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Army announces critical language incentive-pay program

Aug 13, 2008

The U.S. Army announced Aug. 13 a financial incentive pilot program for recruiting new college Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets who take courses in critical foreign languages, such as Arabic, Persian-Farsi, and Chinese-Mandarin, as well as commit to entering the regular Army, the Army Reserve, or the Army National Guard as a commissioned officer.

New ROTC cadets who sign a contract to enter the Army are eligible for the program starting this fall that pays $100 a month for the first year of participation, $150 a month for the second year of language study, $200 a month for the third year, and $250 a month for the fourth year (maximum $3,000 over an academic year).

In addition to Arabic, Persian, and Chinese, other languages covered by the program are: Korean, Pashto (Afghanistan and Pakistan), Urdu (Pakistan and India), Indonesian, Swahili (east Africa), and Hausa (west and central Africa).

In addition to standard classroom-based college language courses, the incentive program also covers participation in language immersion and study abroad programs.

ROTC cadets and other interested students can contact their military science professors at their colleges or universities for more information and to sign up.

"For more than six years the Army has been engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan and in defending the homeland," said Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 (Personnel). "What has become clear is a critical need to expand our strategic capability in critical languages to help us fight global terrorism. This pilot program will inform the Army how best to achieve that goal and help meet our officer recruiting goals."

The Critical Language Incentive Pay Program is part of an overall pilot program Congress approved to help the Army recruit officers. The program's other components are: 1) A $5 thousand bonus for students who complete the Army ROTC Leader's Training Course and agree to become an Army officer, and 2) Authorization for the Army to recruit experienced doctors and other medical professionals and chaplains, which are hard to fill specialties, age 43-60, and for them to serve only two years.

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