Former CIA agent says language and culture knowledge essential to national security

Former CIA agent says language and culture knowledge essential to national security

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Frank Archibald, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency National Clandestine Service from May 2013 to January 2015, spoke to faculty and staff at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Aug. 18. Archibald spoke about how language and culture has helped him throughout his national security career and offered encouragement to the teachers in getting their students to achieve higher proficiency levels. “Individuals in relationship to the state are more powerful today than they ever were before and that is because of technology,” Archibald said, and he held out his cellphone. He talked about how people are more connected today than ever before. “Technology can be a power for good or a power for evil.” Throughout his career Archibald’s work focused on international relations between states such as that between the Soviet Union and the U.S in the Cold War, but today individuals are becoming more powerful through the connectivity of technology. Therefore, he stressed, the importance of understanding relationships down to the individual, and with that comes the thorough understanding of language and culture. “When I was in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo), once a month I would go places in the east where they haven’t had anybody from the Embassy in decades.” said Archibald, and then, following one particular trip, “one of the linguists said to me ‘Frank, you’re always so much better in French the day you come back from your trips to the east.’” These trips are how Archibald dealt with language and culture understanding in his career. Previous to his address...
Alumnus works to preserve unit’s history

Alumnus works to preserve unit’s history

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Andrew Rodriguez, a December 1990 graduate of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, found his calling restoring a signal intelligence aircraft to memorialize the unit he served in as a Spanish linguist. Rodriguez entered the U.S. Army Reserves in 1984 and was assigned to the 138th Aviation Company, tasked with airborne signal intelligence missions. In 1990 he attended DLIFLC. “When I was at DLI, I think there were a lot of questions why Spc. Rodriguez was taking Spanish,” he jokes, referring to his Spanish last name. “But it was clear I didn’t speak a word. I think the professors were harder on me as a result, which of course made me better.” After language training, Rodriguez returned to the 138th Aviation Company. Because he was at DLIFLC at the time, he did not deploy to the Persian Gulf with the unit during the 1990-1991 conflict. Instead, he used his linguistic skills on counter narcotic and other missions until he left the Army in 1997. “I’m most proud of the fact I got to work and say goodbye to the Soviet Brigade in Cuba,” said Rodriguez of his time in service, recalling the ex-Soviet military unit that left Cuba in 1993. Now, Rodriguez is the president of the 138th Aviation Company Memorial, a non-profit organization formed by the unit’s veterans from Vietnam to Desert Storm, which looks to memorialize the signal intelligence unit’s 33-year mission. The 138th was activated in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 1966 and inactivated on April 10, 1999 in Florida. “We are restoring one of the...
75th Anniversary Special: The Savage and Snelling years

75th Anniversary Special: The Savage and Snelling years

From the Military Intelligence Service Language School Album 1946 Edited by Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   Summary: This article consists of excerpts from the MISLS Album 1946, which covers the period from 1942 to 1946 when the language school relocated to Camp Savage, Minnesota, in 1942 and later Fort Snelling, Minnesota, in 1944. Highlights include the introduction of a collegiate system, expansion of the curriculum to include Chinese and Korean in 1945, and even more training of linguists in Japanese for the period of American occupation of Japan after World War II. In June of 1946 the school moved from Fort Snelling to Monterey, California, and was renamed the U.S. Army Language School. Battle experience proved that intelligence corps men were essential, and the War Department fully acknowledged the importance and the need of a Military Intelligence School. It was then that the War Department decided to place the intelligence school under its direct jurisdiction. The first official MISLS class began in June 1942 with 200 men. The initial Savage class represented little change from the curriculum at the Presidio of San Francisco School. It was not until the second class got under way in December 1942 that the school began to take on its special characteristics as a center of instruction in military Japanese. It has been found that to expect students to obtain a grasp of both military and general-usage language was to demand too much of them, and with the second Savage class, the stress was laid on the military side. The third class opened in the summer of 1943, after the entire school system...
Taekwondo demonstration team performs at Presidio

Taekwondo demonstration team performs at Presidio

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Kukkiwon Taekwondo Demonstration Team performed the traditional Korean martial art for students at the Presidio of Monterey, California, Price Fitness Center Aug. 3. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Asian School II hosted the event. Following the demonstration, the team answered questions in Korean for the benefit of the students. Kukkiwon, known as the World Taekwondo Headquarters, is the center of taekwondo culture in Korea with teams touring about 120 countries as ambassadors of the traditional martial art for the past 40 years. SEE MORE...
Former Arabic student speaks at UN

Former Arabic student speaks at UN

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Spc. David Chestnut, an Arabic language graduate from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City July 26-29 as a winner of the “Many Languages, One World” essay contest. “When I submitted the essay I didn’t think that I was of that high of a caliber, but I wanted to see where I stand,” said Chestnut. “It was very overwhelming and exciting when I got the email saying I won.” The contest challenges students to write about how multilingualism fosters global citizenship and cultural understanding. It must be written in a language other than their first language and be an official language of the U.N. – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish. “I didn’t know too much about the globalism aspect of it so I had to really break it down and think about how culture and language would tie everything together, then try to figure out how to do it in Arabic,” said Chestnut. Chestnut wrote in his essay that there are countless phrases in numerous languages specific to the culture and without knowledge and cultural insight, learning a language would be like piecing together an incomplete puzzle. Following his graduation from DLIFLC, Chestnut was excited to speak at the U.N. because it was an opportunity to critically think in his new language. “Instead of having time to revise, I’ll get to see how well I can think of things on the spot and improvise with the language. Not everything will be scripted. That will really show...
New DASD for training and education visits DLIFLC

New DASD for training and education visits DLIFLC

By Natela Cutter DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Ms. Diana Banks, assigned as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for force training and education, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), in Washington, D.C., visited the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center July 25. Banks, new to the job since July 6, wanted to get to learn more about the institute’s mission as it constitutes a part of her portfolio. During her several hour visit to the Presidio, Banks observed a Korean and Arabic Iraqi dialect language class. “The classroom was amazing,” said Banks referring to the Korean language students. “The level of instruction is top notch and students are motivated. They clearly see the connection between what they are doing and the national security mission at large, which is great.” Banks explained that her office, a relatively new part of the USD P&R, is charged with making sure that there is a ready force and that the services are putting a joint effort into education and training in order to defend the nation in the future. “The Force Education and Training directorate was specifically put together with some of the readiness pieces that affect individual service members directly, such as education training, final readiness, etc. Putting those all together under one directorate (was the goal) so we could get some synergies out of policy coordination,” Banks said. Banks recognizes the necessity for learning foreign language and culture within the ranks of the military and the Department of Defense, stating that it reflects the very diversity of our nation’s composition. “The need for people to...
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