French Lessons

By Kate Brannen / November 18, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Army has decided to boost its French language skills so that it is better equipped to operate in Africa and other parts of the world, according to Col. James Stockmoe, director for operations and plans in the Army's intelligence office (G-2).

Speaking at a military intelligence conference in Washington today, Stockmoe said the Army is still struggling to develop sufficient language skills and plans to continue investing in language training.

The Army has decided it would be a smarter investment to teach French, which is widely spoken in parts of Africa, than to teach lots of soldiers Swahili, he said.

Another indicator of the service's commitment to increased language training is Training and Doctrine Command's inclusion of cultural and foreign language proficiency in its recommendations for the Army's first capabilities package, a key component of its revised modernization strategy.

In the meantime, Stockmoe said it's likely the Army will have to continue contracting out language capability until the requisite skills are well developed internally.