Military Training: Strategic Planning and Distributive Learning  
Could Benefit the Special Operations Forces Foreign Language	 
Program (30-SEP-03, GAO-03-1026).				 
                                                                 
Of the 44,000 special operations forces (SOF) that perform	 
difficult, complex, and sensitive military missions on short	 
notice anytime and anywhere in the world, more than 12,000 (28	 
percent) have a foreign language requirement to operate in places
where English is not spoken. In the Senate Report on the Fiscal  
Year 2003 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress mandated  
that GAO review SOF foreign language requirements and training.  
In this report, we (1) assess the U.S. Special Operations	 
Command's recent actions to improve the management of the SOF	 
foreign language program and the delivery of training, and (2)	 
identify ways for the command to deal with ongoing challenges	 
that limit SOF personnel's access to language-training		 
opportunities.							 
-------------------------Indexing Terms------------------------- 
REPORTNUM:   GAO-03-1026					        
    ACCNO:   A08622						        
  TITLE:     Military Training: Strategic Planning and Distributive   
Learning Could Benefit the Special Operations Forces Foreign	 
Language Program						 
     DATE:   09/30/2003 
  SUBJECT:   Foreign languages					 
	     Military training					 
	     Program management 				 
	     Armed forces abroad				 
	     Strategic planning 				 

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GAO-03-1026

United States General Accounting Office

GAO

                       Report to Congressional Committees

September 2003

MILITARY TRAINING

     Strategic Planning and Distributive Learning Could Benefit the Special
                   Operations Forces Foreign Language Program

GAO-03-1026

Highlights of GAO-03-1026, a report to the Senate and House Committees on
Armed Services

Of the 44,000 special operations forces (SOF) that perform difficult,
complex, and sensitive military missions on short notice anytime and
anywhere in the world, more than 12,000 (28 percent) have a foreign
language requirement to operate in places where English is not spoken. In
the Senate Report on the Fiscal Year 2003 National Defense Authorization
Act, Congress mandated that GAO review SOF foreign language requirements
and training. In this report, we (1) assess the U.S. Special Operations
Command's recent actions to improve the management of the SOF foreign
language program and the delivery of training, and (2) identify ways for
the command to deal with ongoing challenges that limit SOF personnel's
access to language-training opportunities.

To improve the management and delivery of language training, GAO is
recommending that the Secretary of Defense direct the U.S. Special
Operations Command to (1) adopt a strategy and strategic planning and (2)
incorporate distributive-learning approaches. GAO also recommends that the
Secretary evaluate proficiency pay incentives and pay and allowance
funding for SOF reserve and guard members and options for oral testing.
The Department of Defense agreed with all but one recommendation, stating
that it could not adopt a strategy until it was properly reviewed and
approved.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-1026.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on
the link above. For more information, contact Neal Curtin at (757)
552-8100 or [email protected]

September 2003

MILITARY TRAINING

Strategic Planning and
Distributive Learning Could Benefit the
Special Operations Forces Foreign
Language Program

Recent actions taken by the U.S. Special Operations Command are starting
to address some long-standing problems with the management of the SOF
foreign language program and the delivery of language training. In
September 2002, the command consolidated all training under a single
contractor to provide a universal, standardized curriculum and a range of
delivery mechanisms for Army, Navy, and Air Force SOF components. Initial
assessments suggest that the contractor's offerings are meeting contract
expectations. In other actions, the program is completing an overdue
assessment of SOF language requirements, developing a database of language
proficiencies and training, and finding ways to take advantage of other
national language-training assets. While promising, these ongoing actions
are taking place without the benefit of a cohesive management framework
incorporating a strategy and strategic planning to guide, integrate, and
monitor its activities. Without such a framework, the program risks losing
its current momentum and failing to meet new language-training needs that
SOF personnel are likely to acquire as they take on expanded roles in
combating terrorism and other military operations.

The SOF foreign language program continues to face challenges, such as
more frequent and longer deployments, that limit personnel's access to
language training. Army Reserve and National Guard SOF members face
additional difficulties in gaining access to centrally located training
because of geographical dispersion and part-time status; they also have
lower monetary incentives to acquire language proficiencies and fewer
training opportunities. As a result, most SOF personnel have been unable
to take needed training or required tests to qualify in their respective
language(s). To address these challenges, program officials are looking
into distance/distributive-learning approaches, which offer "anytime,
anywhere" training that would be highly adaptable to SOF personnel needs,
but they are still at an early stage in their evaluations.

Number of SOF Personnel Requiring Language Skills

Contents

  Letter

Results in Brief
Background
Program Addresses Some Long-Standing Problems but

Lacks a Strategic Planning Approach Approach Needed to Improve Access to
Language-Training

Resources Conclusions Recommendations for Executive Action Agency Comments
and Our Evaluation

                                       1

                                      2 4

                                       9

16 24 26 26

Appendix I Scope and Methodology

Appendix II Language Proficiency Levels and Requirements

Appendix III 	Status of the Language Services Contract between the U.S.
Special Operations Command and B.I.B. Consultants

Appendix IV Comments from the Department of Defense

Appendix V GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments

  Tables

Table 1: Special Operations Forces Personnel Requiring Foreign Language
Proficiency, by Service Component 7 Table 2: Number of Special Operations
Forces Personnel Needing Language Training for Quarter Ending March 31,
2003 19 Table 3: Personnel Meeting Language Proficiency Requirement

from Quarters Ending September 2002 through June 2003 20 Table 4:
Continuum of Learning Methods 23 Table 5: Organizations and Offices
Contacted during Our Review 28 Table 6: Foreign Language Capabilities at
Proficiency Levels 33

Table 7: U.S. Special Operations Command Proficiency Standards for Service
Components 34 Table 8: Foreign Language Training Provided by B.I.B.
Consultants Contract 35

Table 9: Student Evaluations Responses from Some Initial Acquisition SOF
Language Classes at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center
and School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, during the First Quarter of 200338

Table 10: Student Evaluations Responses from Initial Acquisition SOF
Language Classes at Naval Special Warfare Command, Group I, Coronado,
California, during the Second Quarter of 2003 40

  Figure

Figure 1: Student Proficiency Score Results for Listening and Reading for
Initial Acquisition Language Courses at the Army's John F. Kennedy Special
Warfare Center and School for the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2003

Abbreviations

DOD Department of Defense
SCOLA Satellite Communications for Learning
SOF special operations forces
SOFLO Special Operations Forces Language Office

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United States General Accounting Office Washington, DC 20548

September 30, 2003

The Honorable John W. Warner
Chairman
The Honorable Carl Levin
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable Duncan Hunter
Chairman
The Honorable Ike Skelton
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
House of Representatives

As they have recently demonstrated in Afghanistan and Iraq, special
operations forces (SOF) are playing an increasingly significant role in
U.S. military operations by performing extremely difficult, complex, and
politically sensitive missions on short notice anytime and anywhere in the
world. To successfully conduct these missions, SOF personnel must
undergo extensive training-often years in duration-to acquire a wide
variety of military skills, among them a proficiency in a foreign
language.
More than one-fourth of all SOF military personnel, or about 12,000 out
of 44,000, have a foreign language requirement in order to enable them to
operate effectively in countries where languages other than English
are spoken.

To meet its specific language training needs, the U.S. Special Operations
Command1 (the command) established a separate foreign language

1The U.S. Special Operations Command, located at MacDill Air Force Base,
Fla., is one of nine unified commands in the U.S. military's combatant
command structure and is responsible for all special operations forces.
The command's organization includes three service component commands: the
U.S Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.; the U.S. Naval
Special Warfare Command, Coronado, Calif.; and the U.S. Air Force Special
Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

program within the Department of Defense (DOD) in the early 1990s.2 The
command delegated the U.S. Army Special Operations Command as its
proponent for foreign language matters and, in turn, the Army command set
up the Special Operations Forces Language Office (SOFLO) to oversee and
manage the SOF foreign language program. The program prescribes the
policies for all aspects of the program, including its funding; reporting;
and delivery of initial acquisition, sustainment, and enhancement training
for SOF forces in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The Senate Report on the Fiscal Year 2003 National Defense Authorization
Act3 mandated that we review the foreign language requirements and
training for SOF personnel. In December 2002 and April 2003, we briefed
your offices on the initial results of our review. In this report, we (1)
assess recent actions taken by the U.S. Special Operations Command to
improve the management and delivery of its foreign language training to
special operations forces personnel and (2) identify ways for the command
to deal with challenges that limit accessibility to its foreign
language-training resources.

We conducted our review from October 2002 through July 2003 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. Our scope and
methodology are described in appendix I.

                                Results in Brief

Recent actions taken by the U.S. Special Operations Command are beginning
to address some long-standing problems that have affected the management
of the foreign language program and the delivery of its training. However,
these actions are being taken without the benefit of a cohesive management
framework that could foster continued program improvements. In September
2002, the command consolidated all of its language training under a single
contractor to reduce problems with multiple contractors and
inconsistencies in the type, quality, and

2Most DOD personnel acquire their foreign language training through the
Defense Foreign Language Program. The Department of the Army, the
program's executive agent, manages and oversees the program. The Defense
Language Institute is the primary educational facility for DOD's language
training. While the SOF foreign language program provides most of its
training separately from the Defense Foreign Language Program, the SOF
program can use DOD and other government-language-training resources to
fulfill its needs.

