Dr. Clifford Stanley, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, responsible for overseeing the overall state of military readiness, said he believed the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center should become a Center of Excellence, the first place that should be tapped for language and culture training.
“If I could click my heals and wish I were in Kansas, I would really like to see DLI become the Center of Excellence. This should be the place you come to …and where the excellence is,” said Stanley, having toured several teaching facilities.
Stanley had the opportunity to visit a Dari basic course class, speak with students and ask questions about the course. Servicemembers at the Multi Language School demonstrated some of the latest language learning programs and technology such as tablet PCs, iPods and interactive whiteboards.
“I’m excited about what you are doing, taking advantage of emerging technologies," said Stanley, stressing that language training is not just important for the professional linguist, but for all Americans, beginning at a very early age.
“I have some very strong feelings about language and where we are as a nation, not just in the Department of Defense. I strongly believe that we should have a nation that we can draw from of people who are language-capable,” said Stanley, who is the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense on the 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel in the United States.
Stanley mentioned that most allies are ahead of the U.S. in language training. “And why do they have to learn English?” he questioned rhetorically. “Language is important,” he stressed, “Particularly if we are talking about working with our allies and other nations.”
Photo Caption: Dr. Clifford Stanley, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness speaks to an Airman in the classroom who is demonstrating the use of a tablet PC with a stylus pen which allows students to write in non-Latin scripts. Photo by Natela Cutter