Russian Language Sustainment Resources

This page provides a list of various Russian language learning resources, resources related to Russian culture, as well as joint-force and service-specific resources to use foreign language in your military career. These resources can be used to supplement and help sustain Russian language learning and application.

This is not a comprehensive list, merely a starting point for further study!

Note: Due to the ongoing global situation, some resources may be unavailable.

News and Current Events

Russian Government

Russian Opposition

Western News

  • BBC Russian Service: A British Government media site, in Russian
  • Радио Свобода/Radio Free Europe: An American-funded program to produce news in Russian about European, Central Asian, and international affairs
  • Euronews: A French-based private news firm that covers news across Europe
  • The Independent Barents Observer: A Norwegian-owned online newspaper that primarily covers news in the Barents Region, available in Russian
  • Many independent journalists have been forced to flee Russia after a censorship law was passed in March 2022. A list of some of them can be found here

Ukrainian News

Central Asian News

  • The Steppe: An independent news source from Kazakhstan
  • Kloop: A Kyrgyz news agency publishing articles about domestic and regional issues
  • Kaktus Media: A private Kyrgyz news source
  • A Kyrgyz private news agency reporting on Central Asian and international topics
  • The Times of Central Asia: A Kyrgyz online newspaper available in a plethora of languages

Russians have a strong passion for sports, the most popular of which are футьболь/soccer, фигурное катание/figure skating, and хоккей/hockey. More information about these can be found here:

Russia has a rich cuisine, strongly influenced by what is produced locally in Russia. Popular dishes include Пельмени (dumplings), Блины (the Russian version of crepes), Борщ (Borsh/beet soup), and Щи (cabbage soup). A few places to find recipes are:


For information on the Russian entertainment industry, see:

Russia has a literary tradition stretching back hundreds of years, producing names such as Tolstoy and Pushkin.

Additional resources:

Russian books are also available for purchase on Amazon, Google Play, eBay, and most other eBook locations. Additionally, Ozon,, and Petropol sell books in Russian. 

Russian history is both ancient and tumultuous, stretching back to the times of the Kievan Rus. As a result, the country hosts countless museums with collections on a variety of topics. A few good examples of museums and history include the Эрмитаж/Hermitage Museum, Russian Museum, Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, and UNESCO.

Russia also has a history in art and theatre, producing world-renown painters, sculptors, playwrights and ballerinas. For more information on these topics, see:

For information on Russian science, as well as language references relating to STEM, see:

UW – Madison has a ton of fantastic resources that can be used to aid Russian Learning, as well as several programs that have their own resources both on-campus and online.

  • CREECA: The Center for Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CREECA) publishes podcasts that feature experts in the region, as well as hosting events on-campus during the semester.
  • Русский Стол/Russian Table: An on-campus weekly event where students can practice their Russian in a positive environment. 
  • Russian Flagship Program: A federally funded program that provides intensive Russian learning for undergraduate students. The program has its own list of resources for language learning.
  • UW—Madison Libraries: UW Libraries have a multitude of Russian language texts and films on a wide array of topics.


Films, TV Shows, and Music

  • YouTube: Soviet-era films are mostly copyright-free, and as such can be found on YouTube. Examples can be found here. The channel Мосфильм (Mosfilm) in particular has many films with English subtitles.
  • Рускино/Ruskino: A Russian database on film, similar to the English IMDB
  • A list of Russian films available on Netflix can be found here.
  • Some of the most popular post-Soviet films:
    • Брат и Брат 2/Brother and Brother 2: These two films are about society in Russia during the 1990’s, following the fall of the Soviet Union. Both films can be viewed for free on YouTube with ads.
    • Лето/Summer: A film about the Soviet rock band Кино. Available for purchase on Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.
  • Some Russian TV shows, such as Как Я Стал Русским/How I Became Russian, are also on YouTube.
  • Мультики/Kids Cartoons: A database of popular Russian kids cartoons available for download.
  • Spotify: We now have an official Project GO Russian playlist called Русская музыка/Russian Music! It’s a great place to start if you want to be introduced to Russian music, including popular artists like Кино (Kino) and Молчат Дома (Molchat Doma).