3U.S. Senate, Committee on Armed Services, National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2003 Report, Senate Report 107-151 (Washington, D.C.:
2002).

acquisition of training. The new contract is expected to offer the program
a universal, standardized training curriculum; a range of delivery
mechanisms; and the consistent monitoring of student and teacher
performance. An initial quarterly review by the command in March 2003 and
our analysis of student performance data suggest that the contractor's
offerings are meeting the expectations set out in the contract, such as
students' achievement of proficiency goals. In other actions, the program
is (1) completing a long overdue assessment of language requirements; (2)
expanding its communication and coordination between the Army, Navy, and
Air Force SOF offices that use its training and with other language
resource stakeholders; (3) developing a database to track foreign language
proficiencies and training across the services; and (4) examining ways to
take better advantage of other national language-training resources (e.g.,
the Defense Language Institute). While promising, these actions are being
taken without the advantage of a cohesive management framework that
incorporates strategic planning (a strategy and a strategic plan with an
associated performance plan and reports) that could guide the program,
integrate its activities, and monitor its performance. The command has
drafted a strategy for meeting its foreign language requirements-a first
step in developing this framework-but it has not yet approved it. Without
such a framework, the program risks losing its current momentum, and it
may be unable to meet the new language-training needs that SOF personnel
are likely to have as they take on expanded roles and responsibilities in
counterterrorism and other military operations.

The SOF foreign language program continues to face ongoing challenges that
limit the access that special operations forces have to language-training
opportunities, but it is beginning to seek ways to resolve these. More
frequent and longer deployments and competing priority training needs have
reduced the time that both active-duty and reserve/guard units have for
language training. SOF personnel in Army Reserve and National Guard units
face further difficulties in gaining access to centrally located language
training because of their geographical dispersion and part-time status.
These part-time personnel also receive lower monetary incentives for
meeting language proficiency standards than their active-duty
counterparts, and their units do not have the pay and allowance funds to
send all of them to language training. As a result, most SOF personnel
have been unable to get the training or take the proficiency tests they
need to qualify in their respective language(s). Furthermore, language
proficiency testing by oral interview, which program officials consider as
more germane to SOF requirements, is not always available or used to
measure language proficiency for qualification. Moreover, as their

roles and responsibilities expand, SOF personnel may face further
limitations on their access to training, although the precise impacts of
these changes are still not clear. Although the command's new contract
offers some new and more flexible training options, it does not cover
nontraditional training methods, such as distance/distributive learning,
which can provide "anytime, anywhere" options that would be highly
adaptable to SOF personnel training needs. Program officials are looking
into some of these new options (e.g., regular and broadband Internet-based
language resources and video tele-training) and the resources that would
be needed to incorporate them into the program, but they are still at an
early stage in their evaluations.

We are making recommendations to improve the management and delivery of
the SOF foreign language-training program by adopting a strategy and
developing strategic planning tools; increase SOF personnel's access to
foreign language training by incorporating distance/distributive-learning
tools into the SOF program; provide Army Reserve and National Guard
personnel with greater monetary incentives and training advantages to
acquire and maintain language proficiency; and provide additional
opportunities for SOF personnel to test and qualify in their respective
language(s) by increasing the use and availability of oral proficiency
interview testing. In its comments on a draft of this report, DOD agreed
with all but one recommendation. DOD did not agree with our recommendation
to adopt a strategy and develop strategic-planning tools, stating that it
could not adopt a SOF language strategy until it was properly reviewed and
approved within the department. We clarified this recommendation to make
it clear that we did not intend to circumvent the department's review and
approval process.

Background 	Foreign language needs have significantly increased throughout
DOD and the federal government with the presence of a wider range of
security threats, the emergence of new nation states, and the
globalization of the U.S. economy. The difficulties in maintaining
sufficient foreign language capabilities among federal agencies and
departments have been identified as a serious human capital problem for
some time.4 The entire military has faced shortfalls in language
capability in recent operations, such as

4See hearings before the Subcommittee on International Security,
Proliferation, and Federal Services, Committee on Governmental Affairs,
U.S. Senate, on The State of Foreign Language Capabilities in National
Security and the Federal Government

(Sept. 14 and 19, 2000).

difficulties in finding sufficient numbers of qualified language speakers
during peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and combat actions in
Afghanistan. In recent reports, we have stated that shortages of staff
with foreign language skills have affected agency operations and have
hindered U.S. military, law enforcement, intelligence, counterterrorism,
and diplomatic efforts.5

The U.S. Special Operations Command faces similar challenges in managing
its SOF language training to maintain sufficient language capability to
support its missions. For example, (1) it is common for SOF personnel to
have received language training in more than three languages during their
career; (2) SOF units often operate in geographic regions where there are
numerous languages, (3) high operational demands and force structure
limitations often require SOF personnel to operate in areas where their
specific foreign language(s) are not spoken, and (4) it is difficult to
determine the right languages and personnel mix to address a wide variety
of unknown and hard-to-forecast small-scale conflicts.

The U.S. Special Operations Command established its SOF Foreign Language
Program in 1993 to provide combatant commanders with SOF individuals and
units that have the required foreign language proficiency to meet current
and future operational requirements.6 The command designated the U.S. Army
Special Operations Command, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as the
proponent in all matters related to training, policies, programs, and
procedures for SOF language requirements and capabilities.

In 1998, the Army Command established the Special Operations Forces
Language Office at Fort Bragg. Currently located in the command's training
directorate, the office is responsible for providing technical oversight
and developing, coordinating, and executing foreign-language-training
strategies for active-duty, reserve, and National Guard SOF

5To address current and projected shortages in staff with foreign language
skills, we recommended that the Secretary of the Army develop a
comprehensive strategic approach to human capital management and workforce
planning. See U.S. General Accounting Office, Foreign Languages: Human
Capital Approach Needed to Correct Staffing and Proficiency Shortfalls,
GAO-02-375 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 31, 2002) and Foreign Languages:
Workforce Planning Could Help to Address Staffing and Proficiency
Shortfalls, GAO-02-514T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 12, 2002).

6DOD Directive 3305.6, Special Operations Forces Foreign Language Policy
(Jan. 4, 1993), assigns responsibility to the Commander, U.S. Special
Operations Command, for implementing special operations forces' foreign
language training and reporting.

personnel within the three service components: the U.S. Army Special
Operations Command, the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command, and the U.S.
Air Force Special Operations Command.7 The office is also responsible for
running the Army's SOF foreign language program. The Navy and Air Force
SOF components are responsible for managing their own language-training
programs.

The foreign language program provides training for more than 12,000 SOF
military personnel (about 28 percent of all 43,671 SOF personnel) who are
required to acquire some level of proficiency in one or more foreign
languages. Of these, about 90 percent (10,833) are in the U.S. Army
Special Operations Command; more than half of them are in Army Reserve or
National Guard units. (See table 1.) The remaining 10 percent of SOF
personnel with language needs are in the U.S. Naval Special Warfare
Command (1,128) and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (155).8 The
training consists of initial acquisition (becoming proficient in a new
language), sustainment (maintaining a proficiency), and enhancement
(raising a proficiency). It also includes a basic orientation to the
customs and cultures of world regions where their languages are used.

7The operational units of the SOF service components run over 100 command
language programs to provide initial, sustainment, and enhancement foreign
language training for their people.

8Personnel who have language requirements in active-duty U.S. Army Special
Operations Command units serve in special forces; those in Army Reserve
and National Guard units serve in civil affairs, psychological operations,
and special forces; those in active-duty U.S. Naval Special Warfare
Command units serve as SEALS and in special boat units; and those in
active-duty U.S. Air Force Special Operations units function in foreign
internal defense.

    Table 1: Special Operations Forces Personnel Requiring Foreign Language
     Proficiency, by Service Component Require foreign language proficiency

                                                  Total number  Percentage of 
                                                  of                    total 
                                        Number of SOF personnel SOF personnel 
    Service   Total number of       reserve/guard with language with language 
              Number of active-     SOF                         
component  SOF personnela duty       personnel   requirement   requirement 
              SOF personnel                                     
U.S. Army                                                    
    Special                                                     
Operations                                                   
    Command            26,804 4,475         6,358        10,833 
U.S. Naval                                                   
    Special                                                     
    Warfare             6,360 1,128             0         1,128 
    Command                                                     
    U.S. Air                                                    
     Force                                                      
    Special                                                     
Operations                                                   
    Command              10,507 155             0           155 
     Total             43,671 5,758         6,358        12,116         100.0 

Source: Special Operations Forces Language Office.

Note: As of September 2003.

aThe total number of SOF personnel does not include civilians. Totals also
do not include a Marine Corps detachment of 81 personnel assigned to the
command. Seven of the 81 Marines have a language requirement, but their
language training does not fall under the SOF language program.

SOF personnel require foreign language skills in most of the special
operations forces' core tasks, such as unconventional warfare,
counterterrorism, counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
civil affairs, psychological operations, information operations, and
foreign internal defense. The command, in coordination with the
organizations for which it provides forces, determines the languages,
levels of proficiencies, and number of language-qualified personnel needed
in its units through an assessment of the operational needs of the
geographic unified commands.9 Currently, SOF has requirements in more than
30 foreign languages, such as Chinese Mandarin, Modern Arabic, Indonesian,
Korean, Persian-Farsi, Russian, and Spanish.

In contrast with other intelligence or diplomatic foreign language
training, SOF training places greater emphasis on oral communication
skills (speaking and listening) than on nonverbal skills (reading and
writing) in order to give SOF personnel the ability to communicate during
operations in the field. The level of proficiency that needs to be
achieved varies by

9Geographic unified commanders of the U.S. Central Command, U.S. European
Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Southern
Command are responsible for the conduct of military operations in their
respective world regions.

unit and mission and can range from limited skills necessary to understand
and utter certain memorized phrases for immediate survival to more
intermediate skills (e.g., the ability to deal with concrete topics in
past, present, and future tenses) necessary to meet routine social demands
and limited job requirements. For example, the Army's Special Forces units
(active-duty and National Guard), which account for about half of the Army
personnel with a language requirement, generally need only a limited
command of the language for immediate survival needs. Personnel who
conduct psychological operations, foreign internal defense, and civil
affairs missions generally need higher proficiency skills because of their
greater contact and interaction with local civilians and military
personnel. Although higher proficiency levels are desired, language is
only one, and often not the highest, priority of the many skills that SOF
personnel must acquire and maintain to effectively conduct their missions.
Appendix II provides information on language proficiency levels and
requirements.

