Panetta: Language Training Critical to U.S. Interests, Security

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. — Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta today returned to the Defense Lan­guage Insti­tute For­eign Lan­guage Cen­ter he cham­pi­oned as a con­gress­man to praise the next gen­er­a­tion of mil­i­tary lin­guists he called crit­i­cal to the Unit­ed States’ future.

Panet­ta told an assem­bly of about 2,500 sol­diers, sailors, air­men and Marines stand­ing in for­ma­tion on Sol­dier Field over­look­ing Mon­terey Bay that the lan­guage and cul­tur­al train­ing they are receiv­ing here is crit­i­cal to the nation’s eco­nom­ic, diplo­mat­ic and secu­ri­ty inter­ests. “It is absolute­ly vital to what the Unit­ed States is all about,” he said.

“We live in a glob­al world,” the sec­re­tary said. “We have to under­stand that world if we … are going to be able to not only defend this coun­try, but to extend our rela­tion­ships to oth­ers so that we can work togeth­er to defend the world that we live in.”

“The real­i­ty is that we have to reflect the nation we live in and we have to reflect the world we are a part of,” he con­tin­ued. “Lan­guages are the key to under­stand­ing that world.”

It’s also crit­i­cal, he said, to the effec­tive­ness of cur­rent U.S. mil­i­tary oper­a­tions.

“If we are going to advance sta­bil­i­ty in some of the coun­tries we are fight­ing in today, we have to be able to under­stand what moti­vates those coun­tries, what moti­vates their peo­ple, and to under­stand their cul­ture, beliefs, faiths, ide­olo­gies, hatreds and loves. “So it is cru­cial to our nation­al secu­ri­ty to be able to have a strong lan­guage abil­i­ty,” he said.

Through­out his career – while in Con­gress, as direc­tor of the CIA and now as defense sec­re­tary — Panet­ta has been a staunch advo­cate of for­eign lan­guage train­ing.

While in Con­gress, he served on a com­mis­sion then-Pres­i­dent Jim­my Carter appoint­ed to deter­mine the state of that train­ing in the Unit­ed States. The com­mis­sion iden­ti­fied what Panet­ta called “a nation­al scan­dal,” not­ing that for­eign lan­guage train­ing at the time “was not sup­port­ed, stu­dents weren’t learn­ing the kinds of lan­guages they should be learn­ing, and much more need­ed to be done.”

Rep­re­sent­ing the dis­trict that includes the Defense Lan­guage Insti­tute For­eign Lan­guage Cen­ter while in Con­gress, Panet­ta played a big role in ensur­ing the school got the sup­port and resources it need­ed to pro­mote its train­ing pro­grams.

Despite advances in pro­mot­ing lan­guage and cul­tur­al train­ing through­out the Unit­ed States, Panet­ta acknowl­edged today, “frankly, more needs to be done.”

The sec­re­tary offered high praise to the cen­ter for help­ing set the stan­dard for for­eign lan­guage train­ing, and the fac­ul­ty he called the heart of that train­ing. “This is a remark­able insti­tu­tion,” he told the stu­dents. “I con­sid­er the Defense Lan­guage Insti­tute as a trea­sure in the abil­i­ty to be able to train you, to give you that lan­guage abil­i­ty so you can bet­ter defend this coun­try in what you do.”

Panet­ta offered spe­cial thanks to the stu­dents who will take the train­ing they receive here to sup­port U.S. mis­sions around the world. “Thank you for your ser­vice. Thank you for giv­ing back to this coun­try,” he told them. “Thank you for car­ing enough about this great coun­try of ours to be will­ing to put your lives on the line in order to defend this coun­try and what we rep­re­sent to our­selves and to the world.”

Democ­ra­cy in the Unit­ed States has always depend­ed on the will­ing­ness of its cit­i­zens to “roll up their sleeves and serve this coun­try,” Panet­ta said. “Thank you for being will­ing to do that.”

The son of Ital­ian immi­grants who left behind every­thing to begin a new life in the Unit­ed States, Panet­ta said his father told him his moti­va­tion was to give his chil­dren a bet­ter life. It remains the Amer­i­can dream, he said, moti­vat­ing and inspir­ing Amer­i­cans to do what’s nec­es­sary to ensure their chil­dren have a safer and bet­ter life.

“It’s your dream, it’s your mis­sion, it’s your duty, ” he told the ser­vice mem­bers, “to make sure those we care about, those that we love, are able to enjoy a more secure Amer­i­ca and are able to enjoy the free­doms and lib­er­ties that we pro­vide.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →