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Eikenberry views latest training methods at DLIFLC

Karl Eikenberry, retired Lt. Gen. and former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, took a day to learn about advances in the realm of language learning at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Oct.18.

“You’ve got momentum here using great applications of technology and working well with troops in the field to get real-time feedback of how your languages programs are working,” said Eikenberry, while speaking about the capabilities of  the Institute.

During his visit, Eikenberry received updates of how technology is implemented in daily instruction and how DLIFLC is using distance-learning platforms to bring language learning to hard to reach areas.

Eikenberry also visited students in a Dari classroom and spoke with them about the importance of their mission.

“I have extraordinary respect for the need for members of our Armed Forces and for our diplomats serving abroad, especially in a place like Afghanistan, to have cultural skills and language skills. I was very excited about my visit to DLI today because DLI is the main provider for training for our Armed Forces and it was an opportunity to see all the good work that is going on here,” said Eikenberry. “It was an important visit for me.” Eikenberry received mission briefs about how the AFPAK Hands and AFPAK General Purpose Force programs were working.

“As the U.S. Ambassador on the civilian side, we were benefitting in the Embassy from the success from the AFPAK Hands program that gave us a lot of expertise deployed around the country of Afghanistan who are not necessarily working in traditional military jobs,” said Eikenberry.

During his visit, Eikenberry reported on the increased support that was being seen by language enabled Soldiers in the AFPAK general purpose force program.

“Wherever we could see improvements in our own language skills and in our understanding of Afghan culture, we would clearly see improvements in outcomes in areas where Soldiers were working,” Eikenberry explained.

Eikenberry also praised DLIFLC for being an adaptable institution.

“Thinking in terms of not being able to predict the future perfectly, not knowing the requirements in 2020 or 2030 for the number of linguists to where they might not be deployed, the Defense Language Institute has set up a pretty good system here to have an inherent flexibility built in,” said Eikenberry.

As a military that is trying to posture itself for future conflicts, Eikenberry praised senior leadership for taking language training seriously.

“The U.S. is a global and expeditionary power and we have to be prepared to serve around the world in many diverse cultural and linguistic settings. The renewed emphasis the United States government has placed upon language training is very important,” Eikenberry explained.

“I could see that we had really made great progress as a government and as an armed force to develop requisite language and cultural skills for a theater like Afghanistan,” said Eikenberry.

During his visit, Eikenberry had the opportunity to speak with Foreign Area Officers attending both DLIFLC and the Naval Postgraduate School, and discuss lessons learned in Afghanistan, U.S. foreign policy in Central Asia, and the importance of the language mission.

Story and Photo by

Brian Lamar, Strategic Communications
DLIFLC 1759 Lewis Rd. Bldg 614, Ste. 251 - Presidio of Monterey - Monterey, CA 93944 (831) 242-7176, (DSN-768)