GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany - A team of U.S. Defense Department language and education officials saw firsthand the mission and contributions to the U.S. national defense strategy of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies' programs and events during a visit here Sept. 27 and 28.

"We were looking at how the Marshall Center's mission contributes to our defense readiness, with a particular emphasis on the Eurasian Foreign Area Officer Program and the Partner Language Training Center Europe," said Fred Drummond, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Force Education and Training in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness in Washington, D.C.

Drummond oversees the development of policies and plans for military training and education. His responsibilities include service and joint training policy, cyber training policy, joint professional military education, training capability modernization, and enabling access to the land, air, and sea live training domains.

The Marshall Center is a 25-year German-American international security and defense studies institute with a mission of enabling solutions to regional and transnational security challenges through capacity building, access and a globally connected network. The Marshall Center addresses regional and transnational security issues for the U.S. Department of Defense and the German Foreign Ministry of Defense.

"The Marshall Center is such an important part of our (U.S.) partnerships throughout the world, and it is also important in the training and education of our U.S. and joint coalition aspect as it helps to prepare our military and partner forces," Drummond said. "From my standpoint as the DASD for Force Education and Training, the Marshall Center is very, very important to our (U.S.) national defense strategy.

"This visit to see firsthand the opportunities and challenges, and to fully understand the Marshall Center's mission and contribution to our defense readiness has been invaluable for us to do our job properly in Washington, D.C.," he said.

Both the Eurasian FAO Program and PLTCE are a part of the Marshall Center's mission and vision.

As a NATO Partner Training and Education Center, PLTCE provides language training and outreach. It offers advanced and specialized classroom instruction in Arabic, English, French, Persian-Farsi and Russian to more than 400 U.S. military, and NATO and Partner attendees each year. Included in this are faculty professional development courses in language testing and classroom instruction and assessment.

The Marshall Center's FAO Program prepares U.S. military officers to be leading regional experts and to serve in key political-military assignments throughout Eurasia.

Drummond spearheaded this visit, which was his first to the Marshall Center. The team also included Lee Johnson, the Navy senior language authority, Dr. Michael Nugent, director of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office in Washington, D.C., and Gary Bauleke, director of Capabilities and FAO Policy at the Defense Language and National Security Education Office.

While they were here, they visited with the Marshall Center Director retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton and received a command brief on the Marshall Center's mission and vision on confronting regional challenges, strengthening transatlantic relationships and addressing transnational threats.

The team then participated in a discussion with the Marshall Center's U.S. Deputy Director U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Dieter Bareihs on the Eurasian FAO Program at the Marshall Center.

From there, they met with Peggy Garza, chair of the English Language Programs Department of the Marshall Center's PLTCE, and U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Rachel Wolfganger, Marshall Center PLTCE's first sergeant.

"We always enjoy telling the Marshall Center story and showcasing the programs and people of this unique, bi-lateral institution," Bareihs said.