Section 529(e) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2010 authorized the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish language training centers at accredited universities, senior military colleges, or other similar institutions of higher education. These centers would accelerate the development of foundational or higher-level expertise in critical and strategic languages and regional area studies for DoD personnel by leveraging U.S. institutions of higher education to meet the existing and demonstrated training needs of DoD organizations and units.
At the same time, Senate Report 111-35, page 131, accompanying S.1390, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 requested DoD to provide plans for leveraging language and culture programs in institutions of higher education to complement DoD organic training programs. In the 2010 NDAA, Congress urged DoD to consider existing language and cultural curriculum at universities and colleges throughout the nation as an opportunity to augment existing Department-operated programs. A study titled, Leveraging Language and Cultural Education and U.S. Higher Education Program, was commissioned in 2010-2011 to review various institutions’ language and cultural curricula and their ability to provide required language and cultural capabilities.
The Language Training Center (LTC) pilot initiative program was developed in 2011 and grants were awarded to five institutions of higher education that demonstrated their ability to provide quality language and cultural training to meet the demonstrated training requirements of specific DoD components. By 2013, the number of institutions funded through the initiative grew to nine.
Since 2011, the LTCs have supported the language and cultural training needs of a wide range of DoD personnel including military linguists, intelligence analysts, special operations forces, foreign area officers, and the general purpose forces. The LTCs provide support for programs and missions that include scheduled deployments to Afghanistan, the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, enduring intelligence analysis requirements, and regional alignment.
Each center has an institutional capacity to provide customized training to meet the specific needs of various DoD entities. LTC training is delivered through both traditional and non-traditional delivery methods such as intensive immersion instruction and online modules. The training supports the Armed Services, the Combatant Commands, the Guard and Reserve, as well as civilian employees.