[lg policy] US Air Force Language authority explains AF programs

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 28 15:27:24 UTC 2012

Language authority explains AF programs
1:20 PM, Apr. 26, 2012  |

Barbara Barger, the Air Force’s senior language authority, recently
visited Maxwell for a meeting of the service’s Language, Region and
Culture Executive Steering Committee. Barger answers a series of
frequently asked questions about the Air Force’s language, region and
culture efforts below. For information, see the Air Force Culture and
Language Center, or AFCLC, website at www.culture.af.mil.

What are the responsibilities of the Air Force senior language authority?
I oversee Air Force language, region and culture policy and programs,
and represent stakeholders to the Department of Defense and Air Force
corporate structure. Also, as the executive agent for the Defense
English Language Program, I oversee the execution of English language
training programs for U.S. personnel and international military
students at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Can you explain the Air Force Language Action Panel, Air Force Region
and Culture Action Panel and executive steering committee functions?

In response to the chief of staff of the Air Force’s 2009 Air Force
Culture, Region and Language Flight Plan, we established the panels to
ensure successful implementation of Air Force Language, Region and
Culture policy. These panels meet biannually, bringing together action
officers from a variety of organizations, such as U.S. Air Force
Academy, Defense Language Institute English Language Center, and Air
Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency to provide
policy guidance and recommendations.

The steering committee is a principal-level committee of stakeholders
from across the Air Force to provide strategic-level, decision-making
guidance on the Department of Defense and Air Force language, region
and culture programs.

Why are language, region and cultural skills important to the Air Force?
In a globalized world, cross-culturally competent Airmen are vital to
mission success wherever we find ourselves. Because national interests
require us to think globally, the Air Force must be ready to operate
and communicate with our international partners at all times to
effectively influence operations from the very start. This readiness
includes the deliberate development of Airmen with joint war-fighting
skills that include foreign language familiarization, regional
expertise and cultural competencies.

What are some of the recent developments concerning the Air Force's
approach to training Airmen?
The Air Force has made great strides in implementing the Language
Enabled Airman Program, or LEAP, a rapidly growing program providing
total-force Airmen with existing language capabilities the opportunity
to sustain and grow their skills for future use.

AFCLC released six new Africa-focused expeditionary cultural field
guides to be used by Airmen abroad. These guides are similar to the
Iraq and Afghanistan guides already used by deployed Airmen to better
understand the host nation and its people.
The AFCLC hosts general officers’ pre-deployment acculturation
courses, providing senior Air Force leaders with a thorough
understanding of the implications when they interact with high-level
host nation counterparts.

As the cross-functional authority, we have been working closely with
career field managers to better develop personnel with language
proficiency. In the future, a combination of LEAP and focused
development will result in higher numbers of qualified Airmen filling
language-designated positions.

Can you provide us some additional information on LEAP?
For Airmen with some existing foreign language skills, LEAP is a
career-spanning program aimed to develop and sustain their
capabilities for future language-coded assignments within their Air
Force specialty codes. LEAP is administered by the AFCLC, part of the
Air University’s Spaatz Center at Maxwell.

Key features of this program include Language Intensive Training
Events, or LITEs, and the eMentor program. LITEs are four- to six-week
language immersion programs either in the United States or overseas.
Participants also attend live, online language training with language
instructors called eMentors to further grow their skills. Learn more
about LEAP and our other programs at www.culture.af.mil/LEAP.


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