While Navy students attached to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey are still learning how to be great Sailors, they are attending one of the longest and most arduous “A” schools the Navy has to offer varying between 36 weeks and 64 weeks depending on language difficulty.
Tucked away on the central California coastline overlooking the scenic Monterey Bay sits the premiere school for language learning in the United States, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC).
Since 1963 Sailors have attended DLIFLC to gain critical language skills and cultural understanding in order to augment our ships, submarines, aircraft, and ground stations so that they can maintain maritime superiority both during peacetime and war.
With continuing threats from global terrorism and new potential threats in this era of Great Power Competition, the language, regional expertise, and cultural skills these Sailors will bring to the fight are more important than ever to ensure our continued success.
Languages currently offered include Arabic, Chinese-Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Persian-Farsi, and Spanish. Upon completion of their course of instruction, with the completion of some additional education requirements, Sailors are eligible to earn an associate degree in their language.
Some recent graduates of the Russian and Chinese courses shared their experiences in completing this program.
“When I first arrived at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, I thought that it was this magical place where everybody learns a language in a short period of time without very much work,” said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Jaie Arais. “I was very mistaken. But now that I have completed my final goal (of graduating), I realize it was more of a first step to a much larger career”.
When asked how to be successful at DLIFLC, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Eldon Porter added, “The key to success at Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center is not unlike any other military training or school. That is, focus on instruction, do what is asked of you, try your best, and most important have the confidence to know you can succeed!”
“The students who pass through these doors are exceptional,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Sarah Sperling when discussing student performance. “I am impressed by all of our students, but especially our recent graduates and the levels of proficiency they are achieving is something you would normally only see occasionally from individuals. The leadership, cooperation, and professionalism of the Sailors makes me more confident than ever that we are providing the fleet with outstanding talent that’s ready to enter the fight.”
One of the recent graduates, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Seaman Park Collie, received the Command Sergeant Major Award for foreign language excellence and military leadership. Seaman Collie was also one of the students to achieve the highest scores possible on the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) that he took at the end of the course.
“When I heard the news that I had scored a 3/3 on my DLPT, I was ecstatic,” said Collie. “Knowing that I reached my goal, which I had worked toward for 18 months, made me feel that every late night of studying was worth it. Every Sailor has the ability to reach their goal, and Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center will appropriately reward you based on your efforts.”
IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), provides a continuum of foreign language and cryptologic technical training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
For more on Information Warfare Training Command Monterey, visit https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/centers/ciwt/IWTCmonterey/ and http://www.monterey.army.mil/Service_Units/IWTC_Monterey.html, or find them on Facebook.