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Appendix B

Linguist Support


B-1. Military operations are highly dependent on foreign language support. The requirement to communicate with and serve on multinational staffs, communicate with local populations, and exploit enemy forces necessitates the use of linguists. The growing focus on multinational operations increases the competition for limited linguist resources that are vital for mission success. This appendix establishes the framework and process to access, prioritize, and employ the Army's limited organic linguist resources.


B-2. Foreign language support requirements of US Armed Forces typically fall into one of four broad categories:

  • Intelligence and Information Gathering. This category includes the traditional SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines, as well as foreign language support to FP and exploitation of open-source information.
  • CMO. This category encompasses all functions relating to military interaction with the civilian population. Foreign language support is critical to CMO in areas such as government liaison, legal agreements, medical support and operations, law enforcement, engineering projects, public safety, security and population control, CA, and PSYOP.
  • Logistics. This category consists of foreign language support to sustainment or transportation functions. These include logistical con-tracting, port, railhead, airhead, or transshipment operations and convoy operations.
  • Multinational Operations and Liaison. This category includes the coordination of military operations and liaison with multinational partners, previously unaffiliated nations, and at times adversary or former adversary nations. Multinational operations are becoming more common and increasingly important.


B-3. To identify linguist requirements, the staff conducts mission analysis and identifies specified or implied tasks requiring foreign language support. Other critical factors are the organization or echelon of command and the location of the mission. The staff uses these criteria to determine the allocation of linguists, such as one linguist team per echelon of command, one linguist per piece of equipment, or one linguist team per location where the function is to be performed. The staff then applies task organization and scheme of maneuver to determine the number of linguists needed for an operation.

B-4. The staff must analyze each linguist assignment to determine the minimum level of foreign language proficiency needed. While interpretation for a peace negotiation requires not only outstanding linguistic capability but also cultural acumen, the translation of routine documents (with the aid of a dictionary) requires a much different skill set. Poor identification of linguist proficiency requirements can tie up the best linguists in less effective roles, creating linguist shortfalls in other areas.

B-5. The relative importance of each of the four linguist support categories is mission dependent. For example, during a NEO civil and military coordi-nation would probably not be as critical as intelligence and information gathering. However, the situation is reversed for a humanitarian assistance mission in which CMOs have a significant impact on mission success. Identi-fying these "dynamics" helps the commander and staff prioritize linguist requirements.

B-6. Determining linguist requirements for any operation can be difficult because each operation is unique. However, commanders and staffs with a basic knowledge of organic Army linguistic assets, foreign language resource alternatives, and MI skills can successfully assess, prioritize, and employ linguists in support of their military operations.


B-7. Commanders must consider the linguist requirements as part of their MDMP for every CONPLAN and OPLAN assigned to their commands. Prior staff planning and identification of linguist requirements should prompt commanders to initiate linguist support requests and identify command relationships prior to actual operations. If the mission analysis reveals requirements for linguistic support, the commander must identify what foreign languages are needed, the foreign language proficiency levels needed for each assignment, and the best source of linguists. In addition, if the mission includes intelligence and information collection, the commander must identify MI collection skills required. During mission analysis, the commander should consider linguist requirements for every CONPLAN and OPLAN assigned to his command.


B-8. The commander and staff must identify linguist requirements by cate-gory:

  • Category I - Have native proficiency in the target language (level 4-5) and an advanced working proficiency (Interagency Language Round Table [ILRT] level 2+) in English. They may be locally hired or from a region outside the AO. They do not require a security clearance. They must be screened by the Army CI support team.
  • Category II - Are US citizens screened by Army CI personnel and are granted access to SECRET by the designated US government person-nel security authority. Have native proficiency in the target language (level 4-5) and an advanced working proficiency (ILRT 2+) in English.
  • Category III - Are US citizens screened by Army CI personnel and are granted either TS/SCI clearance or an interim TS/SCI clearance by the designated US government personnel security authority. Meet a minimum requirement of ILRT level 3. They are capable of understanding the essentials of all speech in a standard dialect. They must be able to follow accurately the essentials of conversation, make and answer phone calls, understand radio broadcasts and news stories, and oral reports (both of a technical and non-technical nature).


B-9. Primary staff at each echelon has responsibilities for evaluating requirements and managing linguist support. The responsibilities include but are not limited to those discussed below. In addition, each staff section is responsible for determining its linguist support required to meet its opera-tional missions.