Social Media

  • YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms in Russia. Some recommendations are:
    • Юрий Дудь/Yuri Dude: A Russian YouTuber who produces projects and interviews on Russia’s current events. 
    • Алексей Навальный/Alexei Navalny: The former leader of the Russian opposition, now imprisoned. His team still produces opposition content.
    • Орёл и Решка/Heads and Tails: A Russian-language travel channel, where the two people flip a coin to determine if they get an unlimited budget, or a $100 one.
    • Skyeng: Skyeng is a channel run by an American living in Russia. The channel is directed at covering English and Russian language learning.
    • Варламов/Varlamov: Ilya Varlamov, a Russian journalist, runs this channel where he talks about life in Russia, the Soviet Union, and other countries.
  • Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in Russia. Most institutions and celebrities have their own pages.
  • Вконтакте, or VK, is another popular Russian social media site. It is now controlled and monitored by the the Russian Government, and access for Americans can be difficult.
  • Telegram is another popular Russian social media site.

Foreign Language in the Joint Force

Foreign language skills are especially valued in the military, thanks to the nature of working in and with foreign nations. Service members with such skills enjoy access to a variety of unique opportunities, training, and jobs. However, many members are not aware of these options. The goal of this section is to inform you, as future officers, about what you can do with your language skills in your respective branches and the joint force as a whole. The following programs apply to all branches of the US military. Following that are programs and jobs specific to each the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.

The Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus (FLPB) Program is a capabilities-based, monetary incentive available to managers to help recruit and sustain a workforce with foreign language proficiency in areas of strategic interest. Personnel eligible for the FLPB include US military officers & enlisted people, active duty & reserve, and National Guard members.

Proficiency for the FLPB can be determined through the DLPT, the OPI, or other Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center certified and DoD approved tests in a foreign language or dialect. Based on test results, monthly payment for the FLPB is, determined by the table linked here.

FLPB certifications expire one year from the first day of the first month after the final certification month.

The Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program is a Department of Defense (DoD) mandated requirement. FAO development typically begins at the seven to ten year point of commissioned service. Officers designated for FAO development complete foreign language training, in-region training (IRT), and earn a regionally-focused graduate-level degree. FAOs will then embark upon a dual-track career path, alternating between FAO and core career field assignments. Assignments in the officer’s core career field, when possible, will be complementary to the officer’s regional specialization. Typically, FAOs serve overseas in language-coded billets, bringing international affairs skills to bear in high-visibility, high- impact occupations for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, joint, interagency, and intergovernmental staffs.

The Department of Defense Military Personnel Exchange Program (MPEP) enhances international and interservice relationships by providing exchange opportunities for US Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Officers and enlisted personnel, both foreign and domestic. The objective of MPEP is “to integrate participants into the host organization as though they belonged to the service to which they become assigned.” This includes exchanging personnel both between US military branches and with foreign militaries.

The Defense Language Institute offers exchanged personnel the opportunity to learn the languages spoken in the countries of their assignments. Exchange officers may, for example, complete Spanish language training before serving in a South American country like Columbia.

Existing partners include Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

If you would like us to connect you with an officer to learn more about these or the following opportunities / jobs, please fill out this Google form.

Foreign Language in the Air Force

The Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) is a career-spanning program aimed to sustain and improve Airmen’s language and cultural capabilities. Managed by the Air Force Culture and Language Center, the program seeks to develop cross-culturally competent leaders who can meet Air Force global mission requirements.

LEAP is open to Air Force Officers, Enlisted Airmen, and Cadets. To become a LEAP scholar, Airmen must demonstrate some level of proficiency in a foreign language specified on the Air Force Strategic Language List, receive endorsement from their detachment commander for AFROTC or air officer commanding for U.S. Air Force Academy, and compete via a board process. Selection to LEAP is based on applicants’ academic history and job performance, existing language proficiency, potential to achieve higher levels of language proficiency, and Air Force language requirements.

Participation in LEAP makes Airmen eligible for Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus pay and other language-related opportunities. Force managers use the LEAP SEI to match service members with language dependent assignments, deployments, and TDYs, with roles that include international affairs, military personnel exchange program, security cooperation, mobility advisory, and special operations.

The Air Force created International Affairs Specialist (IAS) Program to meet changes in the international security environment, which is demanding increased international insight, foreign language proficiency, cultural understanding, and political-military experience. IAS is open to active duty and reserve Air Force Officers and Enlisted members.