The special operations forces foreign language program is funded directly
through the command's annual budget.10 Funding for the program amounted to
$9.5 million and $10.2 million in fiscal years 2002 and 2003,
respectively, and it is projected to be $11.1 million in fiscal year 2004.
The command provides portions of the program's funding to each service
component command to pay for its own respective foreign language training
activities and to SOFLO to manage the program. The program's funding
constitutes a very small portion of the command's annual budget, which is
projected to be about $6.7 billion in fiscal year 2004.

10The Nunn-Cohen Amendment to the DOD Authorization Act of 1986, Pub. L.
No. 99-661, which created the U.S. Special Operations Command, gave the
command direct control over many of the fiscal resources necessary to pay,
train, equip, and deploy special operations forces through the
establishment of a separate major force program (a major budget category
in DOD's budget).

  Program Addresses
  Some Long-Standing
  Problems but
  Lacks a Strategic
  Planning Approach

The command and SOFLO have taken several recent actions to begin
addressing a number of long-standing problems in delivering and managing
foreign language training to special operations forces. However, these
actions are being taken without the benefit of a cohesive management
framework, which incorporates strategic planning (a strategy and strategic
plan with associated performance plans and reports), that would guide the
program, integrate its activities, and monitor its performance. Such an
approach would help the program maintain its present momentum, better
manage its human capital challenges, and meet the language-training needs
of SOF personnel as they take on new roles and responsibilities.

    Recent Actions Should Begin to Strengthen SOF Foreign Language Program

New B.I.B. Contract Consolidates Language Training

The command and SOFLO are taking several actions that begin to strengthen
the foreign-language-training program for SOF forces. These actions
include consolidating all language training under a single contractor,
completing a long overdue assessment of language requirements, improving
communication and coordination with all program stakeholders, developing a
database to monitor language proficiencies and training, and looking for
ways to make use of other foreign-language-training assets. According to a
SOFLO official, these actions have been initiated in part by the command's
increased attention since September 11, 2001, to issues involving SOF
language capabilities necessary to carry out core missions.

For many years, the SOF foreign-language-training program's service
components and their units acquired language training through multiple
contractors, encompassing a variety of private companies and universities.
According to command officials, this practice led to inconsistencies in
the type and quality of training, the response to meeting new or changing
language requirements, and the way language training was acquired by
individual service components. Various contractors used different
instruction methods, and their training materials varied in quality.

In September 2002, the command awarded all of its commercial language
training to a single contractor, B.I.B. Consultants. Command officials
told us that the new 5-year contract provides for greater standardization
and a more consistent approach to language training and improves the way
language training services are acquired throughout the command.
Specifically, the new contract offers a universal, standardized training
curriculum, an ability to customize instruction to meet specific needs; a
way to attain language proficiencies faster; and a consistent monitoring
of instruction and individual performance. The contractor, a business

franchise of Berlitz International,11 plans to use its parent's worldwide
resources to provide SOF personnel with a variety of instruction services
(such as classroom instruction, tutoring, and total immersion training in
a live or virtual environment). Command officials also believe that the
instruction method used by the contractor offers a way for SOF personnel
to attain proficiency faster. To fully realize the benefits of the new
contract, the command has required each of its service components and
their units to use the contract to meet all their language-training needs,
except when they take advantage of other government language resources,
such as the Defense Language Institute.

Some of the B.I.B. contract costs are higher than those in previous
contracts because the command awarded the new contract on the basis of
"best value" and gave management and technical factors higher
consideration than price. A SOFLO official estimated that the annual
contract cost is currently about $5.5 million to $6 million. If this
figure remains the same each year, the total cost of the 5-year contract
is projected to be about $30 million. A SOFLO official said that the total
amount could be higher if SOF service components utilize more of the
contract's language services. This could happen as the service components
and their units become more familiar with the contract services and as
more SOF personnel return from current deployments and are able to access
language training.12 The official also said that some costs are higher
than those in prior contracts for such language-training services as total
immersion, in which students practice a language while living in another
country or in a language-controlled isolated environment. Command
officials believe the improved quality and delivery of language training
outweigh any increased cost.

B.I.B. Consultants appears to be meeting the expectations, including
having its beginning language students meet their proficiency goals, set

11B.I.B. Consultants is a small business franchise of Berlitz
International established in 1998. Its daily operations are located at the
Berlitz Language Center, Orlando, Fla. Berlitz International is a
worldwide provider of language training and cross-cultural services to
government, private-sector industries, and nonprofit organizations.
Founded in 1878, the company has more than 450 language centers in over 60
countries and is accredited by the American Council on Education and the
Accrediting Council for Continued Education and Training. Because of the
size and complexity of its contract with the command and the need for
worldwide language training, B.I.B. has awarded a subcontract to Berlitz
International to utilize its language services.

12The contract has a maximum ceiling of $50 million over its 5-year life.

Language Requirement Assessment Nears Completion

out in its contract with the command. At the command's initial quarterly
contract review in March 2003, which covered the first 5 months of
implementation, command and contractor officials focused on provisions in
the contract and on procedural aspects, such as scheduling training,
providing materials, and developing contacts. Command officials brought up
several issues largely related to the cost and implementation of immersion
training, classroom requirements for instructors and materials, and the
delivery of tactical language training.13 On the basis of discussions
among attendees and our observations at the review, none of the issues
discussed appeared irresolvable, and most of them could be addressed by
improved communications and more experience in understanding and executing
the contract. For example, B.I.B. officials agreed to work with the
service components to find ways to reduce some immersion training costs. A
second contract review was held in August 2003.

According to SOFLO, each of the command's service components is using the
language services provided under the B.I.B. contract, and the results from
some initial acquisition classes indicate that students are achieving most
of the proficiency goals. A B.I.B. contract manager told us that the
company believes it is successfully implementing the provisions of its
contract. The official said that B.I.B. Consultants and Berlitz
International had formed a joint team in October 2002 to manage all
contract operations necessary to provide the full range of training
services requested by the government. The official said that B.I.B. had
successfully delivered the services requested through July 2003 and had
promptly addressed the few issues (e.g., higher costs for immersion
training and the quality of some materials) that arose. Appendix III
provides additional information on the status of the contract's
implementation at the command's service components and our analysis of the
preliminary results of the students' performance under the new contract.

In another action, the command is nearing the completion of a long-overdue
assessment of its SOF foreign language requirements. The assessment is
based on the operational requirements identified by the command in
conjunction with the geographic unified commanders. It validates the
languages, proficiency levels, and number of positions in each SOF unit
that are needed to conduct special operations missions.

13Tactical language training covers instruction in foreign language
translations of specific military and technical words/terms used by SOF
personnel in conducting missions. Such training is not a requirement of
the B.I.B. contract.

Communications and Coordination with Other Stakeholders Is Increasing

The assessment is used by the SOF service components and SOFLO to
determine future language-training requirements. Although such assessments
are supposed to be conducted at least every 2 years, this is the first
commandwide assessment since 1997. Command officials expect the assessment
to be approved by the fall of 2003.

SOFLO is in the process of expanding its communications and coordination
with all of the stakeholders that are involved in delivering language
training to SOF personnel. According to officials at the Navy and Air
Force SOF components, the Defense Language Institute, and DOD
headquarters, SOFLO officials have recently increased their contacts and
visits with them to discuss language issues and ways to improve
coordination.

In addition, in December 2002, SOFLO reinstituted an annual language
conference, which had not been held since 1997, that is designed to serve
as a forum where SOF language issues can be discussed and resolved.
Conference attendees included command representatives from headquarters
and the service components and guests from the intelligence, academic, and
other language-using communities who were invited to gain an appreciation
of the differences between SOF requirements and other DOD language
organizations and obtain their perspectives. SOFLO held another conference
in August 2003.

SOFLO also has recently developed an Internet-based Web site to provide
information on SOF language training, including schedules of courses and
other training opportunities; links to the latest directives, policies,
and procedures; training help-aids; points of contacts; upcoming events;
and information about the B.I.B. contract and other language resources.
Although some difficulties remain with providing all SOF personnel with
full access to the Web site, a SOFLO official told us that the Web site
should help increase the program's visibility and provide information
about the command's language training.

Several Navy, Air Force, and command officials we talked with said that,
over the years, SOFLO's attention has focused largely on Army SOF language
issues and has paid less attention to the Navy and Air Force language
programs. These officials said that SOFLO's recent efforts to increase its
visits and contacts, hold an annual conference, and develop other
communication tools should help to bring more balance and an increased
"joint" focus to the program. Also, Defense Language Institute officials
stated that the increased contacts between their organization and

New Database Is Being Developed to Improve Tracking of Language Training
and Readiness

Program Explores Use of Other National Language Assets

SOFLO would allow the institute to better understand SOF language needs
and determine how it could best support the program.

SOFLO is developing a central, standardized database to capture
information on the language training and proficiency status of SOF
personnel and to assess language capabilities across the services. A SOFLO
official said that full implementation of the database is critical because
there is currently no centralized commandwide system to track or access
information related to language readiness or training. Service components
and their units will be responsible for updating their portion of the data
each quarter. In the future, SOFLO plans to develop a Web-based,
data-entry capability to make updating easier and more user friendly.

