Dear Chairman Drier, Vice Chairman Sessions, and Ranking Member Slaughter
Foreign language skills and knowledge about cultures are core capabilities essential for our Intelligence Community and for our nation. This knowledge is essential because it helps us:
* understand the behavior of our potential adversaries, and
* develop potential allies
The traditional mission of the Intelligence Community has undergone many changes and the community has had to invest in new tools and develop creative ways to train its men and women.
Foreign language and culture training, of course, must remain an essential part of developing and advancing the expertise of our intelligence professionals.
There is a relatively new type of analyst in the Intelligence Community -it is the cyber analyst who is involved in cyber security and cyber deterrence whose traditional training focuses on computers and networks. However, cyber security goes beyond ones and zeros.
There are some aspects of foreign language and cultural knowledge that should be part of the cyber analysts' toolkit. Why? Because the Intelligence Community needs to understand the plans and intentions of foreign actors to help prevent attacks against the United States, and keep us from retaliating against
the wrong party.
Therefore, those assigned to lead the development of tools and training for cyber analysts should take int~ consideration foreign languages and cultures at the planning and implementation stages.
As a former CIA Director once said, foreign language and culture training is "essential to our ability not only to protect our security, but frankly to be a nation that is well educated ... One cannot be a good intelligence analyst or operations guy without knowing languages."
(Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, August 2011)
My amendment will not cause undue burden to the Intelligence Community. It will serve as an essential reminder to those whose decisions impact training and tool development to remember the value and importance of foreign languages and cultural knowledge in all aspects of the intelligence mission.
In the spirit of bolstering the ability of our Intelligence Community to protect our nation's security in the cyber world, I offer my amendment to H.R. 5743, and request that it be made part of a Manager's Amendment if possible.