Russian Language Journal


United States, language, education, government


The less commonly taught languages in the United States are often those most critical to national security. How, then, can the number of students learning these languages be increased, and how can high-­‐‑quality instructors be produced to teach these languages? Having determined that foreign language skills are essential to diplomacy, economic competitiveness, and the security interests of the U.S., the Secretaries of State, Education, and Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence coordinated their efforts to expand language education beginning in kindergarten and continuing through elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education and into the workforce (United States Department of Education, 2008). STARTALK is the U.S. government’s most recent effort to address these issues. Sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, STARTALK is one outcome of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), a presidential initiative begun in January 2006 to increase the number of Americans learning critical need foreign languages. The National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) has been the sole contractor for implementation of this project since its inception.