The U.S. military’s shift in resources squarely toward China and Russia continues to make its mark on Monterey’s military installations. Last week, the Naval Postgraduate School confirmed it will cut its budget as the Navy seeks to bolster its fleet against a rising threat of China’s forces in the South Pacific. Now the U.S. Army’s premiere language school, the Defense Language Institute, is preparing to cut at least one department, Hebrew, at the Presidio.
The Hebrew program will be phased out over the next year, confirms Natela Cutter, a DLI spokesperson. The military is in less need of soldiers who can speak and write Hebrew, which triggered the cut.
According to Steven Collins, DLI’s chief of staff, a language must be able to sustain a teaching team of six instructors, which requires at least 18 students on a constant basis. The military indicated it’s not going to send any more Hebrew students to Monterey. Instead, the few students who need to learn Hebrew will be taught by contractors that work through DLI’s Washington, D.C. branch.
There are currently about a dozen Hebrew instructors employed by DLI. They will be able to apply for jobs within other divisions, such as curriculum and faculty development or in educational technology or testing. “It’s important to note that our overall number of faculty and staff remains the same, just our language mix is changing. So overall the net change is zero,” Collins said in a written statement.
Sources in other language departments say they have been notified of coming cuts, such as a reduction from 12 to eight Japanese instructors.
There may be more cuts looming, but the school is “not closing any more departments at this time,” Cutter writes by email.
Collins adds in a statement, “We will continue to have students being taught in more than 14 languages and dialects, including Russian and Chinese, and other languages of interest to the Department of Defense.”