Creating Foundational Foreign Language Regional and Cultural Proficiency in General Purpose Forces

July, 2013
IDA document: D-4923
FFRDC: Systems and Analyses Center
Division: Strategy, Forces and Resources Division
Joseph F. Adams, Amy A. Alrich, Claudio C. Biltoc, Jerome Bracken, Colin M. Doyl,e David R. Graham, Mary R. Hawkin,s Timothy Ni, Steven B. Walser See more authors
The Defense Language Office asked the Institute for Defense Analyses to assess programmatic and resource alternatives for establishing a population of language, regional, and cultural (LRC) enabled Military Service members in the general purpose forces. This briefing describes the creation and application of an analytical framework for quantifying the demand for LRC-capable Service members and estimating the costs of meeting those demands under alternative supply strategies. To overcome the lack of direct measures of the demand for LRC-capable Service members, the study created three indirect estimation approaches. For each demand case, the study estimates the costs of several approaches for providing LRC skills. The estimated range of costs for providing Army LRC-capable Service members varies widely across the three global demand scenarios evaluated and alternative supply strategies, ranging from between $500 million to $5.5 billion dollars annually. Significant cost savings can be achieved by hiring language contractors on an as needed basis, rather than building capabilities within the uniformed ranks, but these savings are coupled with additional operational risk.