About Us

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.

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

2019 MEMBERSHIP 10K STRONG NLSC Membership exceeds 10,000 2017 NLSC celebrates over 8,800 members supporting more than 420 languages. NY MEMBER REGION 2014 NLSC launches fourth member region in New York President Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act which authorizes the Secretary of Defense to establish the NLSC as a part of a permanent organization. NLSC LEGISLATED 2013 NLSC launches second member region in Honolulu SECOND MEMBER REGION 2012 2011 FIRST MEMBER REGION NLSC launches its first member region in Washington DC 2009 FIRST ASSIGNMENT NLSC's first assignment deploying members RECRUITING BEGINS NLSC begins actively recruiting members DoD launches congressionally directed and authorized Language Corps Pilot program. NLSC LAUNCHED FIRST INTERNATIONAL MEMBER REGION 2015 NLSC launches its first international member region in Germany
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 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!