Assistant Chief of Staff, G1 (S1):

  • Identify linguist requirements needed to support G1/S1 functions in all contingency areas. G1/S1 requirements for linguist support include but are not limited to the following:
    •   Coordinate with local authorities on matters of civilian hire, finance, and recordkeeping.
    •   Contract for local hire personnel.
    •   Coordinate for local morale support and community activities.
    •   Coordinate with local authorities for postal operations.
    •   Support for administration, counseling, personal affairs, and leave for LN and third-country national (TCN) personnel.
    •   Coordinate for local medical support.
    •   Liaison with multinational counterparts.
  • Linguist staffing and linguist replacement management.
  • Identify foreign language skill identifiers for all assigned, attached, or OPCON Army linguists.
  • Identify all Army foreign language skilled soldiers not identified on electronic Military Personnel Office System (eMILPO) and Defense Integrated Management Human Resource System (DIMHRS). The Standard Installation Division Personnel System (SIDPERS) was replaced by eMILPO.
  • Deploy and provide administrative support of DA and DOD civilian linguists.
  • Hire, contract for, and provide administrative support of LN linguists.
  • Procure Army foreign language support personnel for screening local labor resources.

Assistant Chief of Staff, G2 (S2):

  • Identify linguist requirements needed to support G2/S2 functions in all contingency areas. G2/S2 requirements for linguist support include but are not limited to:
    •   Evaluate and/or use local maps and terrain products in operations.
    •   Process for MI purposes material taken from EPWs or civilian inter-nees.
    •   At lower echelons, conduct tactical questioning of refugees, detain-ees, and EPWs.
    •   Assess local open-source information for intelligence value.
    •   Coordinate intelligence and liaison with multinational and HN coun-terpart.
  • Determine, during the initial IPB, all foreign languages (spoken and written) and dialects needed for mission accomplishment.
  • Collect, process, produce, and disseminate information derived from linguist sources.
  • Provide intelligence training for MI linguists employed in AOs.
  • Coordinate for security investigations, as necessary, for local hire lin-guists.
  • Provide support to CI screening of contracted linguists and LN labor force.

Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (S3):

  • Identify linguist requirements needed to support G3/S3 functions in all contingency areas. G3/S3 requirements for linguist support include but are not limited to:
    •   Operational coordination and liaison with multinational and HN counterparts.
    •   Translate OPORDs and OPLANs for use by multinational coun-terparts.
  • Consolidate unit linguistic requirements and establish priorities.
  • Develop linguist deployment and employment plans.
  • Develop plans to train linguists and to use linguists for training the force in AO's foreign language survival skills. In addition to global language skills, linguists must have training in specific vocabulary used in the AO; for example, terms used for military, paramilitary, civilian or terrorist organizations, and ethnic groups within the area, nomenclatures of equipment used, and other military or technical vocabulary. Training in the specific dialect used in the AO would also be beneficial.
  • Assign, attach, and detach linguists and linguist teams.
  • Integrate additional or replacement linguists through operational channels.
  • Recommend modernization and development of linguist systems and methods.
  • Coordinate mobilization and demobilization of RC linguist support.
  • Plan linguist usage for deception operations.
  • Plan linguist support for movement of EPWs, detainees, and refugees.
  • Coordinate evaluation of linguist support by all staff elements.

Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (S4):

  • Identify linguist requirements needed to support G4/S4 functions in all contingency areas. G4/S4 linguist requirements for linguist support include but are not limited to:
    •   Procure local supply, maintenance, transportation, and services.
    •   Coordinate logistics at air and seaports of debarkation.
    •   Contract with local governments, agencies, and individuals for sites and storage.
  • Provide logistical, supply, maintenance, and transportation support to attached linguists.

Assistant Chief of Staff, G5 (S5):

  • Identify linguist requirements needed to support G5/S5 functions in all contingency areas. G5/S5 linguist requirements for linguist support include but are not limited to:
    •   Determine civilian impact on military operations.
    •   Minimize civilian interference with combat operations.
    •   Inform civilians of curfews, movement restrictions, and relocations.
    •   Provide assistance to liaison with HN and multinational agencies, dignitaries, and authorities.
    •   Promote positive community programs to win over support.
    •   Determine if multinational operations PSYOP efforts are mutually planned and synchronized.
    •   Interpret support to assist resolution of civilian claims against the US Government.
    •   Solicit linguistic and cultural knowledge support to protect culturally significant sites.
    •   Use linguistic and cultural support to identify cultural and religious customs.
  • Assist the G1 in the contracting of local hire linguists.
  • Identify foreign language requirements for CMOs.

