Command Language Program Manager Frequently Asked Questions

This list of frequently asked questions was compiled to assist leaders and Command Language Program Managers (CLPM) in managing their Command Language Programs. Professional linguists and other individuals who want to maintain or enhance their global language skills, or who are interested in increasing their proficiency or learning a new language will also benefit.


Command Language Program Managers

Language Professionals/Linguists



The single most significant characteristic of a highly successful Command Language Program (CLP) is command support—the degree of support provided to the program by the commander and, by extension, the rest of the chain of command, is critical to program success. The following questions address both command-level issues and the day-to-day aspects of operational support of an effective CLP.  

Q: Where can I find Service-specific guidance to manage my Command Language Program?

A: Each Service has Service-specific guidance. Refer to the following links:



Air Force


Coast Guard


USSOCOM Directive 350-17. Contact to obtain a copy.  

Q: Where can I find DoD-level guidance concerning official oversight of Command Language Program and Command Language Program Management for Commanders and CLPMs?

A: The most current versions of the following DoD Directive and Instructions are available on the DoD Issuances website at: Click here, or click the direct links below:

Q: As a leader with language billets, what are my responsibilities?

A: “The Military Service Chiefs, under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretaries of the Military Departments, will ensure commands or units with foreign language coded billets establish a command language program and designate a CLPM.” (DODI 1560.70, section 11). Military organizations with (civilian or military) language professionals assigned are required to appoint a Command Language Program Manager (CLPM) with a specified job description who is tasked with assisting military linguist personnel in maintaining their language capabilities. In units with smaller linguist populations, the CLPM will be identified on additional duty appointment orders. The CLPM should have an academic background and/or experience in foreign language education and related areas. Unit CLPMs should attend the annual Advanced CLPM workshop (00ZZ-A) (or: “Remain current on foreign language issues through continued contact with the appropriate CLPM community and periodic refresher training at the DLIFLC-sponsored DLIFLC CLPM Workshop or Advanced Competencies Course for Special Operations Forces Language Program Managers, as appropriate.” (DODI 5160.70). Additionally, the CLPM should participate in command quarterly and annual training (AT) briefs and should be a part of the command language council (CLC) or command language program council meetings and will chair the Command Language Council (CLC)/ Command Language Program Council (CLPC).  

Services and their subordinate commanders will document all CLPM functions in job descriptions, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and other command policies.  

Units with no language-coded authorizations should identify a CLPM as an additional duty to manage language training and testing requirements and the FLPB program for assigned personnel (or ensure service members with language capabilities have access to a CLPM)  

Personnel identified to serve as a CLPM will attend the DOD/DLIFLC resident or non-resident CLPM course (within six months of appointment for Army and Marines). SOF CLPMs need only attend the USSOCOM CLPM basic course within 6 months of appointment. If the SOF CLPM also manages Service provided linguists (e.g., CLA) then the SOF CLPM must also attend the DLIFLC CLPM course. Units will request CLPM course seats through CLP channels. Units may use Service language funding to pay for their designated CLPM to attend training. Those CLPMs who manage Consolidated Cryptologic Program (CCP) funded linguists will immediately enroll in CLTM-7100, the Cryptologic Language Training Manager (CLTM) Course. Certified CLTMs should also attend the CLTM Workshop (CLTM-7200) annually. Unit CLPMs will add CLTM training requirement(s) to the Language Training Tool (LTT) and use CCP Language Transformation funds to pay for training attendance.   Document appointment of all CLPMs at all levels, in a memo signed by the unit commander. The CLPM position will be at a level of authority within the organizational structure that is compatible with the language requirements of the unit’s mission. The CLPM will maintain the linguistic skills database and coordinate the initial screening of all incoming personnel for language capability.  

Q: How long must a CLPM remain in the position after CLPM Training?

A: Commanders will ensure CLPMs are able to fulfill the CLPM roles and responsibilities for at least one year due to the training requirements and training funds required to qualify someone for the position.

Q: Is my command required to have a Command Language Program (CLP) and/or a CLP Manager (CLPM)?

