WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug.14, 2008) -- The Army is now offering a monetary incentive for new Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets to study critical languages such as Arabic.

The language incentive is part of the Officer Accession Pilot Program authorized by Congress to help the Army recruit commissioned officers. The program additionally includes a $5,000 bonus for college students who complete the Army ROTC Leader's Training Course and agree to become Army officers, and authorizes the Army to offer two-year Army-service contracts to experienced doctors and other medical professionals, and chaplains, between ages 43 and 60.

Under the language incentive, new ROTC cadets who sign a contract to enter the Army and choose to study Arabic, Pashto, Chinese-Mandarin, Korean, Persian-Farsi, Persian-Dari, Urdu, Indonesian, Swahili, or Hausa are eligible for the incentive pay. Under this incentive pay, cadets will be paid for the months enrolled in a critical language course upon successful completion in the following amounts: $100 a month for first-year level courses, $150 a month for second-year level courses, $200 a month for third-year level courses, and $250 a month for fourth-year level courses (maximum $3,000 over an academic year).

About 25 percent of colleges and universities with an ROTC program offer courses in languages that are critical to Army operations today, said Army officials, who anticipate some 200 ROTC cadets will sign contracts with the Army due to the language incentive.

Besides standard classroom-based college language courses, the bonus program covers participation in language-immersion programs and study-abroad programs.

"For more than six years the Army has been engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan and in defending the homeland," said Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, deputy chief of staff for personnel, G-1. "What has become clear is a need to expand Soldiers' abilities to speak critical languages to help us fight global terrorism. This pilot program will [help] the Army achieve that goal and meet our officer recruiting goals."

ROTC cadets and other interested students can contact their colleges' or universities' military-sciences professors for more information on the program. (Heike Hasenauer)