By Robert Miltersen
How time flies! 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLI or DLIFLC) of Monterey, CA providing foreign language classes on the Air University (AU) campus here at Maxwell AFB, AL.
The fledgling language program came in response to CSAF Gen Michael Moseley’s desire that language and culture training be included in officer Professional Military Education (PME). In October, 2007 Major General Stephen J. Miller, Commandant of the Air War College (AWC), wrote a letter to Colonel Tucker Manager, DLIFLC Commandant, requesting that a DLIFLC liaison be assigned to AU at the newly-conceived Air Force Culture & Language Center (AFCLC). This request was eventually realized when I was hired by DLI and sent to Maxwell AFB to begin overseeing the DLI language programs at both the AWC and Air Command & Staff College (ACSC). In 2009, an official Language Training Detachment (LTD) was established with the hire of 4 permanent faculty members teaching French, Spanish, Chinese and German.
Since 2006, thousands of officers attending AU schools have taken advantage of DLI’s language courses in 8 different languages. Further, our students have not only come from the academic student body but also their spouses, AU faculty, and the International Officer’s School (IOS) student population.
DLI’s partnership with AU goes beyond teaching just beginning, intermediate and advanced language classes. DLI instructors work closely with the AFCLC to provide Language Intensive Training Events (LITE), or immersions, to participants of the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP). They are also called upon for their subject matter expertise for LEAP’s eMentor Special Projects Courses. During the 2016 academic year (AY16), DLI offered an official language research elective in German for which ACSC students received elective credit. At the conclusion of this pilot course, students traveled to Germany and Austria to reinforce their language skills and immerse themselves in that culture. This pilot elective course expanded in AY17 to include courses in French, Chinese, and Spanish. In 2017, DLI will partner with the AFCLC and Defense Institute for Medical Operations (DIMO) to provide translation and interpretation skills training to advanced LEAP participants and others.
The DLI LTD at Maxwell Air Force Base continues to reach out to all areas of AU to provide expert world-class foreign language and culture training and education. We look forward to another robust 10 years here at Maxwell AFB!
For more information on DLIFLC: http://www.dliflc.edu/
For more information on AFCLC: http://culture.af.mil/
By Robert Miltersen