Albright, Hagel: Language cuts endanger U.S.
By Madeleine Albright and Chuck Hagel
July 15, 2011
Our years of work in diplomacy and national security have made very clear to both of us the critical need to maintain and expand the cadre of Americans who have studied the history and politics of countries who affect our well-being. Specifically, the United States' ability to both confront challenges and exploit opportunities relies heavily on Americans being able to understand and speak less commonly taught languages.
We believe that a grievous last-minute mistake was made when funding for International Education and Foreign Language Studies was cut for this fiscal year. In the context of billions and even trillions of cuts being discussed, a $50 million reduction sounds insignificant. But this particular $50 million cut from the Department of Education's budget amounted to a 40% reduction in the relatively small account that supports these programs at higher education institutions across the U.S. This is a dramatic cut that will have long-lasting and serious consequences — it not only threatens the nation's diplomatic, intelligence, and national security capacities, but also our ability to maximize our competitiveness in global markets. This cut was a last-minute decision made with the specter of a government shutdown hanging over it.
Read the full opinion piece at http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-07-15-albright-hagel-foreign-languages-budget-cuts_n.htm