Information Papers

Accelerate Army Growth

What is it?
The Army’s efforts to recruit, enlist, train, deploy and retain native speakers of foreign languages to serve as interpreters. 09L Soldiers are under the UCMJ code, they are highly proficient in foreign languages, and enhance the Army’s cultural capabilities. This program is heavily focused on CENTCOM missions, however is in the process of developing a pilot for other regional Army language requirements. 09L Soldiers are assigned to several different units, to include: Special Forces, Military Intelligence, Military Police, Infantry, and Civil Affairs, Medical, etc. They have proven to be an asset to commanders on all levels. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident to enlist. Additionally, 09L recruits must pass a Counter Intelligence screen prior to beginning training.

What has the Army done?
The Army first launched the pilot of this program, by recruiting native speakers of Arabic, Dari, and Pashtu directly into the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), in February 2003. The pilot was managed and overseen by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower & Reserve Affairs). The U.S. Army Intelligence Center (USAIC) was tasked to be the proponent in 2004. In September 2005 the pilot was complete and a report was submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) on it’s development and success. OSD recommended institutionalizing the 09L program within the Army. The Defense Language Transformation Roadmap also tasked all DoD services to examine the Army’s 09L Interpreter / Translator program and determine whether it would be compatible within their components. In February 2006, the 09L program became and official Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and the Army expanded the program to all components Active Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. Force Structure was developed and the proponent began developing a full enlisted career path. What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

Two MTO&E companies are scheduled to activate in October FY08 and October FY09 at the National Training Centers. These two companies will source 09L Interpreter / Translators to train deploying forces and support OCONUS missions with language and cultural capabilities. Additionally, the Army is developing a new pilot within this program, with plans to expand from the existing CENTCOM program to the PACOM and AFRICOM Areas of Responsibility.

Why is this important to the Army?
The 09L Interpreter / Translators have raised Army language and cultural skills. They have been significant force multipliers to commanders within the theater of operations. By being native speakers of foreign languages in uniform, they are able to hear what is being said around them. Additionally, they can analyze their environment by reading the body language, nuances, and traditional customs within their area of responsibility and build bridges between cultures and break through language barriers. In short, 09L Interpreter / Translators have saved lives in theater.