A: IAW DoDI 5160.70, Secretaries of the Military Departments will ensure that commands or units with foreign language coded billets establish a CLP and designate a CLPM. The CLPM is tasked with assisting military linguist personnel in maintaining their language capabilities and is also responsible for reporting the status of language training and readiness to the commander. CLPMs must frequently engage commanders to justify more time for language sustainment and enhancement training so that assigned linguists can reach the higher levels of proficiency required in today’s mission sets.

If you answer 'yes’ to either of the following questions, then your command is required to have a CLP.

  1. Does your command have any language-coded billets (regardless of whether the billet incumbents possess foreign language proficiency)?
  2. Do you have any Service members in your unit who are proficient in any foreign languages?
  • AR 11-6: CDRs with assigned linguists at brigade, group, and battalion levels will— a. Establish, document, and maintain a CLP. e. Appoint a unit CLPM to assist the CDR in overseeing the unit’s CLP. The CDRs with 70 or more linguists assigned will appoint a full-time CLPM with a specified job description to manage their CLP.
  • 16 AF/AFCO CLP Update Guidance Memo: Units with six or more CLAs assigned are required to establish a CLP and formally appoint a CLPM; MCO 1550.25A: Commands whose mission depends on assigned personnel sustaining their language skills (e.g., Radio Battalions, Intelligence Battalions, and Marine Forces Special Operations Command) shall establish a vigorous Command Language Program (CLP). Commanders will appoint, in writing, a full-time CLPM ….”  

Q: How can I get my CLPM properly trained to support my Command Language Program?

A: To aid CLPMs in managing unit language training programs, DLIFLC offers quarterly CLPM certification courses in Monterey each year. The Command Language Program Management Office can also provide this training to units via Mobile Training Team (MTT) and is prepared to provide field and/or staff assistance visits to CLPs worldwide. USSOCOM manages a separate CLPM Training Course for their CLPMs - USSOCOM CLPM Course Information (Contact for information).  

Q: What is the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)?

A: The DLPT is the DoD standardized testing system for measuring an individual's proficiency in a foreign language. It consists of a battery of tests that measures the general ability of the tester to comprehend a spoken and written foreign language and to speak the language. The system includes the DLPT, normally consisting of a listening and reading test, and the oral proficiency interview (OPI) which measures speaking ability. DLPT and OPI scores are reported as skill levels defined by the Interagency Language Roundtable scale (ILR) (ILR Homepage). Most federal government agencies rely on the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) and the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), which are reliable, scientifically-validated tools for testing the language ability of DOD personnel worldwide.  

Q: How can I schedule a DLPT?

  A: Individuals who require a test must schedule through an authorized government testing facility. There are required software, hardware, and test security specifications that prevent tests from being given on private computers.  

Q: Are there DLPT study guides?

  A: The DLPT Relevant Information and Guides at this link are intended to provide information about DLPT5 tests, and include sample items with explanations.  

Q: What Command level issues should a leader consider?

A: These are some questions you should ask yourself as a leader with linguist assets:

  • How can I monitor my linguists’ language proficiency scores?
  • Am I required to report my unit’s language readiness in the Defense Readiness Reporting System (DRSS)?
  • Does the commander receive regularly scheduled briefings and other reports on the CLP?
  • When problems arise in the CLP, is the commander receptive to the issues and willing to provide needed support?
  • Does the Command Language Council (CLC) /Command Language Program Council (CLPC) consist of all unit members who have an interest in the CLP?
  • Is CLC/CLPC membership recognized and documented as an official duty for all members?
  • Has the CLC/CLPC been formally established via a unit charter or SOP/Operating Instruction (OI)?
  • Is the CLC/CLPC chairperson selected based on their Defense Foreign Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) Program (DFLP) knowledge and experience? (Reference- h. Chair the commander’s or unit’s Language Council to provide recommendations regarding the maintenance and the improvement of FLP within the command or unit. (DODI 1560.70, section 11); Commanders will appoint the CLPM as chairperson for the CLC in accordance with AR 11–6 (from DA PAM 4-15 b.)
  • Does the council meet regularly (at least quarterly or more often)?
  • Does the council follow by-laws or other procedural guidelines?
  • Does the council prepare and follow an agenda? Does the council prepare and distribute meeting minutes?
  • Do council recommendations become policy (following command endorsement)?
  • Do the rationale and the SOP for the council provide for and promote both command level and chain of command involvement in CLP planning and operation?