While most language-training needs are met by the new B.I.B. contract,
SOFLO is exploring ways to expand its use of other national language
resources to complement and provide additional support for its program.
Such language assets can offer training and technology capabilities that
are not available in the SOF program, include the following:

o  	The Defense Language Institute, which is DOD's primary source of
language instruction, has developed tactical language help-aids (e.g.,
pocket cards with key phases and words) that can be used to support
language needs during military operations. The institute also provides
real-time video language instruction for many military facilities around
the world and is developing other distance/distributive-learning
capabilities. Several SOF unit personnel told us that they value the
institute's resident training and would attend if their time allowed it.

o  	The Satellite Communications for Learning (SCOLA) broadcast
network's14 programming provides access to most world languages, including
less common languages that are not often taught in the United States. By
watching and listening, students are able to actually experience the
foreign culture and develop their language skills in a native real-life
environment. The broadcasts also provide significant insight into the
internal events of the various countries. The SOF unit personnel we spoke
with said that the network helps students sustain language skills, learn
dialects, and improve cross-cultural understanding. SCOLA officials told
us that over the next 5 years, they plan to increase the programming,
provide Internet delivery

14SCOLA is a nonprofit broadcast network based in McClelland, Iowa, that
provides real-time transmission of copyright-free foreign news and
cultural programming in over 40 languages from about 60 countries via
satellite.

     of services, improve their infrastructure to better respond to special

       program requests, and develop on-demand digital video archiving of

past programs.  o  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is
developing new technologies to improve language translation capabilities.
These include hand-held devices that provide limited real-time,
face-to-face speech translation in the field. These devices initially were
developed for users involved in medical first-response, force-protection,
and refugee-reunification missions. SOF personnel used some of these
devices during the recent Afghanistan operations. While not a substitute
for individual language skills, these new technologies help bridge some
language gaps in the field.

    SOF Language
    Program Lacks Cohesive
    Strategic Planning

While these ongoing actions begin to improve and strengthen the foreign
language program, SOFLO is implementing them without the benefit of a
cohesive management framework that incorporates strategic planning (a
strategy and strategic plan with associated performance plan and reports).
According to a command directive, SOFLO is responsible for developing a
long-range SOF language acquisition strategy.15 Although SOFLO has drafted
a document outlining a strategy, this has not yet been approved. A SOFLO
official told us that the strategy is expected to be issued by the end of
2003.

Strategic planning is essential for this type of program because it
provides the tools for applying good management practices. Such tools
include a statement of the program's results-oriented goals and
objectives, the strategy it will use to achieve those goals and
objectives, including key milestones and priorities, and the measurements
(both quantitative and qualitative) that it will use to monitor and report
on its progress, identify necessary corrective actions, and better manage
risk. These tools also provide a mechanism to better align, establish
clear linkages, and assign roles and responsibilities in the
organizational structure and determine the program resources needed. Such
planning requires top leadership support and, if done well, is continuous,
involves all program stakeholders, and provides the basis for everything
an organization does each day to support the achievement of its goals and
objectives.

15U.S. Special Operations Command Directive 350-10, Special Operations
Forces Foreign
Language Program (Nov. 14, 2001). This directive superseded the directive
dated
April 7, 1998, which also called for development of a long range SOF
language strategy.

Using strategic planning for SOF's foreign language program would also be
consistent with the general management principles set forth in the
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993,16 which is the primary
legislative framework for strategic planning in the federal government. In
our prior reports and guidance, we have also emphasized the importance of
integrating human capital considerations into strategic planning to more
effectively plan and manage people's needs and to address future workforce
challenges, such as investments in training and developing people.17 We
recently released an exposure draft that outlines a framework consisting
of a set of principles and key questions that federal agencies can use to
ensure that their training and development investments are targeted
strategically.18 Additionally, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in
recognition of the need for a more strategic approach to human capital
planning, published the Military Personnel Human Resources Strategic Plan
in April 2002 to establish military personnel priorities for the next
several years.

Strategic planning-a strategy and strategic plan with an associated
performance plan and reports-would ensure that good management principles
are being used to manage the program and achieve the results-oriented
goals and objectives established for the program. Aligning this planning
with DOD's overall human capital strategy would further ensure that the
pervasive human capital challenges facing the SOF foreign language program
are considered in the broader context of overall DOD military personnel
priorities. Without such a cohesive management framework, the program may
lose its current momentum, and it may be unable to meet the new
language-training needs that SOF personnel are likely to have as they take
on expanded roles and responsibilities in counterterrorism and other
military operations.

16Pub. L. No. 103-62, Aug. 3, 1993.

17We have issued several reports and guidance on strategic human capital
management:
U.S. General Accounting Office, High Risk Series: An Update, GAO-01-263
(Washington, D.C.: January 2001); Human Capital: Major Human Capital
Challenges at
the Departments of Defense and State, GAO-01-565T (Washington, D.C.: Mar.
29, 2001);
Human Capital: A Self-Assessment Checklist for Agency Leaders,
GAO/OGC-00-14G
(Washington, D.C.: September 2000) and Military Personnel: Oversight
Process Needed to
Help Maintain Momentum of DOD's Strategic Human Capital Planning,
GAO-03-237
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 5, 2002).

18See U.S. General Accounting Office, Human Capital: A Guide for Assessing
Strategic Training and Development Efforts in the Federal Government
(exposure draft),
GAO-03-893G (Washington, D.C.: July 2003).

  Approach Needed to Improve Access to Language-Training Resources

The SOF foreign-language-training program continues to face ongoing
challenges that limit the access that special operations forces have to
take advantage of language-training opportunities. These challenges
include more frequent and longer deployments for active-duty, reserve, and
guard units. In addition, Army Reserve and National Guard members face
further hurdles in getting access to training because of their geographic
dispersion and part-time status. These members also receive lower monetary
incentives for achieving required proficiencies and fewer training
opportunities than active-duty members. Greater reliance on SOF personnel
in combating terrorism may increase these challenges. Recognizing the
underlying problems of access, SOFLO has begun looking into nontraditional
training methods, such as distance/distributive-learning tools, including
tools that provide on-demand "anytime anywhere" language training. But
program officials are still at an early stage in their evaluations.

    Ongoing Challenges Affect Access to Language Training

Acquiring and maintaining a proficiency in a foreign language takes
continuous practice and, because it is a highly perishable skill, it can
deteriorate rapidly without such practice. As a result, SOF personnel need
to have a wide range of options to gain access to language-training
resources at anytime and anywhere they are stationed or deployed.

However, the SOF language program is facing several challenges that affect
accessibility to language training. In recent years, both active-duty and
reserve/guard SOF personnel have had less time for overall training
because they have been deployed more frequently and for longer periods of
time. In addition, when they have had time to train, their language
training has often competed with other higher-priority training needs,
such as marksmanship or nuclear-biological-chemical training. As a result,
they have often been unable to complete the necessary language training to
reach required proficiencies and to take the necessary tests to qualify in
their respective language(s).

Furthermore, Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers, who make up more
than half of the total number of SOF personnel requiring language
proficiency,19 face additional hurdles in finding time and gaining access
to

19Most of these soldiers are assigned to psychological operations and
civil affairs units where language proficiencies are critical because of
their close and frequent interaction with the local populace.

language training. These soldiers are spread across 28 states and are
often located at long distances from their unit's facilities, making it
difficult to get to centrally located training resources. In addition,
they have fewer days available for training because of their part-time
status.

Moreover, because of their part-time status, Army Reserve and National
Guard soldiers have lower monetary incentives to undertake language
training than do active-duty personnel. According to SOFLO, active-duty
Army SOF personnel receive foreign language proficiency pay, for example,
of $100 each month if they attain a language proficiency level of 2.20 By
contrast, Army Reserve and National Guard personnel get $13.33 each month
if they attain the same proficiency because their proficiency pay is
prorated according to the number of days they train.21 Many of the more
than 50 Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers we spoke with said that,
despite the hurdles, they often undertake language training on their own
time because of the value they place on foreign language skills in
conducting their missions. They added that higher proficiency pay
allowances would give them more incentive to study language and improve
their proficiencies. In its May 2002 report, DOD's Ninth Quadrennial
Review of Military Compensation recommended that the services be
authorized to pay their reserve and guard members the same monthly amount
as active-duty members for maintaining proficiency in designated critical
languages in order to provide consistency in the application of special
pay between reserve and active-duty members.22

20At a proficiency level of 2, an individual is capable of meeting routine
social demands and limited job requirements and can deal with concrete
topics in the past, present, and future tenses. Appendix II contains a
description of the levels.

21Foreign Language Proficiency Pay is provided to military personnel under
37 U.S.C. 316. The law specifies that reserve personnel who are not on
active duty be paid at one-thirtieth of the monthly proficiency pay
multiplied by the number of drills during a month (usually four).
Therefore, if active-duty personnel receive $100 each month for language
proficiency, reserve and guard personnel would receive $3.33 per drill
($100 divided by 30) or $13.33 each month for four drills.

22The Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation is conducted every 4
years to assess the effectiveness of military pay and benefits in
recruiting and retaining a high-quality force. See Department of Defense,
Report of The Ninth Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation
(Washington, D.C.: May 17, 2002).

Additionally, a SOFLO official told us that current pay and allowance23
funding levels for Army Reserve and National Guard units do not allow
units to send more soldiers to language courses at the command's language
schools and unit programs and Defense Language Institute. The official
said that this issue may become more of a concern in fiscal year 2004,
when the U.S. Army Recruiting Command will no longer fund the pay and
allowance for initial-entry reserve soldiers going into civil affairs and
psychological operations positions to attend the Defense Language
Institute. The official said, however, that these proficiency pay and
funding issues are not limited to foreign language training but are
broader DOD issues that affect reserve and guard personnel throughout the
military.

