sounds daunting, but at the end of the day, it’s really not that hard,” said Squire. Squire said that a good beginning is to understand the U.S. codes and recommend that FAOs learn these among other policies. Security assistance under Title 22 is a Department of State responsibility and security cooperation under Title 10 is a Department of Defense responsibility. Between State and DOD, Squire echoed what many speakers at this and previous Joint Foreign Area Officer courses said – FAOs have many bosses and to get used to that, but to remember that the ambassador is the President’s direct representative in a foreign country and the closest at hand. However, not everything is just work. Squire also wants FAOs to enjoy the experience of being a FAO as he enjoyed all of his assignments abroad. He is a two-time...
Former ambassador teaches FAOs ‘Embassy 101’

Former ambassador teaches FAOs ‘Embassy 101’

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course Jan. 25-29 at the Weckerling Center on the Presidio of Monterey, California. FAOs, who come from the four branches of the U.S. military, are regionally focused and are considered experts on political-military issues. Once their FAO training is completed, they are expected to serve as defense attachés, security cooperation officers and political-military planners worldwide. Former ambassador to Fiji David Lyon spoke about embassy settings Jan. 26, where FAOs will work with Foreign Service Officers together on a day-to-day basis to promote diplomacy and solve problems before they become disputes. “In the field the most important relationship is between the ambassadors and the geographic combatant commanders,” said Lyon. Ambassadors are appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate and are the personal representatives of the President in a foreign state. All U.S. personnel in a country are under the direction of the ambassador except in a situation where a geographic combatant commander has jurisdiction over Defense personnel, such as U.S. Pacific or European Command. The second most important person in an embassy is the deputy chief of mission and is the key adviser to the ambassador. “FAOs live in both worlds (Department of State and Defense). You have to satisfy your immediate boss in the embassy and your home agency,” said Lyon. Breaking down the staff structure of an embassy, Lyon informed the FAOs of who they will be working with when they arrive at their duty stations. U.S. embassies and consulates are made up of...
Retired general opens joint FAO course

Retired general opens joint FAO course

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center hosted the Joint Foreign Area Officer Course Jan. 25-29 at the Weckerling Center on the Presidio of Monterey, California. FAOs, who come from the four branches of the U.S. military, are regionally focused and are considered experts on political-military issues. Once their FAO training is completed, they are expected to serve as defense attachés, security cooperation officers and political-military planners worldwide. Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randy Kee, a former political-military planner opened the conference Jan. 26 with his presentation titled “Reflections… the arena of Political – Military.” “As you serve, you are the dash between the political and the military,” said Kee. Kee drew upon experiences from his multiple assignments around the world. He spoke about a myriad of strategic challenges facing the U.S. in 2016, citing the Middle East and ISIL as an example. He also spoke about access to resources around the world and that competition for resources creates conflict. “Being good at political-military may ultimately save us in our resources. We talk a lot about building partner capacity. When we do, we can underinvest in that area and focus elsewhere,” said Kee. “Nations we have invested in are much more resilient when bad things happen.” In his final assignment, Kee served as U.S. European Command director of strategy, planning and coordination before his retirement in December 2015. “Nations will choose to make contrary policies to us simply because they have grievances with us. As a FAO, you can help change that narrative,” said Kee, as he spoke...
Russian language students experience lecture by renowned Russian author

Russian language students experience lecture by renowned Russian author

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Students of advanced Russian had a rare opportunity to experience a lecture Jan. 22 given by world renowned Russian author Vladimir Sorokin who presented his most recent work, the Blizzard, at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s Continuing Education Directorate in Seaside, California. “It was just an amazing experience to have the opportunity to listen to such beautiful language,” said Irene Krasner, a professor of Russian language at DLIFLC, referring to the author’s most recent novel. “Sorokin is one of Russia’s most celebrated writers and we are thrilled to have had the chance to hear him speak.” For the students, who are part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Interpreting Course, this was an opportunity to practice interpretation for non-Russian speaking participants. To make the task even more difficult, interpreters had to translate metaphors into plain speech, a feat in and of itself, as Russian literature is well known for its intricate literary expressions. Considered by many to be Russia’s leading postmodern author and dramatist, Sorokin described his book as full of metaphysical concepts related to time and space and in the midst of his presentation jumped up to draw a snowmobile to illustrate his points. “A snowmobile is a transportation device, but in Russia in the winter it can also be used for time travel,” said Sorokin in Russian. Sorokin said the idea for the book came to him as a result of a childhood experience when visiting his grandfather. One day, they traveled out of the village and into the forest when they became stuck in...
DTRA deputy observes interpreter training

DTRA deputy observes interpreter training

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John P. Horner, deputy director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, visited the DTRA Interpreting Course located with the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s Continuing Education Directorate at the DOD Center Monterey Bay in Seaside, California, Jan. 8. The course trains Russian linguists to be interpreters. Past graduates of the course have interpreted for the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of State, among others. “Please take your training here very seriously and do the best you can,” said Horner to a class of 19 student interpreters, representing all four branches of service. “You can expect to be put to work when you arrive at DTRA, but we will do our best to continue to develop you linguistically too.” Though DTRA’s focus is on threats of a global scale, Horner observed a localized interpreting demonstration. The Presidio of Monterey police department conducted a mock arrest of a DTRA student. The arrestee spoke only Russian during the excursion, while a student interpreted for the police officer. Their instructor evaluated them throughout the whole process. “Thank you for letting me observe this. I am proud of what you’re doing and the missions that you’re going into,” said Horner. Linguists with high speaking and listening skills are selected to serve DTRA and are often regarded as the best interpreters in the DOD. Some will interpret on matters related to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the U.S. and Russia, better known as the New START Treaty. “As interpreters,...
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