Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What Arabic Linguist Shortage?

Everywhere one looks, the consensus is that the United States (and I suppose every other non-Arabic speaking country) has a shortage of Arabic linguists to meet the new threat that the "war on global extremism" or whatever the Bush administration is calling it now.

So why is it that I cannot beg my way into government service as an Arabic linguist? I previously attended and completed 47 weeks of Arabic language training at the Army's Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Montery, CA but I haven't used the language since I left the military in 1993. I contacted the army reserves and volunteered to join provided that they send me back to DLI for Arabic, but the recruiter says that there is nothing available. Of course, if I want to go to DLI for Chinese or Korean, I'm good to go, but evidently there are no slots for Arabic Linguists in the state of Washinton.

Not a problem, the National Security Agency (NSA) has a language enhancement program to take those that already have a familiarity with the language and put them through the training necessary to meet their proficiency standards. I uploaded my resume to them on August 3, 2005 but after over two months I've not heard anything from them yet. I think that they are still considering my application but no word after nearly three months? I realize that there must be some background checking going on but I've previously had a top secret security clearance so I would think that would help expedite the process but evidently not. With no word from NSA I must assume that I will need to take a different route to realize my goal of once again working as an Arabic linguist, but that is a topic for another post.