Assistant Chief of Staff, G6 (S6):

  • Identify linguist requirements needed to support G6/S6 functions in all contingency areas. G6/S6 linguist requirements for linguist support include but are not limited to:
    •   Coordinate suitable commercial information systems and services.
    •   Coordinate with multinational forces on command frequency lists.
    •   Coordinate signal support interfaces with HN and multinational forces.
  • Manage RF assignments for supporting SIGINT linguist elements.
  • Support linguist operations with internal document reproduction, dis-tribution, and message services.
  • Integrate automation management systems of linguist units.


B-10. If no special staff officer is assigned the duties below, the corresponding coordinating staff officer should assume those responsibilities. Linguist requirements for special staff officers include but are not limited to the following staff officers.

Liaison Officer:

  • Should speak the required foreign language. If not, he requires a trans-lator or interpreter for all aspects of his duties.
  • Request interpreters to assist when representing the multinational operations.
  • Translate orders, maps, traces, overlays, and documents into multi-national foreign languages.

Civilian Personnel Officer:

  • Recruit, interview for suitability, and hire civilian local labor force if required.
  • Negotiate host country on labor agreements.

Dental Surgeon:

  • Administer dental care to support humanitarian mission requirements.
  • Rehabilitate, construct, and gain usage of existing dental facilities as required.

Finance Officer:

  • Support the procurement process of local goods and services not readily available through normal logistical channels.
  • Ensure limited non-US and US pay functions to foreign national, HN, civilian internees, and EPWs are provided.
  • Ensure all necessary banking functions are performed in theater.


  • Support medical humanitarian assistance and disaster relief oper-ations.
  • Provide medical care of EPWs and civilians within the command's AO.
  • Coordinate medical laboratory access in AO.
  • Determine the nature of local health threats to the force through popu-lace interviews.
  • Determine the identity of local or captured medical supplies.

Veterinary Officer:

  • Determine source and suitability of local foods.
  • Assist the local population with veterinary service needs.

Chemical Officer:

  • Identify enemy force chemical weapons and equipment.
  • Communicate NBC risks to supported populations.

Engineer Coordinator:

  • Procure proper local materials to support engineering missions.
  • Communicate engineering project requirements to contracted local work force.
  • Communicate engineering project impact on local landowners and other affected parties.
  • Determine, in coordination with G2/S2, suitability of local topographic maps and terrain products.
  • Assess environmental concerns of HN and local populations in com-bined operations.

Provost Marshal:

  • Support dislocated and civilian straggler control activities.
  • Support internment and resettlement operations, to include displaced civilians.
  • Support weapons buy-back programs, as required, and work closely with civil-military liaisons for payments to local officials.
  • Support counter-drug and customs activities.
  • When authorized, help foreign civil authorities maintain control.
  • Conduct liaison with local LEAs.

PSYOP Officer:

  • Produce approved PSYOP propaganda and counter-propaganda media.
  • Evaluate PSYOP impact on target audience.

Air Defense Coordinator:

  • Identify enemy air defense artillery (ADA) weapons and radars.
  • Communicate air defense warnings to supported populations.
  • Communicate air defense project requirements to contracted local work force.

Safety Officer:

  • Provide safety training to local labor force.
  • Communicate warnings of dangerous military operations and other hazards to local populace.

Transportation Officer:

  • Coordinate commercial and local transportation needs.
  • Coordinate movement scheduling and routes with multinational forces and/or HN.


B-11. Personal staff officers are under immediate control of the commander and have direct access to the commander. Most personal staff officers also perform special staff officer duties, working with a coordinating staff officer. These assignments are on a case-by-case basis, depending on the com-mander's guidance and the nature of the mission; they are very common in stability operations and support operations. Linguist requirements for special staff officers include but are not limited to the following staff officers.


