By Staff Sgt. Cashmere Jefferson, 704th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs OfficeSeptember 21, 2018
FORT MEADE, Md. -- The 704th Military Intelligence Brigade outperformed units across the Army to win the prestigious Command Language Program of the Year award, this year.
U.S. Army policy states that units that are assigned linguists must maintain a command language program and provided several hours per week for linguists to train to maintain their language. More than 150 command language program managers attend the course each year to glean knowledge about the trends in foreign language acquisition and new products offered to military service members to better maintain and improve their foreign language skills.
"What made our language program successful was sticking to the principles and going back to the basics and everyone thinks you always have to reinvent the wheel to be successful or do things differently to make it "shiny" and you don't. When I took on this job I basically said, the wheel is already invented, this is what the regulation says, this is what our SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] says, so let's stick to it," said Sgt. 1st Class Duckchun Moon, Brigade Command Language Program Manager.
By regulation, military organizations with military language professionals assigned are required to appoint a Command Language Program Manager (CLPM) who is tasked with assisting military linguist personnel in maintaining their language capabilities. The CLPM is responsible for reporting the status of language training and readiness to the commander, and is also frequently faced with trying to convince commanders to give more time for enhancement training so that assigned linguists can reach higher levels of proficiency
"Soldiers are offered several training resources locally to become proficient in their language skills, such as the National Cryptologic School, and the classrooms we have developed within the brigade and must meet certain language proficiency requirements like, annually recertifying on the Defense Language Proficiency Test in addition to moving on to the training facilities we have abroad," said Moon.
The 704th Military Intelligence Brigade was the winner of the DoD's best Command Language Program of the Year for 2015, and Moon said he inherited an "amazing" program already. "It was possible because the soldiers put their efforts into it, because if those linguists didn't take their language seriously then we would not have been fortunate to win."
Moon, who has been assigned as a CLPM before said the program's success is all about command emphasis.
"The 704th has been the only unit I've ever been in that's put the most emphasis on the language training and they really do care, said Moon. "When the emphasis is there, Soldiers put more effort to excel."
Moon also credits his Air Force counterparts, from the 94th Intelligence Squadron, who stood right by their side providing language instructors and other resources to help train Soldiers.
"We have a great program here, our command puts great emphasize on language, we are surrounded by language people and this is the perfect place for Soldiers to progress and to grow in their languages. I don't see why we can't win at the DOD level next year," he said.