MONTEREY, Calif., - Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, told Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center students April 3 that their linguist careers are extremely important for the defense of the nation.
“My personal belief is that our linguists are a national treasure and that with the complex problems that you are going to work on a daily basis - and the people who are going to depend upon you - can literally go up to the White House,” said Fogarty, to a class of Persian Farsi linguists.
“I can’t stress to you how important all of our linguists are to our mission. I just left Afghanistan (where I was) for 16 months as a senior intelligence officer. We saw our Dari linguist, Pashto, Arabic, and Farsi linguists work in very challenging conditions every single day,” said Fogarty, explaining that their work was crucial to the intelligence gathering mission and keeping troops safe.
“This is the first step in your career so it is important to get this right,” he recommended. “This will set the foundation for everything else you do. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it is a gift you will always have.”
Urging students to take every opportunity to learn the history and culture of the language they are learning from native instructors at DLIFLC, Fogarty said, “Learn all the aspects of the culture, because you will be out there, and people will be talking and you will remember what your instructors told you. Read the news, keep up on current events, listen to the news and read up on history of the region.”
Traveling with Fogarty was Command Sgt. Maj. David Redmon, a DLIFLC graduate himself, and in charge of linguist training at INSCOM at Fort Belvoir, Va.
“As we take a look at regional focus and what regional expertise means, it really starts with understanding what others are saying. … It is going to be absolutely crucial as we (linguists) build these pockets of excellence within our service … not only to understand adversarial relationships, but the world as a whole, and provide what the nation needs us to do as an Army here in 2020.”
Reflecting upon his time spent in Afghanistan, Fogarty stressed the importance of the profession currently, and in the future. “I sincerely believe that we have a lot of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and civilians, both U.S. and of our partners, who have made it home safely because of the work our great linguists have done. Without that support that would not have happened. Linguists are essential to this current fight and are essential to the fight(s) that are shaping in the future.
Story and Photos by
Natela Cutter, Strategic Communications
1: Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, speaks with students at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Center April 4, encouraging them to learn history and culture, as well as language, while studying Persian Farsi. (U.S. Army photo by Natela Cutter)
Photo 2: Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (left), walks Defense Language Institute Foreign Center Persian Farsi school dean Dr. Shensheng Zhu (right), toward the schoolhouse where he observed linguists April 4. (U.S. Army photo by Natela Cutter)