Important Topics

Main Page | About This Page | Regulatory Guidance | Language Maintenance Resources | Major Changes Coming Eff. Feb 14! | History of Linguists | Becoming an Army Linguist | Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus | Re-classifying into 35P via DA 4187 | 35P MOS Requirements| Re-certification of DLPT While Deployed | Failing Your DLPT| Language Difficulty Categories / Minimum DLAB Scores | Foreign Language Codes | Acronyms | In Memory of Fallen Linguists | Ask a Question / Provide Site Feedback

This is NOT an official Army-sanctioned webpage. This is just an NCO trying to help other Soldiers out. Whatever my opinions are on here are not to be considered the opinions of the Army, or even considered fact. All information presented should be double-checked with your CLPM and Retention NCO/Recruiter, or double-checked in the Army Regulation or message provided. Despite my best efforts and collaboration with other NCOs, I am sometimes wrong and you shouldn't base your enlistment/re-enlistment solely on what I have to say, but rather use this information as a base for your research.

Friday, September 28, 2012

More information on being a linguist

A reader has asked me to share a link to their page which has a lot of information about being a linguist as well.

If you have a page you would like me to share, or if you would consider sharing my page, please leave a comment below.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ask your questions here! Open forum!

Here I am going to start answering questions rather than having people email me, so that:

1) I can cut back on spam to my AKO. My email being posted here as a mailto: link allows spam bots to "farm" my email. Stupid spammers.

2) Others can see your questions.

So you can post your question here and I will answer it as soon as I can. If the question is popular or good enough it will appear in the Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you clicked on an email link and it brought you here, this is why.

Anyhow, enjoy and please feel free to ask questions. Please read the frequently asked questions page.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions (Please Read Before Posting a Question)

I get a lot - a LOT - of questions emailed to me on a regular basis, and many of them are very similar. So please check this out before posting a new questions, to see if your question has already been asked. Unfortunately, many of the questions on this page are things that I can't really answer. While I don't mind fielding questions, unfortunately I'm no where near an expert in every field nor can I speak intelligently on every topic.

If you still don't see your question answered here, please visit the "ask a question" page.

List of current questions (click on them to be taken to the Q/A):

o Will [insert financial problem or criminal problem] prevent me from getting a security clearance?
Can I live off post at the Defense Language Institute?
o Can you tell me the daily scope of duties of a 35P?
o Can I get a waiver for [insert medical condition or some other pre-requisite for the MOS]?
o Questions about re-enlisting for DLI as a 35M (from a public forum, answered here)
o What is life like at DLI?
o What happens if I fail my DLPT?
o What are the minimum requirements for MOS 35P?

Q: Will [insert financial problem or criminal problem] prevent me from getting a security clearance?
A: Honestly, it's hard to say. There aren't TOO many hard and fast rules that stipulate that you absolutely will not get a clearance if you do this or that. I will tell you that doing drugs, especially heavier drugs while already possessing a security clearance will pretty much guarantee that you won't get renewed or upgraded.

The key to getting a security clearance is to tell the truth. I can tell you that I got a clearance having smoked marijuana in high school a few times. However, I know of some people that smoked quite often, every day at least once, for several years, and were denied.

Questions like this should really be directed to your SSO at brigade level or higher. Have your S2 put you in contact with them. If you are a new recruit, talk to the SSO at MEPS. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, allow anyone in the recruitment process to get you to lie on your security clearance form.

Q: Can I live off post at the Defense Language Institute? A: I haven't lived there in almost eight years, and can't possibly speak for them as to whether or not you will find yourself living off or on base. If you are married you will obviously live off base either in private housing or the "government" private housing located on Fort Ord. If you are single and the rank of SSG (E6) and above, you SHOULD be living off base per DoD regulations. However, if you are single SGT and below, I have no idea.

Q: Can you tell me the daily scope of duties of a 35P? A. Nope. Sorry, I'm a 35M and never really been in a unit with 35Ps. I don't know what they do all day long. Hopefully someone can come by and tell us.

Q. Can I get a waiver for [insert medical condition or some other pre-requisite for the MOS]? A. Honestly, the best person to ask is your recruiter or retention NCO. Waivers are usually handed down from Army G1 or the MI Branch itself, which means that sort of stuff is way above my head and pay grade. For example, lately I have been getting questions about waivers to BEAR program ages and vision requirements, etc. I can only comment on what the minimum pre-reqs are, not what waivers can be granted. If you need a waiver for your color vision, for example, you will need to ask the recruiter/MEPS/retention office because I don't deal with that and don't want to steer you in the wrong direction.

Q. [From a public forum] back in the day, they sent 35M to language school. other intel fields understand that 35M are much better with a language. Why cannot 35M re-up for DLI currently? Is this policy gonna change anytime soon? I'm trying to BEAR to 35P to get a language, but I'm gonna miss my current MOS...

A. 35M are not much use with a language to be honest, at least in the current structure of the Army, for several reasons.

1) 35M are not slotted by language. So the Army can spend $250,000 or more to send you to language school for Arabic, and then you turn around and deploy to Afghanistan where Arabic is *almost* completely worthless.

