Does the US Army Value ROTC Cadets who Specialize in foreign languages?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Gabriel, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Gabriel

    Gabriel Member

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    Hello again,

    Since I discovered last month that I was accepted into American University, I am now seriously considering switching my presumed major from "Philosophy" to "International Relations". Not that there's anything particularly wrong with philosophy, but I honestly feel deep down I'll enjoy IR much more than Philosophy, and might potentially be able to do more career-wise in IR if I choose to stick in the Army as a career. I am also aware that critical languages are important choices, and so 'm looking to concentrate in Russian should I choose this pathway.

    If I choose to concentrate in International Studies/International Relations, how will my career be impacted? I'd like to be able to eventually become a foreign areas officer, or eventually be able to move into work for state department, homeland security, or some career in the government. However, I don't know what level of education the army values for IR majors such as bachelors, masters, or PhDs.

    Ff there's anyone who has experience on this matter, what would be the best pathway for me? Again, it's always great to hear any advice that could help steer me in the right direction.

    Thanks!

    Edit: As a side note for those of you who saw my last thread for "What's my Best Pathway for the Army" I had pointed out I was interested in gaining a law degree. This is still the case. However, I may now me interested in using my undergraduate degree in international relations as a means towards pursing international law with a dual degree program at American University. If you'd like to provide further advice or insight on that front, here is the link to their dual degree program at the college.

    - https://www.wcl.american.edu/admiss/jdma/
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Somewhat :topic:

    I've always said that your major dictates the questions you ask the rest of your life. If you're an accounting major you ask "How much does it cost?". If you're an engineering major you ask, "How does it work?". If you're a Philosophy major you ask, "Do you want fries with that?". I think you're making a wise decision.... and if it doesn't pan out you can at least ask that last question in Russian, somewhere in Moscow. :D Sorry, couldn't help myself. I now return this thread to it's previously scheduled programming.
     
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  3. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I honestly think that what you choose for your major will have less impact on your ARMY career than how WELL you do in school and in AROTC. Your military career will depend on your OML rank as it will dictate your branch selection which CAN affect your post-military career (but not necessarily).

    If you thrive in school get good grades, and max the APFT, you will have more choices when you commission. As an IR major, you might want to explore MI, AG, or Civil Affairs. (Or you may want 11B)

    No matter what your major, once you become a civilian again, you can choose to go to law school. Your law school selection will have a big impact on your starting salary. The law school will heavily depend on the LSAT and your Undergraduate GPA.

    But there will be a LOT of APFT's, long ruck marches and crawling through the mud before you take the LSAT.

    One step at a time.
     
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  4. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    IR is a fine degree, it won't matter much as far as the Army is concerned. Learning Russian is great, if you branch MI it could even be of some use but it won't be a big factor when it comes to branching.

    FAO is something that is way down the road, you will be Captain for a while before you have the chance to apply.

    One thing where your Russian and IR degree would be a plus would be is once you are 1LT promotable you would be able to apply for Civil Affairs, speaking Russian would be a plus and they would probably select Russian as your required language, the IR degree would be helpful in this branch as well. Of course you would still need to be accepted and make it through Selection and then be Selected. CA would be a good path if you are looking at work in the Diplomatic Corps after you get out of the Army.

    As AROTC-dad mentioned, there is a lot to get through before you will need to make any decisions, once you commission there are lots of opportunities for good officers, you just need to keep your eyes and options open for what comes available.

    First and foremost, do well in whatever major you select and do well in ROTC, so you give yourself all the options available, one step at a time.
     
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  5. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    The Army does value critical languages and Russian would be one of them. If you have an ILR ranting (proficiency rating) of 2 or more you U can be eligible for higher pay once you commission, but that could be job dependent. Check out Project GO for next summer, it is a DOD scholarship program for critical language and all ROTC Cadets regardless of service can apply and they will pay all costs for you to learn a foreign language domestically or overseas during your summer break.

    http://www.rotcprojectgo.org/
     
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  6. nofodad

    nofodad 5-Year Member

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    My most memorable classes from undergrad were philosophy...but it wasn't my major. IR is a good choice (particularly at AU) not necessarily for the Army but for your stated life's goals. My DS graduated and commissioned from AU, and was an IR major. At AU as an IR major you'll need to pick a region to specialize in...may I suggest Russia? Your path is similar to what DS would like to do. He met many FAOs in Stuttgart during his internship there and really enjoyed the work he did there. Btw he branched MI with and AR detail and is at Benning now just about finishing up phase one of ABOLC. All that being said...its' good to have a plan but don't get too bogged down in the details. Remain flexible.

    Above all Grades, PT, activities...all the planning will be worthless if you lose sight of those.
     
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  7. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    Funny, my DD's favorite class so far has been philosophy, she is a nursing major. I was a public policy major for my undergrad and I too enjoyed my philosophy classes the most. Even my husband who was a finance major says philosophy was his favorite. Not sure we would of all felt that way taking more of a year of it though!
     