Air Force IAS combine professional military skills with an intimate, nuanced understanding of the history, language, culture, geopolitical, geostrategic, and political-military issues of the countries and regions in which the Air Force operates. They employ this unique combination of knowledge, language skills, and regionally-concentrated/contextual understanding in which air, space, and cyberspace power is applied to integrate this into plans and operations, and build increasingly effective relationships and regional partnerships that are critical enablers to the expeditionary air, space and cyberspace mission.

The program is composed of two fundamental elements; Foreign Area Officer (FAO) and Political-Military Affairs Strategist (PAS). Fully consistent with standing force development concepts, officers are typically identified at the mid-career point for development in the IAS program. These programs are only open to line of the Air Force officers. Chaplains, judge advocates and medical officers are not eligible to participate. Medical officers may participate in the International Health Specialist program. AFR officers are accessed into the program via FAO direct crossflow.

Political-Military Affairs Strategist (PAS) is a one-time, career-broadening assignment that exposes officers to the political-military affairs world. This service-specific program most often begins in conjunction with intermediate developmental education. Selected officers acquire a broad knowledge of politico-military affairs through developmental education and subsequently serve in a single PAS “pay back” assignment. PAS officers develop a unique skill set that translates across Air Force specialty codes (AFSCs), garnering a strong understanding of interagency partnerships key to operations and planning across the political-military spectrum. These officers typically serve on U.S. headquarters staffs where their broad knowledge of political-military affairs allows them to be highly effective action officers.

Information Operations Officer (Air Force Specialty Code 14F): Information Operations Officers mix knowledge of psychology, sociology, and marketing combined with knowledge of non-lethal information related military capabilities to plan influence operations (ex. targeting a general or specific populace). 

Daily duties include online reading and research (60%), collaborative writing with a team (25%), and administrative duties (15%).

Traditionally, this job is an analyst-level research position, but Team Lead and Flight Commander is also a possible role leading between 5-10 personnel. 

Suggested coursework to prepare for 14F includes Psychology, Sociology, Advertising/Marketing, Communications, foreign languages, or anything that will help when crafting messaging of any kind or understanding cultural communications. 

Intelligence Officer (Air Force Specialty Code 14N): Intelligence Officers provide strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence to leaders and operators to make informed decisions that better prepare and shape our military to enable successful counter-strategies and execution of the mission. Intelligence Officers provide analysis and subject matter expertise to decision-makers through six disciplines: geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), open-source intelligence (OSINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), and technical intelligence (TECHINT). Additionally, they lead and perform intelligence activities across the full range of military operations (cyber, flying, space, special operations, targeting, counterdrug, counterterrorism, etc.) in support of Global Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR). ISR operations are conducted through a five-phase process known as PCPAD: planning and direction; collection; processing and exploitation; analysis and production; and dissemination.

Daily duties may include reading reports, networking with fellow Intelligence Officers, refining data, building briefs, briefing warfighters and decision-makers about analytical predictions on what adversaries might do, and creating scenarios for warfighters. 

During your first four years, you can expect to lead between 1-100 personnel. Your roles will typically include being an Analyst, Team Lead, Flight Commander, Intelligence Cell OIC, Shop Chief, Deputy Chief, or potentially to serve as an Executive Officer.

Suggested coursework to prepare for 14N includes Political Science, History, International Relations, Radar Theory, Foreign Affairs, Critical Thinking, Cultural Sensitivity, Military History, and Public Speaking/Communication courses. 

Security Forces Officer (Air Force Specialty Code 31P): Security Forces Officers lead, manage, and direct Security Forces activities. Security Forces Officers protect installations and weapon systems, provide force protection, antiterrorism measures, provide law and order, investigations, installation access control, and integrate defense. Security Forces Officers may be required to use deadly force. 

Daily duties may include managing flight operations and shift rotations, conducting guard mount procedures, relaying information, conducting security routines, running exercises, communicating with your team and leadership, and training. You will work between 10-14 hours a day. 

During your first four years, you can expect to lead between 65-300+ personnel. Your roles will typically include being a Flight Commander, Group Executive Officer, Squadron Supply Officer, and Operations Officer. 

Suggested coursework to prepare for 31P includes Criminal Justice, Foreign Affairs, Team-Building, and Communication courses. 

Special Investigations Officer (Air Force Specialty Code 71S): Special Investigations Officers provide professional investigative services for commanders of all Department of the Air Force activities. Their mission is to identify, exploit, and neutralize criminal, terrorist, and intelligence threats in multiple domains to the United States Air Force, United States Space Force, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Government. 

