Legislation passed on Thursday evening by the U.S. House of Representatives would permanently establish a National Language Service Corps (NLSC) within the Department of Defense to help meet critical defense-related foreign language needs.
The NLSC provision was written by U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI). It is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law in the days ahead.
The bill provides that the NLSC will “provide a pool of nongovernmental personnel with foreign language skills who… agree to provide foreign language services to the Department of Defense.” The Secretary of Defense will then be able to “call upon members of the Corps to provide foreign language services to the Department of Defense or another department or agency of the United States.”
The NLSC currently exists as a pilot program that has recruited more than 1,800 members. To date, NLSC members have worked with the Department of the Navy, the National Security Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies. For instance, the NLSC provided translation and interpretation support services to the U.S. Army Pacific for counterinsurgency training in Thailand.
Read the full press release at http://www.holt.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1071&Itemid=18