The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that is has begun recruiting for the National Language Service Corps (NLSC) Pilot, a public civilian organization composed of volunteers engaged on-call to provide diverse language services across a broad range of local, state and federal government departments and agencies. The opportunities for service will vary from emergency relief to international crises to immediate national need—wherever language skills are needed.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Americans with unique language skills to serve their country, when and where they are needed the most,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S.C. Chu.
During the pilot, a team of nationally recognized experts is developing, testing, and evaluating the prototype concept of operations, potentially leading to a plan for a fully operational NLSC in fiscal 2010. The pilot includes recruiting and enrolling 1,000 charter members with competency in ten languages important to national security and welfare of the nation. The following languages have been identified so far: Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Somali, Swahili and Vietnamese. The operational concept for employing these languages is being examined and refined during three activation exercises. The director, National Security Education Program (NSEP) is coordinating the participation of federal agencies as partners for the three activation exercises. The final two languages will be identified when the exercise plans have been completed.
The National Language Service Corps Pilot, authorized by Congress in 2006, represents a vital new approach to address the nation’s needs for individuals with highly developed language skills. It is an integral component of the Defense Department’s comprehensive language roadmap and the President’s National Security Language Initiative.
The pilot corps will include two pools of certified language capable individuals. The “national pool” will consist of a broader array of talent that will be maintained to be drawn upon during times of need. The “dedicated pool” will be a smaller cadre of individuals who enter relationships with sponsoring organizations and who agree to be available to those organizations should the need arise.