It should come as no surprise that accurate communication is an essential component to military operations. Orders are given and taken. Information is gathered and reported. Documents are read, speeches are given. This occurs everywhere from the barracks to the classroom, to the mess hall and the battlefield.
Sometimes this communication is difficult enough to understand in plain English. Poor communication leads to misunderstanding. Misunderstanding leads to distrust. Distrust leads to conflict. And conflict is one thing a Soldier would just as soon avoid.
Now imagine the plight of a Soldier trying to establish understanding with villagers in Afghanistan or intelligence officers trying to understand the motives and intent of foreign military leaders. In the military especially, open lines of communication can mean the difference between constructive discourse and destructive conflict.
That is why language specialties are so important in the Army National Guard. There are two primary career courses for National Guard foreign language specialists:
- Interpreter/Translator – After specialized training, Soldiers in this Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), known as MOS 09L, talk with and interpret conversations between commanders, officers, and foreign nationals. This often occurs in overseas communities where the National Guard is deployed in support of U.S. operations.
- Cryptologic Linguist – Whereas the Interpreter/Translator deals mainly with face-to-face conversations, the Cryptologic Linguist – also known as the Cryptologic Communications Interceptor/Locator – is concerned primarily with intercepting foreign signals and reviewing foreign broadcast and print media for key indicators that can help commanders and officers determine effective strategies that mitigate risk. Cryptologic Linguists also question prisoners of war, enemy deserters, and civilian informants in their native language.
Understanding cultures and being able to read the attitudes in societies where U.S. operations take place is vital to the U.S.’s interests around the world. And without the linguistic talents of those fluent in languages native to those societies, the commanders and officers are left at a significant disadvantage. If you or someone you know can put your linguistic talents to work protecting U.S. interests around the globe, don’t hesitate to contact a National Guard Recruiter today.