Q: What assistance can the Command Language Program Management Office provide?

A: Advice and/or guidance on establishing and maintaining a language program.  

Q: What assistance can the DLIFLC Continuing Education Directorate provide to Commanders?

The Continuing Education Directorate can provide:

  • Curriculum selection or development, Availability of DLIFLC instructional materials,
  • CLPM courses,
  • Teacher training workshops,
  • "Train the trainer" workshops for CLPMs and platform instructors,
  • On-site language training through MTTs, and
  • Clarification on DLAB, DLPT administration, and/or interpretation issues. 

Q: What language training options are available to commanders?

A: The following options should be considered:

  • The use of self-study materials provided by the command is encouraged.
  • Linguists can check out self-study materials through the online DLIFLC AISO Library link.
  • The DLIFLC eLearning page provides a comprehensive collection of eLearning resources to assist linguists at all levels.
  • CLPMs can enroll unit linguists in regional, resident military training programs such as the PLTCE.

The CLPM can regularly request program enrollment in the DLIFLC Intermediate and Advanced courses for assigned linguists or coordinate with DLIFLC to send an MTT to the installation to provide Intermediate / Advanced language training Significant Language Training Events (SLTE). (  

Q: What should a leader need to know about dedicated space and other training program resources?

A: Here are some other best practices concerning dedicated space and training resources:

  • The unit should have adequate, dedicated space for language training activities.
  • The current language training facility should be adequate to meet the needs of all linguists, or there should be specific plans to upgrade it.
  • The training facility should be conducive to learning (quiet, well lit, comfortable, and open to linguists beyond regular training or duty hours (cypher locked / padlocked facility that can be utilized similar to a Coffee Shop).
  • Current, appropriate foreign language texts, supplementary materials, newspapers, magazines, movies, podcasts, Wi-Fi accessibility and/or computer-based internet resources, language learning technologies, and other resources should be available in the language training facility.
  • Unit CLPM marketing should clearly state where training materials can be obtained.
  • Unit language training facilities’ furniture and equipment should be adequate for classroom instruction and self-study.
  • The language training facility should have space and equipment for individual listening and studying.  

Q: What should a leader know about dedicated instructional time?

A: Language training should be designated regularly on the unit training schedule. The CLPM should actively participate in training schedule preparation. The amount of dedicated time on task should be sufficient for measurable language proficiency improvement.  

Q What are key factors for adequate language training funding?

A: CLP budget requirements should be identified and documented on a routine basis. Contact service specific POCs for detailed budget planning information.

  • CLP funding requirements should be explicitly addressed in the annual unit budget planning cycle, to include execution year unfunded requirements (UFR) drills.
  • The commander, CLPM, and other CLC/CLPC members should be knowledgeable about procedures to obtain CLP funding through their respective Service (e.g., USA: The Army Language Program (TALP); USAF: Cryptologic Linguist Program (CLIPR); USMC: Marine Corps Intelligence FLP (MCIFLP); USN: Center for Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (CLREC), etc.) and any other available government program funding.
  • The CLP should be represented in long-range budget planning.
  • CLP funding requirements must be separate from other training budgets.  

Q: How can the unit maximize the utilization and sustainment of unit linguist assets?

A: There should be a linguist development program with quantifiable benchmarks within the unit. Additionally, qualified linguists not assigned to the unit (for example, from other companies, battalions, or commands) could be utilized as instructors, assistant instructors, or language mentors.

Command Language Program Managers  

Q: Where can I find Service-specific guidance to manage my Command Language Program?

A: Each Service has Service-specific guidance. Refer to the following links:



Air Force


Coast Guard


USSOCOM Directive 350-17. Contact to obtain a copy.  

Q: How can I enroll in the CLPM Course?

A: CLPMs should schedule the CLPM course through their training office or CLP Office. The CLPM will attend the DLIFLC resident or non-resident CLPM course within six months of appointment. Units will request CLPM course attendance through CLP channels. Units may use Service language funding to pay for their designated CLPM to attend training. Those CLPMs (CLTMs) who manage Consolidated Cryptologic Program (CCP) funded linguists should immediately enroll in the Cryptologic Language Training Manager (CLTM) Course (CLTM-7100). Certified CLTMs should also attend the CLTM Workshop (CLTM-7200) annually. Unit CLPMs will add CLTM training requirement(s) to the LTT and use CCP Language Transformation funds to pay for training attendance.  

