DLIELC Resumes MTTs after COVID-19 Pause

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  • DLIELC Resumes MTTs after COVID-19 Pause

On 19 March 2020, the Department of State (DOS) advised US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In response to the level 4 global health advisory, the closing of international borders, and the cancelations of international flights, DLIELC personnel on OCONUS mobile training teams (MTTs) repatriated. On 6 August 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the DOS lifted the global level 4 health advisory and returned to a country-specific level advisory system. 

During this period of pause for OCONUS MTTs, DLIELC has remained committed to assisting security cooperation partners to build their English language capacity through the fulfillment of American Language Course (ALC) book orders, English language labs, and providing training to international military students (IMSs) at the resident campus and at three Language Training Detachment (LTD) sites in Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. 

In line with the 2017 National Security Strategy to maintain a forward presence and with the 2018 National Defense Strategy to deepen interoperability, DLIELC’s 637th International Support Squadron (ISS) is working closely with US Security Cooperation partners to ascertain local travel restrictions and to ensure health and safety protocols of MTT sites. The health and safety of cadres are paramount for DLIELC leadership regarding requests for OCONUS MTTs. 

Saudi Arabia MTTs to Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam are set to depart later this year and continue into the spring. INDOPACOM assignments to Komaki, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand are also moving ahead and MTTs will begin to deploy in fall of 2020. English language training teams to the Indo-Pacific region would support the networked security architecture and the greater pivot to Asia. 

Aside from the 7-month COVID-19 pause, the MTT to Komaki has been a recurring assignment providing English language training (ELT) support to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) student pilots. The training mission aims to build the conversational skills of the Japanese pilots and prepare them for the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) listening and speaking assessment. Passing OPI scores qualify Japanese pilots to participate in red flag training exercises for joint readiness and interoperability. 

The last DLIELC MTT to Thailand was in 2013 prior to the 2014 Thai coup d'├ętat. The 2017 National Security Strategy stresses the importance of re-energizing the US alliance with Thailand. The upcoming MTT to Bangkok would reinvigorate this alliance by training host nation ELT managers and instructional staff on the use of ALC materials. The Bangkok MTT will provide in-country workshops at the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) Service Language Institutes and the RTAF Service language academies. By training the Thai trainers, DLIELC becomes a key security cooperation driver in meeting the objective of encouraging coalition partners to share burdens under a strong defense network.