NLSC is an initiative of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO)
About Us

The National Language Service Corps (NLSC) is America’s premier group of volunteer language professionals, serving language needs across the Federal Government at home and abroad. Learn what the NLSC is, what we do, and why we serve in this video.

Mission Statement

To foster a large, global cadre of highly qualified linguists to serve Federal Government agencies.

Vision Statement

To improve Federal Government agencies’ readiness to respond quickly and accurately to national security events, domestic or foreign disasters, and non-emergency surge activities that require language expertise to improve the security and welfare of the nation.

NLSC Regions
Pacific Northwest Region Southwest Region Hawaii & Western Pacific Region Midwest Region Mountain Region Great Lakes Region Southern Region Mid-Atlantic Region Southeast Region Northeast Region Eurasia & Africa Region New England Region

Our History

Following the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) embraced a new operational approach committed to improving language and dialect capabilities, developing a cadre of regional and cultural experts, and establishing a surge capability to expand its language capabilities on short notice.

In 2007, the DoD launched the National Language Service Corps (NLSC) as a pilot program that identifies and recruits on-call, volunteer language specialists to obtain necessary language support. Initially, the NLSC aimed to maintain a pool of language professionals proficient in 10 languages. Since then, the NLSC has expanded its capabilities to support over 540 languages and dialects. Regional events for members began in 2011, and by 2015, membership reached well over 5,000 members. That same year, the NLSC established a global presence, expanding its scope of support.

Within the last five years, external stakeholders have recognized the impact of the NLSC’s contributions and efforts. On the NLSC’s 10th anniversary, the National Security Education Program noted that “the NLSC is experiencing a growing role in providing support with members who not only have language expertise, but also domain, regional, and cultural expertise.” In 2018, the U.S. Congress commended the NLSC for “the significant contributions . . . and efforts to respond rapidly to assist U.S. Departments and agencies to fulfill a wide range of foreign language needs.” NLSC members have proven to be a vital national asset to support training, combat operations, disaster relief, international emergency response, and coalition building.

To continue to meet the increasing need for professionals with language skills, the NLSC extended its support to all Federal Government agencies in 2018 beyond DoD organizations. That same year, the NLSC celebrated providing more than 10,000 hours of support. In 2019, the NLSC began supporting interagency partners, reaching 20 established partnerships. By 2023, the NLSC reached 12,000 members. Currently, the NLSC has established more than 70 partnerships!

The DoD unveils the congressionally directed Language Corps Pilot Program.
The NLSC grows its membership to 1,000 volunteers and conducts its first mission.

The NLSC begins offering regional events for members.
The NLSC grows its membership to 5,000 language volunteers.
The NLSC launches its first international member region in Germany.
The NLSC celebrates its 10th year of supporting language needs.

The NLSC reaches 10,000 hours of support.
The NLSC reaches 10,000 members and supports its first non-DoD partner.
The NLSC provides nationwide interpretation support for Covid-19 testing.
15 NLSC members provide interpretation support across 2 sites for 3 months
66 NLSC members provide multilingual election monitoring at 26 polling stations across the country.
The NLSC reaches 12,000 members and 100,000 hours of support.