These access constraints have prevented large numbers of SOF personnel
from getting the necessary training (both initial and sustainment
training) and taking the annual tests that are necessary to qualify in
their language(s).24 As table 2 shows, for the quarter ending in March
2003, more than 11,200 SOF personnel, or 93 percent of the 12,116 of those
who had a language requirement, needed to take either initial or
sustainment training.25 According to a SOFLO official, these statistics
may be higher than usual because of recent deployments to the Middle East
and because of some administrative underreporting. Earlier quarters in
2002 show that about 75 percent of SOF personnel required training. As
table 2 also indicates, most of the training needs for Navy SOF personnel
were for initial language acquisition (83 percent of 1,128), while for
Army and Air Force SOF members, the training needs were primarily for
sustainment (85 and 64 percent, respectively).

23Pay and allowance is a person's basic pay, special pay, incentive pay,
basic allowance for quarters, basic allowance for subsistence, and station
per diem allowance for not more than 90 days.

24These statistics are derived from SOFLO's newly created database, and
the mechanisms for collecting the data and ensuring reliability are still
being worked out.

25Language training data for the quarter ending in June 2003 was similar
to the prior quarter: 11,180 SOF personnel, or 92 percent of the 12,116 of
those who had a language requirement, needed to take either initial or
sustainment training.

Table 2: Number of Special Operations Forces Personnel Needing Language Training
                       for Quarter Ending March 31, 2003

Personnel needing initial training Personnel needing sustainment traininga

Total personnel needing training

                               Service component

                    Total number                                      
                              of                                      
                    personnel                                         
                    requiring                                         
                        language Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent 
                          skills                                      
      U.S. Army                                                       
       Special                                                        
      Operations          10,833    806    7     9,240      85 10,046 
       Command                                                        
      U.S. Naval                                                      
       Special                                                        
Warfare Command         1,128    935   83        86       8  1,021 
    U.S. Air Force                                                    
       Special                                                        
      Operations             155     42   27        99      64    141 
       Command                                                        
        Total             12,116  1,783   15     9,425      78 11,208 

Sources: Special Operations Forces Language Office (data); GAO (analysis).

Notes: Percentage totals may not add because of rounding.

These statistics are derived from SOFLO's newly created database, and the
mechanisms for collecting the data and ensuring reliability are still
being worked out.

SOFLO also acknowledges that there may be some administrative
underreporting of data.

aIncludes personnel that have some language background but require
additional training in a new language because of a change in assignment or
language requirement.

In reflection of this trend, the number of SOF personnel who have taken a
proficiency test and have qualified in their respective language(s) within
the last 12 months is low.26 As table 3 shows, in every subsequent quarter
since the quarter ending September 2002, less than 25 percent of all Army,
Navy, and Air Force SOF personnel with language requirements have been
tested within the last 12 months and have met or exceeded the required
proficiency to qualify in their respective language(s). This percentage
decreased in the subsequent quarters. While acknowledging some
administrative underreporting of data, a SOFLO official attributed the low
qualification levels to the longer and more frequent deployments that
hinder SOF personnel from getting the training they need to take and pass
the language tests. The official said that the goal for proficiency varies
by unit but that the units' goals-having the total percentage of personnel
in the unit meet the language requirement-in the command's draft foreign
language strategy for the largest groups of SOF personnel requiring
language skills are 80 and 50 percent for U.S. Army Special Operations

26SOF personnel are qualified after successfully passing the language
proficiency test and remain qualified until the time of their next test 12
months later.

Command active-duty and reserve component units, respectively. The
proficiency goal for U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command and U.S. Air Force
Special Operations Command units is 50 percent.

Table 3: Personnel Meeting Language Proficiency Requirement from Quarters Ending
    September 2002 through June 2003 Personnel meeting language requirementa

                                 Quarter ending

          Sept. 2002 Dec. 2002 March 2003 June 2003 Service component

Total number requiring language skills Number Percent Number Percent
Number Percent Number Percent

U.S. Army Special Operations Command

                                 Special Forces

Active 3,756 1,720 46 1,524 41 387 10 540

National Guard 1,731 486 28 602 35 0 0 0

Civil Affairs/ Psychological Operations

     Active           675    163      24      185     27     24    4    213   
     Reserve        4,627    243      5       296      6     94    2    105   
      Other            44         0   0            0   0     0     0     0    
      Total        10,833   2,612     24     2,607    24    505    5    858   

                       U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command

Total 1,128 125 11 52 5 107 9 57

U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command

Total 155 19 12 18 12 14 9 21

Grand total 12,116 2,756 23 2,677 22 626 5 936

Sources: Special Operations Forces Language Office (data); GAO (analysis).

Notes: Percentage totals may not add because of rounding.

These statistics are derived from SOFLO's newly created database, and the
mechanisms for collecting the data and ensuring reliability are still
being worked out.

SOFLO also acknowledges that there may be some administrative
underreporting of data.

aLanguage requirement is satisfied if personnel have met or exceeded the
required proficiency level in the required language(s) within the last 12
months. There is no distinction between personnel tested and failed and
personnel not tested.

According to a SOFLO official, the number of SOF personnel annually tested
in their respective language(s) could be increased if more certified oral
testers were available to administer the Oral Proficiency Interview,27 the
scheduling of these tests was more flexible, and the services allowed
greater use of these tests for language(s) qualification. While most SOF
personnel qualify in their languages by taking the Defense Language
Proficiency Test, an Oral Proficiency Interview can also be used when the
Defense Language Proficiency Test is not available in a given language.
The SOFLO official stated that SOF prefers the oral test when it can be
used because of the importance placed on verbal skills in conducting SOF
missions. However, the certified oral testers,28 who are normally members
of the Defense Language Institute's teaching staff, are sometimes
unavailable because they are teaching or doing other primary duties.
Coordinating the schedules of the institute's staff and the SOF members to
conduct the tests is also difficult. For example, while reserve and guard
members are primarily available to take the tests on weekends during their
unit's drill time, it is not always possible for the institute to schedule
the two testers that are required to administer the test in a given
language during that same time. Additionally, the SOFLO official stated
that a draft Department of the Army language regulation would allow use of
the oral test even if a Defense Language Proficiency Test exists for a
given language.29 The official said that SOFLO is working with the Navy
and the Air Force to make similar changes to their language regulations.

As DOD places greater emphasis on the capabilities of special operations
forces, especially those related to counterterrorism, command officials
told us that these forces are unlikely to experience any change in the
frequency or length of their deployments. Although command officials said
they are still unsure about the impact of these changes on SOF language
needs, the problems of access are likely to continue.

27DOD uses the Defense Language Proficiency Test and the Oral Proficiency
Interview to measure an individual's language skills. Both tests are
administered through the Defense Language Institute.

28Oral testers have native fluency in a language and are trained and
certified by the Defense Language Institute to administer the Oral
Proficiency Interview.

29The Department of the Army is consolidating Army Regulations 611-6, Army
Linguist Management, and 350-16, Total Army Language Program, into a
single new Army language regulation.

    Distance/Distributive Learning Could Provide Better Access to Language
    Training

According to SOFLO officials, some of accessibility challenges may be
addressed by the development or expanded use of
distance/distributive-training tools, such as Internet-based training,
multimedia technologies, and SCOLA foreign language broadcasts. While the
new B.I.B. contract provides additional flexibility and training options,
it focuses primarily on traditional methods of delivering language
training, such as classroom training, one-on-one tutoring, and
total-immersion training. This type of live, person-to-person instruction
is the preferred method for most language learning. However,
distance/distributive-learning tools, particularly those tools that
deliver on-demand "anytime, anywhere" training, offer options that can be
effectively adapted to the training needs of SOF personnel.

Distance/distributive learning encompasses a wide range of delivery
methods, including video tele-training, computer conferencing, and
correspondence courses. In recent years, DOD has sought to develop the
next generation of distance/distributive learning-advanced distributed
learning30-which expands the range of options for providing DOD personnel
with access to high-quality education and training, tailored to individual
needs and delivered cost-effectively, whenever and wherever it is
required. Advanced distributed learning includes Internet-based
instruction, simulation, integrated networked systems, and digital
knowledge repositories. DOD's March 2002 Training Transformation
Strategy31 emphasizes the use of such learning methodologies to ensure
that training is readily available to both active and reserve military
personnel, regardless of time and place. Table 4 shows the continuum of
learning delivery methods from classroom to advanced distributed
learning.32

30Advanced distributive learning is instruction that does not require an
instructor's presence; can use more than one medium; and emphasizes the
use of reusable content, networks, and learning management systems.

31See Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and
Readiness, Department of Defense, Strategic Plan for Transforming DOD
Training (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 1, 2002).

32For further information on the status of DOD's advanced distributed
learning programs, see U.S. General Accounting Office, Military
Transformation: Progress and Challenges for DOD's Advanced Distributed
Learning Programs, GAO-03-393 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 28, 2003).

Table 4: Continuum of Learning Methods

Right time, right place

Anytime, anywhere

Distance/distributive-Advanced distributed Classroom delivery learning
delivery learning delivery method methods methods

Instructor-led training  o  Video tele-training

o  Embedded training

o  Computer conferencing

o  Interactive television

o  Electronic classrooms

o  Interactive multimedia

o  	Computer-based training

o  Audio-graphics

o  Audiotapes/videotapes

o  	Correspondence courses

o  	Integrated networked systems

o  Integrated platforms

o  	Reusable learning objects

o  	Widespread collaboration

o  	Global knowledge databases

o  	Intelligent tutoring systems

o  Performance aiding

o  	Digital knowledge repositories

o  	Internet-based instruction

o  Virtual libraries

o  Simulation

o  Virtual classrooms

Source: Defense Acquisition University.