Q: Who can I contact for support?

A: The DLIFLC Command Language Program Management Office can provide the following assistance:

  • Advice and/or guidance on establishing and maintaining a language program.

If you are a SOF CLPM, contact for support. The SOF LREC Office provides scheduled training and one-on-one virtual and on-site assistance and can answer the following questions:

  • How do I develop & implement a new process?
  • How do I lock in class observation skills?
  • How do I assist with training development / materials selection?
  • How do I develop and practice a pitch to the commander?
  • How do I write a better set of service contract requirements documents?

Q: How do I request an MTT from DLIFLC?

A: Following are contacts in the DLI Scheduling Division:

Q: How do I obtain Language Survival Kits (LSKs)?

A: LSKs are available for download (pdf) at the DLIFLC web site at the eLearning tab, or at  

Q: What elements must a CLPM maintain for each unit linguist in unit records and databases?

A: a. Database and Records

(1) Basic demographic data, including duty assignment and primary occupational specialty and/or job title, DLPT records, training history, projected training, etc.
(2) Original notifications of all DLPT results (e.g., DA Form 330 (this is a US Army form, not an all Services form) etc.) and Certificate of Completion/Graduation (with grades) from DLIFLC
(3) Additional language training completed following DLIFLC graduati
(4)Ongoing/Upcoming language training
(5) ETS/EAOS and PCS dates
(6) FLPB status, including orders to award, terminate, change, or reinstate FLPB
(7) Administration dates and results of all DLPTs and OPIs taken
(8) Required testing dates to prevent expiration of currency of FLPB
(9) Individual Linguist Training Plans (ILTP) including language maintenance and improvement objectives driven by mission requirements

b. The CLPM should maintain copies of any exceptions to policy or waivers. Entries in the database should match the individual linguist’s personnel records
c. Procedures must be in place to ensure that the data remains current and accurate d. A historical database should be maintained as a point of reference for measuring trends in overall linguist proficiency from year-to-year and for assessing the effectiveness of the CLP.  

Q: What are authorized Linguist retention and incentives?

A: There are a variety of unit incentives that can be used to include:

  • Day Passes (e.g., 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, etc.)
  • Certificate of Achievement (COA)
  • Commander/Senior Enlisted Leader (SEL) coin
  • Foreign Language Excellence Awards (letters of commendation)
  • Language Professional and Linguist of the Quarter/Year awards
  • Other – be creative, but know the rules on what cannot be purchased with language funding!
    • Army- Verify with AR 600-8-22, Military Awards, Chapter 11-4, use of appropriated funds. Non-appropriated funds are addressed in AR 215-1.  

Q: What are the key elements of a good CLP Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)/Operating Instruction (OI)?

A: The CLP SOP/OI should be self-explanatory, be specific in task assignments, and explain the rationale for the CLP, as well as outline procedures for specific requirements such as a database, inspections, ILTP, mentorship programs, award / reward programs, Command Language Program of the Year and Language Professional of the Year, etc. [Example will be posted soon] The SOP should specify points of contact; be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in mission, Commanders, personnel, procedures; and be an integral component of the unit command SOP (annex).

Language Professionals/Linguists  

Q: Am I required to take the DLPT?

A: While it is in the best interests of your Service and individual Service members to take the DLPT, it is only mandatory for some. If you answer 'yes’ to any of the following questions, you are required to certify language proficiency annually [There are exceptions to “testing” annually (e.g., 3/3 or above and FAOs OPIs (biennially) deployments, etc. but certification is an annual requirement and may be accomplished in ways other than “annual” testing (e.g., commander recertification, etc. Commanders may recertify personnel for an additional amount of time. E.g., as an exception, for those who score 3/3 or higher, those whose certification expires during a deployment, etc. (see next question)].

  • Are you a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) or in a language dependent career field?
  • Do you have a foreign language-dependent MOS, AFSC, or NEC?
  • If so, you are required to maintain a current certification in your control language (CLANG).
  • Do you currently receive FLPB and desire to maintain FLPB eligibility?  