Daily duties may include reviewing cases, documenting evidence, interviewing leads, updating case files, processing crime scenes, briefing leadership, and monitoring your email.

During the first two years, a 71S typically serves as a field agent on cases. At the two-year mark, you may deploy, enter a specialized position (ex. Forensics, Cyber, etc.), or go to a staff position at the OSI Headquarters. As a Captain, you may lead 5-20 agents.

Suggested coursework to prepare for 71S includes criminal justice courses specializing in forensics, counter-intelligence, fraud etc. 

Public Affairs Officer (Air Force Specialty Code 35X): Public Affairs Officers serve as a link between the Air Force and taxpayers, elected officials, Airmen, families, and adversaries to share information regarding both strategic and everyday issues. This enables the Air Force to accomplish strategic objectives across the world through communication and information. 

Daily duties may include working with various units across the base to create and publish products with information tying into the larger strategic goals of the unit, wing, MAJCOM, USAF, and DoD based on the national defense strategy and other strategic documents. To accomplish this, a Public Affairs Officer can expect to attend meetings, prioritize ideas/requests, ensure Public Affairs effort meets established communication goals, and advise commanders on various communications efforts. 

During your first four years in 35X you can expect to be a Chief of Public Affairs at a Wing Headquarters, leading approximately 15 people. 

Suggested coursework to prepare for 35X includes anything heavy in writing: English, Journalism, Creative Writing etc. 

Foreign Language in the Army

The HeadStart2 program was developed at the Defense Language Institute. It uses digitally animated characters involved in military scenarios to teach reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in any of 16 target languages. Soldiers may register for an Army Training Requirements and Resources System account, known as ATTRS, to earn up to 16 promotion points in any of those target languages.

The HeadStart2 program teaches a “military-focused vocabulary,” designed with requirements from both the Army and the Marine Corps, to help Soldiers and Marines complete the types of missions they will be engaged in during deployments. It is designed to give Soldiers and Marines a basic understanding of the culture and language so that they can operate more effectively abroad.

For an average user, the language program takes between 80 and 100 hours of self-directed study. The language programs can be accessed online through the DLI website or through service-specific portals, like Army Knowledge Online.

Special Forces Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 18A): As a Special Forces Officer, you’ll lead a team in missions, including counter-terrorism, direct action, foreign internal defense, intelligence gathering, and unconventional warfare. You’ll have several duties, including training, resource management, mission and logistics planning, and working with U.S. and foreign government agencies.

Signal Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 25A): As a Signal Officer, you’ll lead the Signal Corps, which is responsible for the Army’s entire systems of communication. You’ll plan and execute all aspects of communication on a mission and will be critical to the Army’s continued success. You’ll maintain the Army’s voice, data and information systems, make tactical decisions, and engage Signal Soldiers at all levels of command.

Military Police Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 31A): As a Military Police Officer, you’ll be responsible for ensuring the safety and protection of Army personnel, equipment, and resources. You’ll control and secure terrain inside and outside military installations, as well as manage, supervise and control secured areas. Additionally, you’ll supervise police intelligence missions, help train local law enforcement teams, lead small, tactical military police units, and function as an advisor to the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

Military Intelligence Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 35A): As an Army Military Intelligence Officer, you’ll be responsible for all collected intelligence during Army missions. You’ll provide essential information that can often save the lives of Soldiers fighting on front lines. You’ll command and coordinate Military Intelligence Soldiers and combined armed forces, assess risks, and act to neutralize intelligence threats.

Psychological Operations Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 37A): As a Psychological Operations Officer, you’ll be a master of persuasion and influence, and an expert in political trends, cultural trends, and attitudes of the people in your given area of operation. You’ll utilize your understanding of social psychology and individual and group dynamics to influence individuals, groups, and populations.

Civil Affairs Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 38A): As a Civil Affairs Officer, you’ll act as a liaison between the Army and civilian authorities and populations. You’ll perform strategic and tactical civil affairs operations and combined armed forces, both overt and covert, in peacetime or when activated for crisis or war. You’ll also coordinate employment of civil affairs Soldiers at all levels of command in U.S. and multinational operations.

Public Affairs Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 46A): As a Public Affairs Officer, you’ll advise senior leaders in a variety of public affairs decisions and provide media training to ensure clear and compelling communication. You’ll work closely with the domestic and foreign media to keep the American people and members of the Army informed and confident in new policies, initiatives, and developments. You’ll also create and execute communication plans that collectively set the narrative for the Army.

