Headstart2 Language Program

By Tom McDermott February 13, 2019

 Anyone who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan understands the importance of language.

But if you've been overseas you'll know we need to be better, and more 'ahead of the bang', at languages if we're going to succeed in a complex world. Anyone who has read DEF Australia presenter Jonathan Hibbert's Idea Pitch on Chinese linguists will understand that this is not just an Army problem, but a whole of Australia one.

It doesn't have to be this way, and we at the Cove are here to help. We've already shared one language app called Duolingo, which is a day-to-day, 5 minute helper to learn the basics in a number of common languages. But while Duolingo is great for French and German, it often lacks the military leaning it needs to make it useful.

Headstart2 is something different. You can access it here, or by clicking the image above. Headstart2 was developed by the US Defense Languages Institute to help soldiers prepare for deployment overseas. Originally just focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan, it now provides self-guided courses in 38 different languages ... everything from Swahili to Somali.

Each package consists of two units containing ten modules each. Unit One (Sound and Script) teaches the basics of the target language in twenty interactive tasks. Unit Two (Military) consists of a total of fifty mission-specific tasks. With enough effort, you can become capable enough in a language to operate in a given country.



Tom McDermott

Tom McDermott is a serving Australian Army Officer and a student of strategy and military ethics. You can follow him on Twitter via the handle @helmandproject.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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