CIA and Languages

Francis Hult francis.hult at
Fri Jan 29 18:17:29 UTC 2010

Via lgpolicy...

Panetta Cracks Down on CIA Foreign-Language Deficiency

           By SPENCER ACKERMAN 1/29/10 10:23 AM
Under a new policy announced today by CIA director Leon Panetta, an
intelligence officer can't be promoted to the agency's highest rank -
the Senior Intelligence Service - without a demonstrated proficiency
in a foreign language. From a CIA release:

While many senior Agency officers have tested proficient in a foreign
language over the course of their careers, some have not kept their
skills current. Under the new policy, promotions to SIS for most
analysts and operations officers will be contingent on demonstrating
foreign language competency. If an officer is promoted to SIS and does
not meet the foreign language requirement within one year, he or she
will return to their previous, lower grade. This is a powerful
incentive to maintain and improve skills critical to the Agency's
global mission. Languages play a key role in the CIA's work at all
career levels.

"The stricter requirement for SIS promotion," said Panetta, "is meant
to ensure that leadership on this vital initiative comes from the
executive level. With an unwavering commitment from SIS officers-to
both lead by example and to support language proficiency at all
levels-we will reach not only our language goals, but our ultimate
objective: an Agency that is better positioned to protect our nation
in the years ahead."

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