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Special Forces Language Training: What Would It Cost To Do It Right?

In this article, the author concludes that the true cost of meeting USASFC's language goals would be $23 million dollars. Additionally, there would be an additional expense incurred due to losing as many as 720 recently qualified Special Forces Soldiers for up to 30 months during initial training.

Of note, a more radical course of action is also considered which would be "for USASFC to abandon its high-level language goal in favor of achieving high-level cultural competency. Without discounting the value of language skills for Special Forces Soldiers, former commander of 1st Special Forces Group and the Special Forces Language School.  Brigadier General Retired Russell D. Howard writes that 'learning culture is easier than learning a foreign language, and more useful for the soldier in the short-term.'  Having two Soldiers on each ODA earn a certificate of study in cultural anthropology relevant to their deploying region may help achieve a level of mission effectiveness similar to USASFC’s language goal at a fraction of the time and cost."

Further Reading:

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