Health Services Plans, Operations, Intelligence Security and Training Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 70H): As a Health Services Plans, Operations, Intelligence Security and Training Officer, you will be responsible for creating a plan for field medical operations and evacuation in the event of an emergency. You will direct and coordinate staff functions relating to health services plans, operations, intelligence, security, and training.

Foreign Language in the Navy

Special Warfare Officer (Designator Code 113X): By the time you find out a Special Warfare (SEAL) team has hit you, they’re already gone. It takes a special kind of person to qualify for this role, and if you do, you’d better be ready to prove it with your smarts, strength and willingness to march head-on into impossible situations. Because your team is the one they’re going to call in for last-ditch reconnaissance missions and operations that “never happened.” One day you’ll be swimming out of a torpedo tube, and the next day you could be dropping into enemy territory out of a helicopter. It takes intense courage to be a Navy SEAL, and that’s what makes them the best of the best. If you have what it takes, then the Navy has a place for you among the ranks of the elite.

In their career, a SEAL can expect to conduct insertions and extractions by sea, air or land to accomplish covert, Special Warfare/Special Operations missions, capture high-value enemy personnel and terrorists around the world, collect information and intelligence through special reconnaissance missions, carry out small-unit, direct-action missions against military targets, perform underwater reconnaissance and the demolition of natural or man-made obstacles prior to amphibious landings, and lead and train Enlisted SEALs in their unit.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer (Designator Code 114X): Americans live for fireworks on the 4th of July. The other 364 days of the year, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officers and Technicians are doing all they can to prevent them. Using advanced tools like cutting-edge robotic technology and explosives chemistry, this elite group performs missions that require immense bravery—from jumping out of airplanes to blowing up underwater mines. This job is no cake walk—you have to be smart, tough, quick-thinking and cool under pressure—and you have to do it all in a 70-pound bomb suit.

In their career, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officers can expect to detonate and demolish hazardous munitions, pyrotechnics and outdated explosives, neutralize various ordnances such as sea mines, torpedoes or depth charges, work with cutting-edge technology to remotely disable unsafe ordnances, perform parachute or helicopter insertion operations, support law enforcement agencies, clear waterways of mines in support of the Fleet, lead and train enlisted Sailors in their unit, and lend their skills and support to other military units or offices, such as the U.S. Secret Service or the U.S. Department of State.

Public Affairs Officer (Designator Code 165X): Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) are masters of communication, defending our fleet from misinformation and negative publicity. Working with Mass Communication Specialists, it is the job of PAOs to help America’s Navy shine in the spotlight of our nation, ensuring we always put our best selves forward.

In an organization as large and complex as America’s Navy, it’s critically important to manage the flow of news and information for the Navy, the media and the public. Public Affairs Officers choose the best media to deliver information, respond to reporters and provide vital insight to top-level Navy decision-makers. With a growing world of digital media and lightning-fast news cycles, it’s up to you to make the right message always gets across.

In their career, Public Affairs Officers can expect to supervise the writing and delivery of press releases and reports and provide information to news media and civic organizations, brief military personnel before they meet with the public and news media and schedule and conduct news conferences, oversee the content and production of radio and television programs, newspapers, magazines and websites, advise the operational Commander to shape vital decisions and communications with three main audiences: media, internal Navy and the public, and manage the work of enlisted personnel, including writers, photographers, videographers and graphic designers.

To qualify for 165X, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in a communications field, such as Journalism, Advertising, Radio/TV, Cinematography, Speech, Marketing, Motion Picture Production, Industrial Relations or Photojournalism.

Cryptologic Warfare Officer (Designator Code 181X): Few will have the deep understanding of codebreaking like a Cryptologic Warfare Officer (CWO). As a CWO, you are an expert in all facets of Information Operations (IO), making sure our fleet is capitalizing on the information vulnerabilities of our adversaries. Create warfighting options for Fleet Commanders, advise decision-makers at all levels and achieve military objectives in cyberspace. In this job, your knowledge of the cyber battlespace is unmatched.

In their career, Cryptologic Warfare Officers can expect to collect, process, analyze and report real-time signal intelligence, conduct computer network operations, develop and acquire cutting-edge exploitation and defense systems, plan and deliver information warfare effects during exercises and operations, lead Information Warfare personnel across a variety of military operations, and oversee the work of Cryptologic Technicians – Enlisted Sailors (no degree required) who serve as specialists in cryptology.

