Latest News & Events

SOUTHCOM deputy commander believes language training may preclude conflict
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Vice Admiral Joseph Kernan visited the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center campus Feb. 29 to observe DLIFLC’s language training methods.

Kernan, who is second in charge of Southern Command, responsible for 19 countries in Central and South America, spoke with students while visiting a Spanish classroom on the Presidio of Monterey.

“It’s all about personal relationships. If you can speak a language, you are going to build confidence and relationships with people. If you speak the language you are immediately going to gain some level of mutual respect and confidence in each other,” Kernan explained to the Spanish course students.

During his visit, Kernan was given a tour of the DLIFLC campus and received briefings about the use of technology to teach and maintain language capabilities once linguists have graduated and started their at SOUTHCOM.

“Having language capabilities is a strategic piece. Unfortunately, in some of the countries in our area of responsibility they don’t speak English and having knowledge of their language builds trust and confidence. There is less misunderstanding between countries and you may be able to preclude a future conflict … if you speak the language you have a tendency to be more receptive to their perspective and you also show that you respect their perspective,” said Kernan.

But Kernan stated that he understood that motivation of the students was of utmost importance in the foreign language acquisition process.

“Sitting in the classes watching the young service members learning a language with good instructors who you can tell are connecting with the students was a highlight. There was a lot of quality training going on,” said Kernan.

Story and Photo by

Brian Lamar, Strategic Communications

Photo Caption: Vice Admiral Joseph Kernan observes a Spanish class at the  Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center campus Feb. 29.
DLIFLC 1759 Lewis Rd. Bldg 614, Ste. 251 - Presidio of Monterey - Monterey, CA 93944 (831) 242-7176, (DSN-768)