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Foreign Languages: Workforce Planning Could Help Address Staffing and Proficiency Shortfalls
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The testimony of today will discuss our recently completed report on foreign language proficiency and personnel shortfalls at four federal agencies. Federal agencies foreign language needs have grown significantly over the past decade with increasing globalization and a changing security environment in light of such events as the breakup of the Soviet Union and the terrorist attacks of September 11. Foreign language skills are increasingly needed to support traditional diplomatic efforts and public diplomacy programs, military and peacekeeping missions, intelligence collection, counterterrorism efforts, and international trade. One sign of this need is the budget devoted to hiring, training, and paying language-skilled staff For example, the Department of Defense estimates that it currently spends up to 250 million annually to meet its foreign language needs.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE