PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Flexibility is not a luxury at the Defense Language Institute, or DLI; it is a core belief that is the main ingredient in the formula of surviving the onslaught of language training requirements by thousands of servicemembers stationed around the world each year.

In addition to its training requirement of producing 3,500 professional linguists in 24 different languages each year, commanders around the globe are relying on DLI to keep them in the fight in a unique way.

Currently, counterinsurgency doctrine dictates that all commanders that are preparing to deploy into Afghanistan ensure that at least one soldier per platoon receives culturally-based language training. The current model for instruction that satisfies the predeployment requirement is a 16-week course with an Oral Proficiency Interview to serve as the basis for determining proficiency.

To ensure that this training can be accomplished with little disruption to Soldier's family lives and other unit requirements, Language Training Detachments were created at Fort Bragg, Fort Campbell, Fort Carson, Fort Drum and Schofield Barracks.

Recently, 1st BCT of the 4th ID returned from Afghanistan after completing a one-year deployment. Prior to deployment, a combination of Pashto and Dari were taught.

After the deployment, the troops were interviewed during a large AAR session known as umbrella week.

Since it was the first iteration of training for the unit and they were notified of their pending deployment with only nine months to train, Col. Jeff Martindale, commander of the 1st BCT, opted to have DLI tailor a shorter eight-week course for their troops.

"I feel that this training was worth it. I had less time to train than I wanted, so I sacrificed other training for this language training; and I am very glad I did," Martindale said.

In addition to the "one-per-platoon" requirement, all Soldiers who are deploying, at a minimum, must complete the Rapport program made by DLI.

Rapport is an online basic language and cultural awareness training program in Dari and Pashto. The program takes from six to eight hours to complete, and has two main focus areas. The first is a cultural orientation that covers a regional profile and discussion of religion, local traditions, urban, rural and family life. The second focus area emphasizes military survival tasks.

The mobile nature of Rapport, coupled with home station LTDs, are helping hundreds of troops get the training they need to deploy.

Page last updated Fri September 16th, 2011 at 17:43