Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 11

Cadets in Strategic Landpower another branch or functional area corresponding with their STEM knowledge. Biochemistry majors could be assigned to CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear) defense units. Computer scientists could be assigned to cyber units. Materials engineers could be assigned to research and development. These positions should be tailored to the talent rather than filled by the usual approach of plugging in an available person to fill the needs of the Army at the time. Senior Army leaders have said the Army needs highly educated officers to fight and win the technologically advanced wars of today and tomorrow. If this is true, the force needs a better way to recruit and use the talent it covets. Using the same approach as usual and hoping for different results is not going to work. Language and Culture Photo from U.S. Army Cadet Command Central tenets of the strategic landpower are regionally aligned forces and an emphasis on the human interaction in war. Effectively recruiting and training talent for regionally aligned forces is imperative, and among the most important skills needed are language and culture skills. Given that most of the Army’s near-future talent is or soon will be enrolled full-time in higher learning institutions, it makes good business sense to find students who already know or are studying languages and cultures. The best language learners and nonnative speakers of any language are those who started learning additional languages when they were young and maintain their skills through ongoing use and study. Currently, the Army does not seek to identify future lieutenants with skills in, or even an aptitude for, foreign languages. As we reposition ourselves after two long campaigns, the strategic landpower concept can guide us to correct this faulty practice. The Army should require, or at least encourage, all cadets seeking a commission to take foreign language classes while enrolled in ROTC. Near commissioning, the Army should administer the Defense Language Proficiency Test. The Army could use language proficiency scores to assign officers to regionally aligned units in which they could use their language skills right away. As with STEM graduates, the Army should ensure lieutenants with language skills get to use them before they start forgetting. This practice would be an example of true talent management. Language learners need ongoing U.S. Army cadets participated in physical training with Togolese cadets at Pya, Togo, in 2013. MILITARY REVIEW  July-August 2014 9