Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Susan S. Wadley


language training, linguistics, military, ROTC, sociolinguistics

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


This thesis serves to substantiate the critical importance of language and cultural training for our nation’s military leaders, particularly those in the U.S. Army, in the ever-changing global security environment. Beginning with an overview of the inseparable relationship between language, culture, and society, the first chapter introduces this study surrounding two Army Reserve Officer Training Corps training programs that focus their attention on developing leaders capable of transcending linguistic and cultural boundaries. The second chapter presents a case study of post 9/11 military operational deficiencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and delves into current Department of Defense (DoD) and Army policy surrounding language and cultural training for our armed forces. The following three chapters outline in depth the two programs in question - Project Global Officer (Project GO) and the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program - and analyze their progress towards meeting DoD targets for language capabilities. These chapters include surveys and interviews with past program participants from Syracuse University, as well as select ROTC staff members, in order to analyze the programs’ viability moving forward. Finally, by considering the current ongoing operations of the U.S. military, the final chapter brings into focus the importance of language and cultural training as a strategic necessity for an adaptive and responsive joint force in the 21st century.


Open Access



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