ERIC Number: ED463668
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar-12
Reference Count: N/A
Foreign Languages: Workforce Planning Could Help Address Staffing and Proficiency Shortfalls. Testimony before the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services, Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate.
Westin, Susan S.
This statement examines the nature and impact of foreign language proficiency and personnel shortages in the Army, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), discussing strategies used to address these shortages and efforts made to address current and projected shortages. All four agencies reported shortages of translators and interpreters and of staff such as diplomats and intelligence specialists with foreign language skills critical to successful job performance. These shortfalls varied significantly by agency, job position, language, and skill level. They have resulted in workload backlogs, which in turn affect agency performance; hindering the prosecution of criminal cases; limiting the ability to identify, arrest, and convict violent gang members; weakening the fight against international terrorism and drug trafficking; and causing less effective representation of U.S. interests overseas. Agencies used a range of strategies to fill their foreign language needs (providing staff with language training and paying incentives, recruiting employees with foreign language skills or hiring contractors, and using information technology). One agency has adopted a strategic approach to workforce planning efforts that links the foreign language program to the agency's strategic objectives and program goals. The other three agencies have yet to pursue overall strategic planning. (SM)
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.