To qualify for 181X, candidates must earn a four-year degree in a technical field, preferably in one of the following: Information Systems, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Information Operations, Computer Science, Systems Engineering, General Engineering.

Information Professional Officer (Designator Code 1825): As an Information Professional Officer, you lead your team of Enlisted Information Systems Technicians to ensure the delivery of communications capabilities by operating, maintaining and securing our networks around the globe. Assist with top secret cyberwarfare missions and discover tactical and strategic advantages afloat and ashore. IPO is a big job, but your team will always have your back.

In their career, Information Professional Officers can expect to lead the Naval network warfare missions in developing tactics and procedures to realize tactical, strategic and business advantages afloat and ashore, drive interoperability with joint, allied and coalition partners, build professional excellence through education, training and certification and milestone qualifications, optimize organizational effectiveness through cutting-edge technologies, knowledge management techniques and a culture of innovation, help to develop and deploy information systems, command and control and space systems, serve as a key part of the Information Dominance Corps in its mission to gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of adversaries, and oversee the work of Information Systems Technicians – Enlisted Sailors (no degree required) who serve as specialists in information technology.

To qualify for 182X, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in a technical field, preferably in one of following fields: Information Systems, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Information Operations, Computer Science, Systems Engineering, General Engineering.

Intelligence Officer (Designator Code 183X): If you’re an Intelligence Officer, you serve at the forefront of national security. Analyze top-secret information, interpret spy reports and direct the analysis of top-secret satellite imagery. While others may see nothing, you’ll be able to use keen analytical abilities to perceive patterns in internet chatter. And as an IO, you’ll be the first to ascertain the implications of the latest intelligence. Do you have the brains and bravery for the job?

In their career, Intelligence Officers can expect to lead the planning, development, testing and deployment of information systems crucial to the intelligence process, monitor and analyze maritime activities that pose a threat to national security, such as drug smuggling, illegal immigration, arms transfers, environmental mishaps and violations of UN sanctions, deliver real-time operational intelligence assessment to high-level decision makers, plan intelligence operations including threat analysis for pre-strike missions and direct action missions, manage intelligence systems, enable the collection of human intelligence, and oversee the work of Intelligence Specialists – Enlisted Sailors (no degree required) who help convert information into intelligence.

Candidates seeking an Intelligence Officer position should preferably have a degree that focuses on areas of study such as: International Relations, Political Science, Government, Engineering, Physical Science, Natural Science, Computer Science or other academic fields related to Intelligence.

Foreign Language in the Marines

The Regional, Culture, and Language Familiarization (RCLF) program is managed by the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL), and is designed to enhance Marines’ language skills, regional expertise, and cultural capacity. Completing RCLF is integral to being PME complete for grade, which, in officers indicates a commitment to self improvement and a capacity for increased responsibility.

For the language component of RCLF, Marines work through the HeadStart2 Program. The HeadStart2 program was developed at the Defense Language Institute. It uses digitally animated characters involved in military scenarios to teach reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in any of 16 target languages.

The HeadStart2 program teaches a “military-focused vocabulary,” designed with requirements from both the  Marine Corps and the Army, to help Marines and Soldiers complete the types of missions they will be engaged in during deployments. It is designed to give Marines and Soldiers a basic understanding of the culture and language so that they can operate more effectively abroad.

Regional Area Officers (RAO) possess the regional expertise (academic and/or experience based) to serve as political-military (pol-mil) officers.  RAO training does not include language study or regional travel. The AMOS may be awarded based on either regionally focused postgraduate academic study or extensive pol-mil experience in a region that results in a level of regional expertise equal to graduate-level study.  Because of this, RAOs serve in billets that demand a comprehensive understanding of a region but do not require foreign language skills.  The vast majority of these billets will be on operational or strategic level staffs.

