June 20th, 2007 04:27 EST
Department of State's Goal for Arabic Speakers
Question: Does the State Department have a specific goal for the number of Arabic speakers it would like to have?
Answer: We have calculated that we need to retain at least 2.5 Arabic speaking employees for every 1 Arabic Language Designated Position (LDP). Using this calculation, the State Department needs to employ approximately 547 Foreign Service Officers with Arabic language skills in order to fill the existing 219 LDPs.
These numbers are based on the facts that not all Arabic speaking employees will always be serving in an Arabic LDP, many of the LDPs need to be filled every year, and others must be filled every other year.
Once we achieve our goal, Arabic speaking employees would expect to spend 40% of their time in Arabic LDPs.
One of the ways the State Department is addressing this deficit is through a new initiative which immediately considers any employee, no matter their current assignment, for Arabic language training beginning this September.
Office of the Spokesman