By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 25, 2012 - Language skills and cultural understanding are critical tools for accomplishing missions in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, Secretary of the Army John McHugh said during a May 21 visit to the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center in Monterey, Calif.
The facility provides resident instruction in 23 languages and two dialects. Students include active duty and reserve component service members from all branches of the armed forces, members of foreign militaries and civilian law enforcement personnel.
McHugh toured the Persian-Farsi school and viewed demonstrations of the educational technologies used in developing and sustaining language skills.
As the Army downsizes, McHugh said, soldiers with language skills will become even more critical to the force's mission success.
"The relevancy of this program -- this entire mission -- I think has never been greater," he added. "As our number and our footprint gets smaller, I think we would expect those who remain behind to be more culturally aware, to be more adept at language."
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