Q: How often am I required to retest?

A: Current policy requires annual testing to recertify proficiency. DoDI 1340.27 states Service members who certify at or above L3/R3 must recertify no later than every 2 years Some Services have exceptions for those who score 3/3 or above whereby they are required to test biennially. Other exceptions may apply to personnel whose certification expires while they are deployed or attending a significant language training event (SLTE), for example). For linguists who achieve 3/3 on the lower range DLPT, certification is required every two years (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines).  

Q: What is the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB)?

A: Because of the difficulty, length, and costs involved in foreign language training, the DLAB is used to screen personnel for their aptitude to learn a foreign language. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) establishes minimum DLAB scores required prior to attendance in specific language courses of instruction. For this reason, DLAB testing is required prior to acceptance into the FAO and CLA communities. A minimum DLAB score may also be required when applying for special program assignments, such as the Military Personnel Exchange Program (MPEP), which may require foreign language training while en route to an assignment.  

Q: How often can I take the DLAB and/or DLPT?

A: A minimum of six months is required between DLAB tests. The June 30, 2022, publication of DoDI 5160.71 changed minimum time between DLPT tests from 180 days to 270 days (certain exceptions apply for both tests). Testing policy for DLAB/DLPT, including recertification timelines and waivers, is provided in your Service Command Language Program/LREC regulation or in your Service’s military testing doctrine.  

Q: How do I update formally assessed foreign language ability in my personnel records?

A: Each Service has Service-specific guidance. Refer to the following guidance below:

Navy -Tested language proficiency data is automatically sent to the NSIPS database and to the enlisted and officer personnel databases. Updates to self- assessed language proficiency data may be done through your command pay and personnel administrator (CPPA) via NSIPS. If updates to NSIPS do not auto-populate, officers needing to update language data in their ODC and enlisted needing to update their personnel record should contact the My Navy Career Center at l-(833) 330-6622 or email and specify that the ODC or enlisted record needs to be updated.

Army – Army Human Resources Command (AHRC) AHRC utilizes an automated process to update its personnel automations systems. AHRC uploads DLPT scores (Listening/Reading) to the databases within 72 hours. AHRC uploads OPI scores (Speaking) on a bi-monthly basis due to the complexity of the OPI reporting process. OPI Participatory Listening scores are not reported since DLI does not report the data to the DMDC.

(1) Test centers and AHRC Enlisted Language Branch are not responsible for language data updates.

(2) Soldiers should allow time for DMDC's automated process to work.

If DLPT data does not appear within 5 days or if OPI data does not appear within 30 days, the one of the two update methods should be followed:

a.BDE/Installation level PAS (Personnel Automation Systems) Chief should submit a HRC FSD helpdesk trouble ticket to update legacy personnel systems (EDAS/RDMS/TOPMIS/eMILPO).
b.IPPS-A User should submit a Customer Relationship Management case through IPPS-A.
c.  Both update procedures will require a copy of the DA 330, or a screenshot taken from the DMDC DLPT database/OARS.

(3) For more information, see Department of the Army Pamphlet 11-8, Chapter 5–9. Personnel database updates.

Marines- Send a detailed request to:, and the HQMC team will update your personnel records within 30 days.   

Air Force – Air Force Test Control Officers are responsible for inputting language test results directly into MilPDS. Results will then reflect on the member’s Single Uniform Request Format (SURF)/Career Data Brief (CDB).   For detailed processes, see the Personnel Services Delivery (PSD) Guide located on myPers: TF - FLPB PSD Guide Final 29 May 20.pdf

Q: Why should I take the DLPT?

A: Formally recognized proficiency scores benefit the Service member as well as your Service. DLPT scores help the Service match Service members who can perform a mission with operational requirements involving foreign language. DLPT scores may:

  • qualify you for college credit recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE) DLIFLC Form 420 DLPT/OPI ACE Credit.
  • potentially qualify for Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus (FLPB) pay. Restrictions exist. See “Service Regulations”.
  • (enlisted) provide a formal/tested foreign language proficiency in your personnel record.
  • (officer) provide a formal/tested foreign language proficiency on your “Officer Data Card”.
  • serve as a formal measure of foreign language proficiency to enhance your resume for future civilian employment.
  • promotion points (Army).