  • Coordinate religious support with multinational partners.
  • Determine the impact of local population religious group faiths and practices on military operations.
  • Provide religious support to the community to include hospital patients, EPWs, refugees, and civilian detainees.
  • Conduct liaison with local population religious leaders in close coor-dination with the G5.

Public Affairs Officer:

  • Act as the commander's spokesman for all communication with exter-nal media.
  • Assess the accuracy of foreign media interpretation of Public Affairs Office (PAO) releases.
  • Assess and recommend news, entertainment, and other information (assisting G5) for contracted services foreign nationals.

Staff Judge Advocate:

  • Translate and interpret foreign legal codes, SOFAs, and international laws.
  • Determine local environmental laws and treaties through translation services.
  • Assess the treatment of EPWs and civilian internees.
  • Translate documents to support G4 in local contracts.


B-12. There are various sources that a commander can use to obtain the linguists necessary to support operations. It is vital to know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of linguist and to carefully match the available linguists to the various aspects of the operation.


B-13. The AC MI language-dependent military occupational specialities (MOSs) are 98G with a skill qualification identifier (SQI) of L/352G (Cryptologic Communications Interceptor/ Locator), and their related WO fields. Some soldiers in MOS 96B (All-Source Intelligence Analyst), MOS 97B (CI Agent), MOS 97E/351E (HUMINT Collector) and MOS 98C (SIGINT Analyst), and their related WO fields are trained in foreign languages. Using soldiers in the MOSs mentioned above has many advantages. They are already trained in the military system, are not subject to deployment restrictions (a limiting factor with civilian linguists), have a security clearance and, as US personnel, support the command's interests. The major disadvantage to utilizing these individuals for general foreign language support is that in doing so, they are removed from their primary MI functions. They should be used only in linguistic duties that include intelligence potential. For example, a HUMINT collector (97E) provides linguist support to a medical assistance team as a method to provide access to the local population to determine their attitudes toward US Forces.

B-14. Non-MI Army language qualified MOSs include some enlisted and WOs in career management fields 18 (Special Forces), 37 (PSYOP), 180A (Special Forces); and commissioned officers with a branch code 18 (Special Forces); and functional areas 39 (PSYOP and CA) and 48 (Foreign Area Officer). Particular attention must be paid to the recorded language proficiency and test date of these individuals since the standards vary by field. The same advantages and disadvantages apply as with the AC MI linguists.

B-15. RC language-dependent MOSs include those listed above in the AC. RC linguists have the same set of advantages and disadvantages as listed above for AC language-dependent MOSs. The RC also includes linguists in MOS 97L (translator/interpreter). The 97Ls are specifically trained to be a translator and interpreter. They have the same advantages as the AC linguists. An added advantage is that since their sole job is translation and interpretation, they do not have to be removed from another job in order to be used as a linguist. Their major disadvantage is that they have no additional skill that gives them dual functionality.

Army Linguists Not DOD Trained

B-16. The Army also includes numerous soldiers of all grades who are proficient in a foreign language and are receiving Foreign Language Proficiency Pay (FLPP) but whose primary duties do not require foreign language proficiency. They may have attended a civilian school to learn a foreign language, or they may have acquired proficiency through their heritage. They have the advantage of being trained soldiers and are therefore readily deployable to all areas of the battlefield.

B-17. These soldiers may have the specific vocabulary and military skill knowledge for certain linguist support missions. For example, a supply sergeant who speaks the local language would be an invaluable asset to the G4. There are disadvantages in that they already have another job and units are reluctant to give up personnel especially if they are in key positions. Their capabilities are difficult to assess. Since they are not required to take the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) if they are not receiving FLPP, it is often difficult for the G1/S1 to identify them as a linguist or for a non-linguist to judge the level of their foreign language capability.

Other Service Linguists

B-18. Other service linguists have the advantage of deployability, loyalty, and clearance, but must often learn the Army system and specific Army voca-bulary. They are also difficult to obtain since their parent service probably also lacks a sufficient number of trained linguists. Other service linguists, however, will be valuable in joint operation centers and joint activities. When serving the JTF headquarters, Army commanders and staffs must be aware of the linguists in the other services in order to plan for the participation and optimize their employment.