Note: The data displayed in the table are based on data provided in the
Defense Acquisition University's Strategic Plan 2002-2009 Training
Transformation (T2), The Defense Acquisition University Road Map for
e-Learning and On-Line Performance Support.

SOFLO officials have begun evaluating some of the
distance/distributive-learning options for language training that DOD has
been developing for its own language-training programs. They told us that
some of these efforts might be adaptable to the SOF program, as shown in
the following:

o  	The Defense Language Institute, in collaboration with the National
Cryptologic School, Foreign Service Institute, and the National Foreign
Language Center, are developing an Internet-based learning support system,
called LangNet, which provides language learners and teachers with access
to on-line language materials. The Defense Language Institute is also
expanding its video tele-training capabilities to provide students located
throughout the world with real-time language instruction.

o  	The U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, is
leading an initiative called Broadband Intelligence Training System, or
BITS, to use commercial broadband technology as a way to provide
individuals with

Internet-based tele-training at the unit or at home. SOFLO officials
believe that this distance-learning tool shows the promise of delivering
on-demand courseware in various languages with minimal technology
requirements and being effective for initial acquisition training.

o  	The Defense Advance Research Projects Agency is developing a
language-training simulation, which may be useful when speech recognition
software hurdles are resolved.

SOFLO also wants to expand the availability of individual multimedia
tools, e.g., CD-ROM and DVD media and players, so that SOF personnel could
use such tools at any location. Additionally, the Army's John F. Kennedy
Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is
developing computer-based language courses that can be accessed through an
Army learning site or through correspondence. Distributive learning was
the principal theme of the command's annual SOF language conference in
August 2003, and SOFLO provided attendees with information on various
language-oriented initiatives.

A SOFLO official told us that distance/distributive-learning approaches
are most beneficial for providing individuals who already have some
language proficiency with sustainment training or enhancement training.
While useful, these approaches are often not considered the best options
for those individuals who need initial acquisition language training where
person-to-person interaction is most desired. The official said that SOFLO
is still in the early stages of evaluating and determining which
distance/distributive-learning options are best suited to its program and
the resources it will need to incorporate them into its program.

                                  Conclusions

While the U.S. Special Operations Command has taken several recent actions
to begin improving the delivery of language training and the management of
its foreign language program, these actions have been taken without the
benefit of a cohesive management framework combined with strategic
planning tools. At the forefront of the recent actions is a major shift in
the way that the program provides language training for active-duty,
reserve, and guard SOF personnel in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Rather
than using multiple contractors, the command has consolidated all of the
training under a single contractor to provide a standardized curriculum
and standardized training materials, more flexible delivery mechanisms,
and consistent monitoring of student and teacher performance. These
ongoing management actions address a wide range of issues, including the
need for more coordination and communication within the program, the
creation of a database to track language

proficiencies and training requirements, and better utilization of other
national language assets. However, because the program has not yet issued
a strategy and developed the necessary strategic-planning tools (a
strategic plan with an associated performance plan and reports) to carry
it out, the value and impact of these disparate actions on the program as
a whole is difficult to evaluate. As a first step, the command could issue
a strategy for meeting SOF language requirements to establish its vision
for language training across the command. As a second step, the command
could use the strategic vision to develop necessary strategic planning
tools to guide the program in the future. Such strategic planning with the
support of top leadership would allow the program to determine what
actions are needed to meet its overall goals and objectives; ensure that
these actions are well integrated with each other; identify key target
dates, priorities, and the resources needed to undertake them; develop
performance measures to assess their progress and effectiveness; identify
corrective actions; and better manage risk. It also should be aligned with
DOD's overall human capital efforts to more effectively address its
personnel challenges. Without a cohesive management framework based on
strategic planning, the program risks losing the momentum it has achieved
so far and risk failing to meet the growing needs of special operations
forces for increasingly critical foreign language skills.

Despite continuing challenges in accessing training, the development of
distance/distributive learning promises to offer SOF personnel greater
access to language resources. While SOF personnel are often unable to take
advantage of traditional, instructor-based language training because of
long deployments and geographical dispersion, they could benefit from
distance/distributive-training approaches that offer more flexibility and
accessibility to language training, including on-demand, "anytime,
anywhere" options. The use of distance/distributive learning would also
provide a good complement to the training services offered by the
command's new contract. The command has an opportunity to support several
promising DOD distance/distributive-learning initiatives under way with
participation and resources. Also, DOD could consider expanding the use
and availability of oral proficiency interview testing to provide
additional opportunities for SOF personnel to test and qualify each year
in their respective language(s). DOD could also consider changing the
amount paid to Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers for foreign
language proficiency to provide additional incentive for them to maintain
and improve their language skills and provide more pay and allowance funds
for these soldiers to allow more to attend language schools and pursue
other venues for language training. Such changes might be a way to provide
greater assurance that Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers

take advantage of current language training and training that becomes
available through the use of distance/distributive learning.

To strengthen the management and delivery of foreign language training for
special operations forces, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense
direct the Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command to

                              Recommendations for

  Executive Action

o  	adopt a strategy for meeting special operations forces' foreign
language requirements and develop the necessary strategic-planning tools
(a strategic plan with associated performance plan and reports) to use in
managing and assessing the progress of its foreign language program and to
better address future human capital challenges and

o  	incorporate distance/distributive-learning approaches into the program
to improve the special operations forces' access to language training, and
if additional resources are required, to request them.

In addition, the Secretary of Defense should evaluate current (1) foreign
language proficiency pay rates and (2) pay and allowance funding levels
for Army Reserve and National Guard personnel to determine if changes are
needed to provide them with a greater incentive to undertake language
study and allow for more personnel to attend language schools and other
training venues. Furthermore, the Secretary of Defense should examine
options for increasing the use and availability of oral proficiency
foreign language testing to provide additional opportunities for SOF
personnel to test and qualify in their respective languages.

                                Agency Comments
                               and Our Evaluation

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with all but
one of our recommendations. DOD's comments are reprinted in appendix IV.

DOD did not agree with our recommendation that the U.S. Special Operations
Command adopt a strategy and develop strategic-planning tools to
strengthen the management and delivery of foreign language training for
special operations forces. DOD stated in its comments that the command's
current draft of a SOF language strategy is in its infancy and needs to be
properly reviewed through various DOD organizations before the Secretary
of Defense could direct its adoption. Although nothing in our draft report
was meant to suggest that the draft language strategy should be
implemented without proper review, we clarified this recommendation to
state that the command adopt "a strategy," rather than any particular
draft of a strategy. While we recognize that it may take some time for the

command to prepare and approve such a document, we would note that the
command has a longstanding internal requirement, which dates to 1998, for
the program to have such a strategy. In its comments, DOD did not address
the second part of the recommendation, which called for the development,
in tandem with a strategy, of strategic planning tools to use in managing
and assessing the program's progress and address future human capital
challenges. We continue to believe that the timely adoption of both a
strategy and planning tools is an essential step for ensuring the
effective management of the SOF foreign language program.

DOD concurred with our other recommendations, specifically that the
command incorporate distributed learning approaches into its SOF foreign
language training; that the Secretary of Defense evaluate the current
foreign language proficiency pay rates and pay and allowance funding
levels for Army Reserve and National Guard personnel; and that the
Secretary examine options to increase the use and availability of oral
proficiency testing.

We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional
committees; the Secretary of Defense; the Commander of the U.S. Special
Operations Command; and the Director, Office of Management and
Budget. We will make copies available to others upon request. In addition,
the report will available at no charge on the GAO Web site at
http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions, please call me on (757) 552-8100.
An additional GAO contact and other staff members who made key
contributions to this report are listed in appendix V.

Neal P. Curtin
Director, Defense Capabilities

and Management

                       Appendix I: Scope and Methodology

In conducting our review, we focused on the foreign language training that
the U.S. Special Operations Command (the command) and its service
component commands in the Army, Navy, and Air Force provide for special
operations forces (SOF) personnel. This training is offered to
active-duty, reserve, and National Guard SOF personnel who have foreign
language proficiency requirements. We discussed SOF language issues with a
variety of officials at the Department of Defense (DOD), service
headquarters offices, the command's headquarters offices, Special
Operations Forces Language Office (SOFLO) and service component commands,
the Defense Language Institute, and other stakeholders that provide or use
the command's language training. The organizations and offices that we
contacted during our review are listed in table 5.

         Table 5: Organizations and Offices Contacted during Our Review

Location Organization/Office contacted

Washington, D.C., area Department of Defense

o  Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I

o  	Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations,
Low-Intensity Conflict, and Counter-terrorism

o  Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

o  Departments of the Army and Air Force National Guard Bureau

Department of the Army

o  Army Foreign Language Proponency Office

o  DOD Foreign Language Program Office

o  Defense Language Institute-Washington

Department of the Navy

o  Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Foreign Language Office

o  Marine Corps Foreign Language Program Office

Department of the Air Force

o  Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Information Operations
Readiness Branch

Department of State

o  Foreign Service Institute

Fayetteville, N.C., area U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg,
N.C.

o  Special Operations Forces Language Office

o  U.S. Special Forces Command

o  U.S. John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School

o  U.S. Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command

o  3rd Special Forces Group

o  Elements of the 351st Civil Affairs Command

                       Appendix I: Scope and Methodology

                     Location Organization/Office contacted

Fort Walton Beach, Fla., area U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command,
Hurlburt Field, Fla.

o  U.S. Air Force Special Operations School

o  6th Special Operations Squadron

Monterey, Calif., area 	Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
Defense Manpower Data Center

Norfolk, Va., area 	Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Naval Special Warfare
Group 4

Omaha, Nebr., area Satellite Communications for Learning, McClelland, Iowa

                  Orlando, Fla., area B.I.B. Consultants, Inc.