2) To piggy back off the first comment, imagine all that but now you are out of the loop for 1-2 years of training. That pipeline is way long for someone who isn't even going to be slotted by language.

3) 35M rarely use the language as the day-to-day operations. Furthermore, we usually get stationed at FORSCOM line units where even though the language regulation states that you will have a command language rarely happens. Resulting in wasted money spent, time out of the loop, and then the language falls by the wayside anyhow. It's different with 35P as they can do their job from the States whereas in most cases we cannot unless you have very advanced training. Take me for example. I've been a Persian-Farsi linguist since 2004-2005. I had one unit send me to language school for refresher. Never another unit has done that. I don't get to use it here. So I'm left trying to practice with notecards on my phone/iPod. I don't do too shabby, but I alternate between doing ok and failing the DLPT depending on how much time I have to study in my off time. It's always a question of whether or not I will pass. And I know my skills are better than my test scores indicate, but the newest DLPT (V) is super difficult, even for native speakers in some languages. So the last test I got a 1+/2+.

4) Even if we are a 3/3 linguist (which I was when I left the school house and for several years afterwards) the language skills simply aren't good enough to conduct interrogations or source operations without an interpreter because the nuances are too high. Now, don't get me wrong, my language has helped me immensely...but it's mainly for double checking interpreters, understanding parts of conversations cutting back on time spent on the translation, reading documents, etc. But it's not enough that I would feel comfortable by myself. So now the Army pays a quarter million, has you out of the loop for about 1.5-2 years, and still has to hire an interpreter at about 100-200k a pop depending on security clearance.

Being an Army linguist is so friggin' frustrating due to the lack of support (it takes 3-4 MONTHS just to get a DLPT here at Fort Bliss, and they only give you from 0800-1300 to do BOTH portions usually) that I created a blog (see below - although this post isn't a plug for my blog).

I don't see the regulation changing anytime soon for several reasons.

1) It's too expensive. We are in a time where our government can't even balance a damn budget. It's super expensive to send someone to school in HOPES that they pass.

2) There's too many of us now. When I re-classified in mid-2004 there were probably less than 500 of us 97Es (now 35M) at the time in the entire Army if I had to guess. Now they pump a ridiculous amount through the school house each year (something like 1000 or more I don't know the exact number). I don't know what our total current end strength is at this point in the game, but imagine if you took my point #1 and combined it with the fact that everyone would want to go and immediately re-enlist for it. First off that could hinder the Army's goal to eliminate troops to save money, and two imagine how many millions it would cost if even 1,000 of the people re-enlisted for DLI suddenly.

All that being said, they recently re-instated the requirement for 35Ms to pass the DLAB when joining the military. So it does seem as if we are stepping in that direction eventually, but if I had to guess (and this is just one senior NCOs' opinion) it will only happen after all the fat is trimmed and all the cutbacks in the DoD budget are finished.

Q. What is life like at DLI?
A. I actually already have a post about this on the blog. Click here.

MOS 35M now requires a passing DLAB score once again; does NOT require a language (yet/still)

So, what do you think this means about the future of 35Ms??? Will they bring back the language requirement or do you think this is just to weed out recruits? Or is it for a potential future re-enlistment incentive?  Your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have questions, please feel free to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

141600 June 2012 (EST) USAREC MESSAGE 12-167

SUBJECT: New Requirements for MOS 35M Regular Army (RA) and Army Reserve (AR)

1. THIS IS AN IMMEDIATE MESSAGE, and is valid for 2 years from date of
publication unless rescinded or superseded.

2. References:

a. USAREC Regulation 601-96, Enlistment, Accessions and Processing
Procedures, 08 DEC 2009.

b. AR 611-21 Military Occupational Classification and Structure located in
the Human Resources Command (HRC) SMARTBOOK.

c. USAREC Message 11-155, Revision of Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)
35M (Human Intelligence Collector), dated 3 May 2011.

3. The purpose of this message is to announce a revision to qualifications for
MOS 35M. This message will also outline the policy to convert the temporary
reservation to permanent.

4. Summary of significant changes for MOS 35M:

a. Language Capable Eligibility:

(1) Must have a minimum qualifying score of 95 or higher on the Defense
Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) at the time of enlistment.

(2) No exceptions to policy for DLAB scores below 95 are authorized.

(3) No exceptions to policy to enlist pending a DLAB are authorized.

b. The effective date of this revision for new accessions into MOS 35M is
18 June 2012.

5. Future Soldiers that enlisted into the Future Soldier Training Program for
MOS 35M prior to the effective date of 18 June 2012 will be grandfathered and
can continue to ship without a DLAB. Current FSR2 reservations for 35M can be
converted to permanent without a DLAB up until 18 June 2012.

6. Recruiters utilizing FSR2 will be able to see training opportunities
provided the applicant is a US Citizen, and has a 101 or higher ST score.
Reservations cannot be converted to permanent without a 95 DLAB or higher.

Fred W. Johnson, COL, GS, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Current Linguist Re-up Bonus Info

Here is the most current link for the bonus information for re-enlistment:

Bonus Messages from

You can get some serious cash for being a linguist!!! If you are a 3/3 you can receive an extra 7500 dollars on top of everything else!!!

Mostly only 35P on the list. :(

If you have questions, please feel free to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.