US Contract Linguists

B-19. US civilians can be contracted to provide linguist support. They have an advantage over LN hires in that their loyalty to the US is more readily evaluated, and it is easier for them to be granted the necessary security clearance. However, there are usually severe limitations on the deployment and use of civilians. A careful assessment of their language ability is impor-tant because, in many cases, they use "old fashioned" terms, or interject US idioms. If the linguists are recent émigrés, the use of the language in their country of origin could be dangerous to them, or their loyalty may reside with their own country when at odds with US interests.

Multinational Linguists

B-20. Multinational linguists have their own set of advantages and disadvan-tages. These linguists may be unfamiliar with the US military system unless they have previously participated in a multinational operation with US forces. They may have a security clearance, but clearances are not necessarily equal or reciprocal, automatically guaranteeing access to classified or sensitive information between nations. They support the command's interest but may have differing priorities or responsibilities within their assigned AOs. These linguists also are already fulfilling specific duties for their own nation, which may also have a shortage of linguists. The major disadvantage to acquiring and maintaining multinational linguist support is that they are outside the C2 (via military authority or military contract) of the US forces. These linguists will be valuable in multinational operations centers and activities.

Local National Contract Linguists

B-21. LN hires will provide the bulk of your linguist support. They are usually less expensive to hire than US civilians and will know the local dialect, idioms, and culture. The expertise of these linguists in particular areas or subject matters can be an asset. However, there are several potential problems with using LN hires, to include limited English skills and loyalty considerations. Therefore, a screening interview or test is necessary to determine their proficiency in English. These individuals must also be carefully selected and screened by CI personnel (with US linguist support) initially and periodically throughout their employment. Their loyalty is always questionable. Local prejudices may influence them, and they may place their own interests above those of the US.


B-22. Commanders and staffs must understand the Army linguist proficiency evaluation system in order to effectively plan for and employ linguists. Evaluation and reevaluation of linguist proficiency is covered in detail in AR 611-6, Section III. Language testing is required for all Army personnel in a language-dependent MOS, who have received foreign language training at government expense, who are receiving FLPP, or who are in a language-required position regardless of MOS. Other Army personnel who have knowledge of a foreign language are encouraged to take the proficiency test and may work as linguists.

B-23. The Army uses the DLPT to determine foreign language proficiency levels. DLPTs are listed by foreign language in DA Pam 611-16. In foreign languages where no printed or recorded test exists, oral interview tests are arranged. The DLPT is an indication of foreign language capability, but it is not the definitive evaluation of an individual's ability to perform linguist support.

B-24. AR 611-6, Appendix D, Sections 1 through 4, describes the proficiency levels for the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing a foreign language based on the interagency roundtable descriptions. The plus-level designators, shown as a "+" symbol, are used to designate when a linguist is above a base level, but not yet to the capability of the next level. For example, 2+ would indicate a better than limited working proficiency in the foreign language. The six "base levels" of proficiency, as established by DLPT and/or oral exam, are:

  • Level 0 (No proficiency). The soldier has no functional foreign language ability. Level 0+. The minimum standard for Special Forces personnel indicates a memorized proficiency only.
  • Level 1 (Elementary proficiency). The soldier has limited control of the foreign language skill area to meet limited practical needs and elementary foreign language requirements.
  • Level 2 (Limited working proficiency). The linguist is sufficiently skilled to be able to satisfy routine foreign language demands and limited work requirements.
  • Level 3 (General professional proficiency). The linguist is capable of performing most general, technical, formal, and informal foreign language tasks on a practical, social, and professional level.
  • Level 4 (Advanced professional proficiency). The linguist is capable of performing advanced professional foreign language tasks fluently and accurately on all levels.
  • Level 5 (Functionally native proficiency). The linguist is functionally equivalent to an articulate and well-educated native in all foreign language skills; and reflects the cultural standards of the country where the foreign language is natively spoken.

B-25. The above proficiency base levels designate proficiency in any of the four language skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The most evaluated skills on the DLPT are reading and listening. These tests are not for use in evaluating linguists above the 3 proficiency level. Most Army linguist DLPT scores show only two skill levels: listening and reading (for example, 2+/3, or 3/1+).


B-26. Language proficiency diminishes with lack of use and absence of exposure to the foreign language. To ensure combat readiness, commanders should require all military linguists receive periodic language training. In-country language immersion training, in-garrison contracted language instructors, on-line foreign newspapers, and foreign radio broadcasts are all examples of language training resources. Funding for language training is available through MACOM language training program funds.


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