San Diego, Calif., area U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command, Coronado,
Calif.

o  Naval Special Warfare Group 1

Tampa, Fla., area U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base,
Fla.

o  Training, Doctrine, and Education Division

Source: GAO.

To assess the command's recent actions to improve the management and
delivery of its SOF foreign language training, we obtained documents and
spoke with various stakeholders who use or support the training. In
particular, we talked with officials at SOFLO about their responsibilities
and the recent actions they have undertaken for the SOF language program.
We reviewed DOD and command guidance, policies, speeches, reports, and
other documents to increase our understanding of the program's history and
issues. We spoke with individuals in active-duty, reserve, and National
Guard SOF units to learn their perspectives on obtaining language training
and on achieving and retaining language proficiencies. Specifically, we
did the following:

o  	We discussed the command's new language services contract with command
contracting officials and officials at each of the service components. We
visited the contractor, B.I.B. Consultants, to discuss its use of teaching
methodologies and management strategies to implement the contract. To
obtain information about the first 11 months of language training (October
2002-August 2003) under the new contract, we (1) attended the command's
first quarterly contract reviews in March and August 2003; (2) discussed
classes and other training activities with command and service components
officials, B.I.B. Consultants and Berlitz International representatives,
and language instructors and SOF students; and (3) conducted analyses of
student end-of-course evaluations and proficiency results.

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology

o  	We talked with command headquarters and SOFLO officials about the
command's progress in assessing the SOF language requirements and in
changing the way it communicates and coordinates (e.g., via annual
conference, Internet-based Web site, etc.) with its various stakeholders.
We attended the command's 2003 language conference. Although we reviewed
the process for determining SOF language requirements, we did not examine
the specific criteria and rationale for decisions made for those
requirements (e.g., languages, number of personnel needed, and proficiency
levels required for units) in its recent assessment.

o  	To determine the extent to which the SOF language program uses other
national language training assets, we obtained information from and met
with officials at the Defense Language Institute, Satellite Communications
for Learning (SCOLA), Defense Applied Research Projects Agency, and
Foreign Service Institute. We also attended a SCOLA language conference
that focused on the use of its broadcasts to support government language
programs.

o  	To understand the use and merits of strategic planning and how it
could benefit the SOF language program, we reviewed our prior work on
strategic planning and strategic human capital management and the general
management principles laid out in the Government Performance and Results
Act of 1993.

In conducting our review of student end-of-course evaluations to determine
the satisfaction of students with classes taught by B.I.B. under the new
contract, we requested student evaluations from the Army's John F. Kennedy
Center and School for the first quarter of fiscal year 2003 and from the
Naval Special Warfare Command's Group 1 for the second quarter of fiscal
year 2003. The Army's school and the Navy's Group 1 provided evaluations
from 11 (out of 22) classes and 3 (out of 3) classes, respectively. An
Army school official told us that the contractor could not provide the
evaluations for the other 11 classes we requested because the evaluations
had been misplaced. As a result, our evaluation results may not be fully
representative of the views of all students in all classes because the
missing evaluations may have different responses from those that did
respond and were provided to GAO. In conducting our analysis, we selected
three questions from the student end-of course evaluations that, in our
judgment, provided an indication of the overall effectiveness of the
course, the instructor's performance, and the usefulness of course
materials. We also reviewed individual student proficiency scores from 22
initial acquisition classes conducted at the Army's school at Fort Bragg,
North Carolina, to determine the performance of students in reaching
end-of-course proficiency goals.

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology

In identifying ways for the command to deal with challenges that limit
accessibility to its foreign language training resources, we interviewed
officials at SOFLO and the service component commands to understand the
training requirements and resources and determine the challenges faced by
SOF personnel in gaining accessing language training. We examined
information from SOFLO's language database1 to assess the extent to which
more frequent and longer deployments may affect SOF personnel's access to
the training they need to pass exams and qualify in their particular
languages. We also talked with more than 50 members of Army Reserve and
National Guard units to better understand their particular difficulties
and limitations in getting training. We spoke with officials at the
Defense Language Institute and visited their facilities to obtain
information about their ongoing efforts to develop distance/distributed
learning and advanced distributed-learning methods. We also met with
Defense Applied Research Projects Agency officials to discuss how their
new technologies could support SOF language-training needs.

We performed our review from October 2002 through July 2003 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.

1SOFLO's language database has been operational for only a short time, and
the mechanisms for collecting the data and ensuring reliability are still
being worked out. SOFLO also acknowledges that there may be some
administrative underreporting of data. However, from our discussions with
SOFLO officials about their current data collection and verification
procedures, we believe the data to be sufficiently reliable.

Appendix II: Language Proficiency Levels and Requirements

The special operations forces foreign language-training program uses the
foreign language proficiency scale established by the federal Interagency
Language Roundtable.1 The scale ranks individuals' language skills in
terms of their ability to listen, read, speak, and write in a foreign
language. The scale has six basic proficiency levels, ranging from zero to
5; level zero indicates no language capability, and level 5 indicates
proficiency in the language. A plus (+) designation is added if the
proficiency substantially exceeds one skill level but does not fully meet
the criteria for the next level. Table 6 shows the language capabilities
required for each proficiency level.

1The Interagency Language Roundtable is an unfunded federal interagency
organization established for the coordination and sharing of information
about language-related activities at the federal level. It serves as the
premier way for departments and agencies of the federal government to keep
abreast of the progress and implementation of techniques and technology
for language learning, language use, language testing, and other
language-related activities.

           Appendix II: Language Proficiency Levels and Requirements

     Table 6: Foreign Language Capabilities at Proficiency Levels Language
                                 capabilitiesa

Proficiency levelb Listening Reading Speaking 0+b Understands certain
memorized Reads alphabet or high-frequency Produces telegraphic utterances
for

 utterances in areas of immediate needs with extra-linguistic cues. characters;
     recognizes some numbers and isolated words. immediate survival needs.

Understands basic survival Reads simple, predictable material Maintains
very simple utterances, simple questions and in print or type, identifies
general conversations on familiar topics; answers on familiar topics, and
topics. cannot produce continuous main ideas. discourse unless rehearsed.

Understands routine conversations Reads simple, authentic, Handles
routine, high-frequency, and discourse about familiar topics;
straightforward material on familiar limited interactions and gleans all
the facts. topics; uses contextual cues. conversations about current

events, family, and common topics.

Understands essentials Reads a variety of    Participates effectively in   
                   of all      prose on                    most               
speech; grasps opinion unfamiliar subjects             formal and informal 
                      and      that may                         conversations 
        inferences.         include opinions,  about practical, social, and   
                              hypothesis, and 
                               analysis.         professional topics within a 
                                                                       shared 
                                                         context.             

Understands all forms and styles of Reads fluently and accurately all Uses
the language fluently and
speech, even some nonstandard styles and forms; grasps full accurately for
all purposes.
dialects; develops and analyzes ramifications of texts within wider
argumentation. context.

Understands extremely difficult and Reads very difficult and abstract
Commands language with

abstract speech and how natives prose. complete flexibility and intuition;

think as they create discourse.	pronunciation consistent with that of an
educated native speaker.

Source: Federal Interagency Language Roundtable.

aLanguage proficiency levels and capabilities are based on the Interagency
Language Roundtable standards. The table does not include a description of
the capabilities for writing.

bThe 0+ exceeds the basic 0 proficiency level. Zero-level proficiency
indicates no capabilities in a foreign language.

Language proficiency levels are established for SOF personnel during the
U.S. Special Operations Command's biennial assessment of language
requirements, which is done in conjunction with geographic unified
commanders. The assessment identifies the languages, the proficiency
levels, and the number of individuals needed with these skills in the
commanders' geographic regions. Table 7 shows the required (minimum) and
the desired proficiency levels for each service component and specialty.
For example, Army SOF members who work in civil affairs and psychological
operations where they frequently interact with local populations require a
proficiency level of 2 for listening, reading, and speaking. Army Special
Forces, on the other hand, require only a level 0+ to perform their
missions, although a higher standard is desired.

Appendix II: Language Proficiency Levels and Requirements

Table 7: U.S. Special Operations Command Proficiency Standards for Service
                                   Components

                               Proficiency level
                               Requireda Desired

      Service component and specialty     Listen/Read/Speak Listen/Read/Speak 
              All/Intelligence                        2/2/2 
     U.S. Air Force Special Operations                2/2/2 
                  Command                                   
     U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command               2/2/2 
    U.S. Army Special Operations Command              2/2/2 
              (Civil Affairs)                               
    U.S. Army Special Operations Command           0+/0+/0+ 
              (Special Forces)                              
    U.S. Army Special Operations Command                    
         (Psychological Operations)                   2/2/2 

Source: Special Operations Forces Language Office.

Note: Required and desired proficiency levels were established by the
command's current assessment of SOF language requirements.

aPersonnel can meet the required proficiency by taking the Defense
Language Proficiency Test (listen/read), or an Oral Proficiency Interview
(speak) when the Defense Language Proficiency Test is not available in a
given language.

Appendix III: Status of the Language Services Contract between the U.S. Special
Operations Command and B.I.B. Consultants

In accordance with its language services contract with the U.S. Special
Operations Command, B.I.B. Consultants is providing various types of
training for special operations forces personnel at each of the command's
service components. As shown in table 8, this training ranges from
language instruction, to beginning students with no foreign language
proficiency, to those students who have acquired some proficiency. It
consists of language study conducted in a traditional classroom setting;
one-on-one instructor/student training; and total immersion training,
where students practice their language(s) in a live or virtual
environment.1 The training also includes an orientation of the customs,
culture, and common phrases for the area where the student's language is
used.

