The NLSC is America’s premier all-volunteer group of 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.
To foster a large, global cadre of highly qualified linguists to serve Federal Government agencies.
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.
In 2007, the DoD launched the National Language Service Corps (NLSC) as a pilot program to identify and recruit 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 414 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 NLSC’s contributions and efforts. On the NLSC’s 10th anniversary in 2017, the National Security Education Program recognized the program’s expanding breadth of support, noting 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, 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 meet the increasing need for professionals with language skills, the NLSC extended its support beyond DoD organizations to all Federal Government agencies in 2018. That same year, the NLSC celebrated more than 10,000 hours of support provided. In 2019, the NLSC began supporting interagency partners, establishing 20 partnerships. By 2020, the NLSC had more than 10,000 members. Currently, the NLSC has established 48 partnerships and counting!