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  8. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    If you combine the previous posts, you will have a good answer. You are entering the years where you will discover the answer to that question. If you join xROTC those opportunities to discover will multiply. There is literally no telling where you'll end up five years from now.

    In some ways, I think kinnem, without knowing it, gave you the best answer with regard to language skills. Facility with or even fluency in a language by itself will get you very little in the way of career advancement. Don't get me wrong. Learning another language is valuable for a hundred other reasons: developing critical reasoning/problem solving, preventing you from getting ripped off by a cab driver, the shear enjoyment of having that many more folks to meet and learn from. However, there are plenty of US citizens with mother tongues other than English, who can pass a background check and drug test. You will advance in the Army or business or academia based on your competency in the skill sets those professions demand. The language skills differentiate you from others competing for the same spots, but don't make up for other deficiencies.

    The path of my DS, who commissioned in May 2015 through AROTC, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. What I wrote above was beaten into him the moment he discovered another language.

    He spent his junior year of High School in Brazil knowing no Portuguese. He lived with a family and went to a school where no English was spoken. When he returned, he bluffed his way through AP Spanish after never having a Spanish class in his life. He took a gap year in Taiwan under the same circumstances as in Brazil. He went off the college to major in Chem E. Second semester freshman year he had an opening on his schedule and took Italian, knowing it would be easy since he knew 95% of the grammar form Portuguese and Spanish. It also got him extra pizza at a pizza joint near campus. He joined the Chinese Student's Association where his blond hair and blue eyes made him a celebrity. It allowed him to keep up his Mandarin chops.

    Sophomore year, he changed his major from Chem E to Chemistry in order to free his schedule for Computer Science classes. With the help of a Russian speaking fraternity brother and some Polish from mom, he passed a Russian language test and got a Projectgo scholarship to study Russian in Kiev. When senior year rolled around he had room in his schedule to study Arabic, which he jumped into feet first. He took every language proficiency test the Army would allow. He finished with a good GPA, a 300 APFT, and a high OML. Those three criteria, not the language skills, allowed him to go Active Duty, get his first choice of branch, Signal Corps (communications) and a duty station in the ME.

    Today he is a glorified cable company guy overseeing a team of enlisted trench diggers, cable pullers and technical guys. Chemistry? What's Chemistry? He never misses the chance to chat it up with the Egyptian lunch lady working in the DFAC or the kebab guy in the souk. It's fun to polish up the Arabic, but he never forgets why he is there, who he works for and why they paid for his education. He has recently gotten some interesting and challenging assignments off base. Those opportunities came as a result of the performance of his platoon. His knowing Arabic was not the reason he received those assignments but it was/is very helpful for the folks he is working for. They have since put in a transfer request for him when he returns to the US, based on his proven technical skills, but also because of his fluency in Portuguese and Spanish.

    By all means, go for it with languages, but you need another basic skill set to move you from points A to B.

    Best of luck!

    BTW A loooong time ago, I chose GWU over American U because I could see the White House complex out of the front door of the Freshman dorm. I graduated with a degree in IR with a USSR, Eastern Europe concentration, and studied four years of Russian and German. Outside of School, the Russian was really only useful in wooing my future Polish wife who spoke no English at the time.
     
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  9. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    +1
     
  10. Gabriel

    Gabriel Member

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    Ran into a roadblock question for myself over the past few days. Really hoping someone can help.

    I've been searching the internet for a while now and haven't been able to find much on the CLIP Program for ROTC cadets. According to a 2008-09 Army Source, studying Russian at the time wasn't available with CLIP. However, as of 2016 the FLPB language list now provides Russian as a payment "A" language.

    Links are here: -
    FLPB Link: https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus
    2008-09 Link:https://rotc.appstate.edu/sites/rot...mentation_Guidance_Language_Incentive_Pay.pdf

    Does anyone know whether Russian is now covered as a provided language? I'd really like to be able to study Russian in college enrolled in ROTC while doing CLIP.

    Thanks!
     
  11. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, CLIP-B payments were discontinued several years ago. I remember DS saying something about losing them.
     
  12. Gabriel

    Gabriel Member

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    Looked into that. It appears it was temporarily shut down, but was restarted again. Apparently to reddit rotc anyway
     
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  13. ProudDad17

    ProudDad17 Member

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    Thanks for this info on Project GO. My DS is starting NROTC in the fall and we were just talking about what he would be doing in the summers other than his summer cruises. This sounds like something he might be interested in.
     
  14. bman

    bman Member

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    DD spent a summer overseas with Project GO, but she was a college programmer and not eligible for summer cruise until after her junior year. It would be difficult to do Project GO and summer cruise both as they would likely overlap.
     
  15. ProudDad17

    ProudDad17 Member

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    Thanks for that update. I was hoping he could swing both if he decided he was interested, but that makes sense.