Congressman Panetta Introduces Legislation to Support Defense Language Institute

June 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Defense Language Improvement (DLI) Act authorizing the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) to confer a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign language upon any graduate who fulfills the degree requirements.  Currently, DLIFLC may confer an Associate of Arts degree in a foreign language.

"The students at DLIFLC gain foreign language proficiency and cultural immersion that they could not achieve anywhere else," said Congressman Panetta.  "DLIFLC is the premier foreign language institution in the nation.  Expanding its accreditation authority provides advanced learning opportunities, supports recruitment and reenlistment initiatives, and incentivizes higher level language learning to better support defense, intelligence, and law enforcement requirements."

"The Defense Language Improvement Act is a commonsense fix that will increase educational opportunities while allowing the Department of Defense to improve its own foreign language capabilities. In our increasingly interconnected world, incentivizing higher level language learning is not just an asset, it is a necessity for national defense," said Congressman Crow.

"I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Defense Language Improvement Act with my colleagues to help DoD better prepare its workforce for an increasingly globalized security environment," said Congressman Cisneros.  "Allocating more resources to increase DoD’s and the Intelligence Community’s foreign language pool will not only allow them to better retain institutional knowledge by internally training their staff instead of recruiting outwards for foreign language positions, but also make our servicemembers more qualified candidates for the private sector once they transition back to civilian life."

"As threats continue to grow around the world, it is imperative that our next generation of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines remain able to tackle any task. That’s why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the DLI Act to bolster the study of languages and linguistics at the Defense Language Institute and enhance the national security of our great nation," said Congressman Scott.

"No matter where they are stationed or deployed across the globe, our service members must be equipped with the tools necessary to keep our country safe.  This includes proficiency in foreign languages," said Congressman Young.  "The Defense Language Institute has been critical to providing foreign language instruction to members of our Armed Forces, and expanding their ability to grant bachelor's degrees is a commonsense way to improve global security by encouraging lifelong learning.  I am proud to join Congressman Jimmy Panetta on this important legislative initiative to ensure our troops have the language skills they need to work with our allies in various security-related situations.  Foreign language skills and cultural awareness are central to building trust with locals, gathering intelligence, and successfully completing the mission at hand.  I encourage my friends on both sides of the aisle to support stronger national security by helping to get this legislation across the finish line."

The DLI Act is cosponsored by Congressman Jason Crow (D-CO), Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Congressman Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA), Congressman Don Young (R-AK), Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE), and Congressman David Price (R-NC).