Today, and in the foreseeable future, military operations require U.S. personnel to work alongside multinational partners and among local populations. The Department of Defense (DOD) has placed a greater emphasis on transforming language and regional proficiency capabilities, which includes cultural awareness. GAO's prior work has found that integrated strategic plans with measurable goals and funding priorities linked to goals can help guide organizational transformations. Decision makers also require complete information to identify capability gaps and assess risk. This testimony summarizes GAO's prior work and recommendations on DOD's efforts to develop language skills and regional proficiency and the steps DOD has taken to implement our prior recommendations. Specifically, it addresses the extent to which DOD has (1) developed a strategic plan to guide its language and regional proficiency transformation efforts and (2) obtained the information it needs to identify capability gaps and assess risk. GAO's statement is based on a June 2009 report and work conducted during May 2010 through June 2010 to update the status of GAO's recommendations.
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