MONTEREY, Calif., – Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Jessica L. Garfola Wright, says that the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center is the premier language provider to the Department of Defense, not only for resident instruction but also online foreign language training materials.
“When I first came here I thought, ‘well they teach just a little bit of language.’ I have had only a few hours here and I am thoroughly impressed with the in-depth quality and professionalism of what they do here,” said Wright in an interview Oct. 22.
“They (DLIFLC) not only teach more than ‘a little bit’ of language,” they teach you to be proficient in the language and they teach multiple levels of that language, with phenomenal web-based programs to maintain your language skills,” said Wright in an interview.
Accompanied by Stephanie Barna, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Readiness and Force Management and Sgt. Maj. Michael Schultz, the senior enlisted advisor for USD(P&R), Wright received a tour and briefing Oct. 22, from DLIFLC Assistant Commandant Col. Ginger Wallace.
Wrights is a senior DoD official and the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management regarding readiness, National Guard and Reserve component affairs, health affairs, training, and personnel requirements and management. A part of Wright’s portfolio is also DLIFLC and the DoD foreign language training mission.
Impressed by an Urdu class, Wright praised both the students and classroom instructor. “The interaction that I saw between the instructor and the students was just amazing. She was very knowledgeable, she was very professional, and she treated them with dignity and respect. It wasn’t a dictatorial type of an instruction. It was very collaborative.”
In response to a question about the state of the DoD budget, Wright candidly replied, “I don’t have an answer that states ‘everything will be fine.’ I have an answer that says we have to wait and see exactly where our budget is. And we all have to think smarter and do things a little bit differently.”
“DLI is the premier institution,” she said. “DLI is the institution that teaches all of our foreign languages and we absolutely need it. It is the things that you are doing already that will perhaps save some dollars, the online courses, the virtual learning, and those kinds of things will really help you…How we fund it, what the budget is, that is all to be seen,” she said.
Clearly impressed by the quality of DLIFLC students, Wright’s commented, “If this is who our leaders of tomorrow will be in the future we are in good hands, because they were bright and they wanted to learn.”