Table 8: Foreign Language Training Provided by B.I.B. Consultants Contract

      Training type             Purpose/Audience              Environment     
                       Beginning training for students         o  Traditional 
Initial acquisition that have no measurable             classroom setting. 
                        proficiency level in a particular  o  Home-based,     
                                foreign language.          one-on-one         
                                                              instruction.    

Sustainment Training for students that already o   Traditional classroom   
                        have acquired a specified           setting.          
               proficiency level and need only to o                           
                      maintain that level.           Home-based, one-on-one
                                                          instruction.        
                                                  o Live or virtual immersion 
                                                                    training. 

Enhancement Training to raise a student's proficiency level.  o 
Traditional classroom setting.

o  	Home-based, one-on-one instruction.

o  Live or virtual immersion training.

Survival/Cultural orientation 	Training to provide a basic understanding
of customs, culture,  o  Traditional classroom setting. and common phrases
for a world region. Conducted when  o  Home-based, one-on-one course
duration is highly constrained by the training time instruction.

available.  o  Live or virtual immersion training.

Source: Special Operations Forces Language Office.

During the first 9 months (October 2002 to July 2003) of the contract,
B.I.B. training varied at each of the SOF service components. For example,
from October 2002 to July 2003, B.I.B. conducted over 40 initial
acquisition language classes for more than 500 students in 13 different
languages at the Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School
at

1Total immersion in a live environment involves students' going to the
country where the language to be learned is spoken. Total immersion in a
virtual environment involves training in an isolated environment in the
United States, and only the language to be learned is spoken.

Appendix III: Status of the Language Services Contract between the U.S.
Special Operations Command and B.I.B. Consultants

Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From January through February 2003, B.I.B.
also provided initial acquisition language training for 10 students in
three languages (3 classes) at the Navy's Special Warfare Command's Group
1 at Coronado, California. According to the Air Force command language
program manager, B.I.B. is expected to start providing initial acquisition
language training for Air Force SOF personnel at Hurlburt Field, Florida,
where the Air Force recently established a language-training lab.
According to a B.I.B. contract manager, B.I.B. has also provided 16
immersion sessions in various languages for students in each of the
service components as of the end-of-July 2003 (9, 6, and 1, respectively,
for the Navy, Army, and Air Force).

According to a Special Operations Forces Language Office official,
students' proficiency scores after completing B.I.B.-taught classes at the
Army's school are about the same as those achieved under prior contracts.
Additionally, six students in an accelerated pilot class achieved scores
that met or exceeded the minimum proficiency level.2 Our review of
students' proficiency scores from all the initial acquisition classes (a
total of 22), including the Spanish pilot course that began at the Army
school during the first quarter of fiscal year 2003, showed that 6 percent
(11 students) of the 171 students did not meet the 0+ requirement for
listening and 2 percent (4 students) did not meet the 0+ requirement for
reading. (See fig. 1.) However, all of those students did meet the
alternate goal, which is to attain at least a 0+ on an Oral Proficiency
Interview. Although only a small number of Navy SOF personnel have
received training under the B.I.B. contract, a Naval Special Warfare
Command Group 1 official said that students' proficiency scores from the
first three B.I.B. initial acquisition language classes (a total of 10
students) conducted from January through February 2003 exceeded the
results of classes conducted under previous contracts.

2The accelerated pilot class in Spanish was conducted for 10 weeks instead
of the regular 18 weeks with the goal of having students achieve language
proficiency faster. B.I.B. Consultants, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy
Special Warfare Center and School, and SOFLO plan to conduct additional
accelerated pilot classes in other languages.

Appendix III: Status of the Language Services Contract between the U.S.
Special Operations Command and B.I.B. Consultants

Figure 1: Student Proficiency Score Results for Listening and Reading for
Initial Acquisition Language Courses at the Army's John F. Kennedy Special
Warfare Center and School for the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2003

Note: Percentages may not total 100 percent because of rounding.

We analyzed student end-of-course evaluations for about half of the
initial acquisition classes offered at the Army's school during the first
quarter of 2003.3 The evaluations were designed and administered by B.I.B.
Students were asked to rate their satisfaction with (1) their progress,
(2) the instructor, and (3) the usefulness of the materials. As table 9
shows, most students said they were extremely or very satisfied with their
instructor's performance. Most students also expressed some satisfaction
with their progress and the usefulness of course materials. However, it
should be noted that 13 out of 77 evaluations indicated dissatisfaction
with their progress, and 17 out of 77 evaluations also

3We requested end-of-course evaluations from all SOF language classes
conducted by B.I.B. Consultants during the first quarter of fiscal year
2003 at the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center and School, but the Army's
school provided only 77 student end-of-course evaluations for 11 (of a
total of 22) classes for 7 (of a total of 11) languages. Because we were
not able to obtain all student end-of-course evaluations, the missing
evaluations may have different responses from those that did respond and
were provided to GAO.

Appendix III: Status of the Language Services Contract between the U.S. Special
                   Operations Command and B.I.B. Consultants

indicated dissatisfaction with the usefulness of the course materials. At
the Army school, the Army, as required under the B.I.B. contract, provides
course materials.

Table 9: Student Evaluations Responses from Some Initial Acquisition SOF
Language Classes at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center
and School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, during the First Quarter of 2003

                      Initial acquisition language classes

                                          A  B  C  D  Ea F G  Hb I  J K  L  M 
         Total number of classes         22  3  1  2  1  1 2  1  2  1 2  1 
        Total number of students        180 20  7  16 7  6 16 6  24 8 21 8 41 
Number of classes with evaluations                                      
                obtained                 11  3  1  2  1  1 2  1  0  0 0  0 
     Number of evaluations obtained      77 20  7  16 7  6 15 6  0  0 0  0 

Student evaluation responsesc Student progress Extremely/Very satisfied 30 7 0 5
                                    0 5 8 5

                      Somewhat satisfied 34 6 5 10 5 1 6 1

    Not very/not at all satisfied 13 7 2 1 2 0 1 0 Instructor's performance
                  Extremely/Very satisfied 64 18 2 13 6 6 13 6

                       Somewhat satisfied 8 1 3 3 0 0 1 0

     Not very/not at all satisfied 4 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 Usefulness of materials

Extremely/Very useful 24 2 1 6 2 3 6 4

Somewhat useful 35 3 6 10 5 3 6 2

Not very/not at all useful 18 15 0 0 0 0 3 0

Sources: U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, U.S.
Army Special Operations Command (data); GAO (analysis).

Legend: A = All languages, B = Arabic, C = Korean, D = Russian, E =
Serbian, F = Turkish, G = Thai, H = Spanish pilot, I = French, J = German,
K = Indonesian, L = Pashtu, M = Spanish.

Note: We were not able to obtain student end-of-course evaluations for 11
classes in French, German, Indonesian, Spanish (other than the Spanish
pilot class), and Pashtu, and have therefore excluded these classes from
our analysis.

aOne student (in a Serbian class) did not respond to "instructor
satisfaction" question.

bSpanish pilot class was taught using an accelerated class schedule.

cStudent evaluations have been aggregated for languages where more than
one section of the same class was taught.

Appendix III: Status of the Language Services Contract between the U.S.
Special Operations Command and B.I.B. Consultants

We also analyzed student end-of-course evaluations for three classes
taught by B.I.B. at the Naval Special Warfare Command's Group 1, Coronado,
California, during the second quarter 2003.4 Unlike the Army, which used
B.I.B.'s evaluation, the Navy designed and administered its own
evaluation. In these evaluations, students were also asked to evaluate
their courses in three areas: sufficient instruction time; instructor's
ability to effectively teach, and the quality of instructional material.
As table 10 indicates, all responses rated the three areas as "excellent
or good," with the exception of the Indonesian class where two out of
three students rated the "quality of materials" as "average." Although
only one of the three classes used B.I.B. course materials as required by
the contract, classes that started in July 2003 are using the
B.I.B.-provided materials.

4We requested student end-of-course evaluations for all classes conducted
at the Naval Special Warfare Command's Group 1 by B.I.B. in the second
quarter of fiscal year 2003. We received evaluations for 9 students (of a
total of 10) from three classes across three languages.

Appendix III: Status of the Language Services Contract between the U.S. Special
                   Operations Command and B.I.B. Consultants

Table 10: Student Evaluations Responses from Initial Acquisition SOF
Language Classes at Naval Special Warfare Command, Group I, Coronado,
California, during the Second Quarter of 2003

                      Initial acquisition language classes

                                     All languages Frencha Indonesian Tagalog 
           Number of classes                     3       1          1 
          Number of students                    10       4          4 
        Number of classes with                   3       1          1 
         evaluations obtained                                         
    Number of evaluations obtained               9       4          3 

                          Student evaluation responses

                          Sufficient instruction time

Excellent/good 8 3 3

Average 0 0 0

Fair/poor 0 0 0

                            Instructor's performance

Excellent/good 9 4 3

Average 0 0 0

Fair/poor 0 0 0

                              Quality of materials

Excellent/good 7 4 1

Average 2 0 2 0 Fair/poor 0 0 0 0

Sources: Naval Special Warfare Command, Group I, Coronado, Calif., (data);
GAO (analysis).

aOne student did not respond to the question, "sufficient instruction
time."

We did not review student evaluations at the U.S. Air Force Special
Operations Command because no classes were completed during the time we
conducted our work.

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Defense

Note: Comments were received from the Department of Defense on September
26, 2003.

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Defense

Note: Page numbers in the draft report may differ from those in this
report.

Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Defense

Appendix V: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments

Contact Clifton E. Spruill (202) 512-4531

Acknowledgments 	In addition to the individual named above, Mark J.
Wielgoszynski, Marie A. Mak, Corinna A. Wengryn, Nancy L. Benco, and
Deborah Long made key contributions to this report.

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