There are two avenues into the RAO community:
(1) Study Track.  Selected by the Commandant’s Professional Intermediate-Level Education Board (CPIB), this program includes 18 months of Graduate Study in National Security Affairs (NSA) curriculum at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and the completion of a graduate thesis.  Upon graduation, RAOs will be immediately utilized in a RAO coded billet and will have an obligated active duty service time of no less than 36 months from the date of graduation from NPS. The RAO study track is only open to Majors and Majors (select) with nine to 15 years of commissioned service.
(2) Experience Track.
(a) Marines who possess a graduate degree or sufficient regional experience may qualify for the RAO MOS without significant further training.  Experiences such as study abroad, prior Marine Security Guard, religious missionary work, Peace Corps work and extensive travel abroad may be considered on a case-by-case basis as a factor in determining qualification.  The graduate degree requirement may be waived on a case-by-case basis for individuals with 18 months of regional experience, to include significant interaction with foreign populations.  The Director, Strategy and Plans Division (PL) is the approving authority.

Intelligence Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 02XX): This field includes a variety of jobs where Marines are responsible for gathering, processing, and disseminating sensitive classified information. These specialties include geographic intelligence, counterintelligence, image interpretation, and analysis. To qualify for these roles, you must have mastery of analytical and technical skills as well as communication, computer, and clerical skills.

Entry-level Marine Intelligence Officers will be given specific training within one of the following disciplines: Ground (0203), Human Source (0204), Signals (0206) or Air Intelligence (0207). These officers will gain unique opportunities for leadership, deployment and training. Once the rank of Major is attained, all of the disciplines merge together as the officer becomes a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Intelligence Officer. After three years of experience and completion of MIOC (MAGTF Intelligence Officer Course), you will be designated as a MAGTF Intelligence Officer, with leadership opportunities in both joint and Marine Corps billets.

Infantry Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 0302): Infantry Officers are the commanders or their assistant sin infantry and reconnaissance units in Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF). They plan, direct, and assist in the deployment and tactical employment of MAGTFs and any subordinate infantry and reconnaissance units. Infantry Officers are responsible for the discipline, morale, and welfare of their unit’s Marines. To fulfill these responsibilities, they evaluate intelligence; estimate the operational situation; and formulate, coordinate, and execute appropriate plans for offensive/defensive maneuver, reconnaissance, fire support, nuclear, biological and chemical defense, directed energy warfare, communications and operational logistics and maintenance.

The infantry officer course at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia is one of the most grueling in the U.S. armed services. Some years the washout rate (those unable to complete it) is as high as 25 percent.

Communications and Strategy Operations Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 4502): The CommStrat Officer develops communication plans; communicates with internal, domestic, and international audiences; and oversees the execution of plans and activities by 45XX occupational field Marines in support of operational and Service communication objectives.

Typical duties to support the occupational field’s mission to build understanding, credibility, and trust with audiences critical to mission success include, but are not limited to: advising commanders and staffs on communication strategy matters; conducting research to develop an understanding of the information environment, key audiences, and problems and opportunities; incorporating research findings into planning and decision-making; participating in operational and Service planning; leading communication planning, integration and synchronization; developing annexes and appendices to operations orders; engaging with internal, domestic and international audiences via traditional news media, social media, and face-to-face communication; overseeing the development and official release of written and visual information products; identifying and developing approaches to mitigate potential or emerging risks to the Marine Corps’ reputation or mission accomplishment; conducting crisis communication; and assessing and evaluating communication plans, products and engagement activities. CommStrat Officers also provide training to all levels of command and build communication strategy and operations capacity among partner nations.

Military Police Officer (Military Occupational Specialty 5803): Military Police Officers provide essential support to their commanding officers with all facets of law enforcement. Officers begin this MOS either on-base, providing security and law enforcement, or on deployment, supervising maneuver and mobility operations and internment operations, as well as providing area security and law enforcement. Marines in this field may also be involved in antiterrorism or the handling and safeguarding of prisoners of war, refugees, or evacuees.

Marine Officers attend the Military Police Basic Officers Course in Fort Leonard Wood, MO which lasts 9 weeks.


Instructor Resources

The NFLC at University of Maryland just launched their new e-Learning Portal this past month, which contains resources in many of our languages.

Content Curator

Taylor Hatley

Taylor is a language partner for Project GO’s Russian program for the Summer of 2022. A native Wisconsinite, Taylor began to study Russian his first year of college. He has since joined the Russian Flagship Program, serving as a Student Ambassador for the 2021-2022 academic year. Currently, he is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in History as well as in Russian Language & Culture, with a focus on 20th Century International Relations.

Mary Moczulewski

Mary is a Project GO Russian Language Partner and Air Force ROTC cadet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This Spring Mary finished her undergraduate degree in Russian and Economics and in the upcoming academic year will study and intern abroad in Kazakhstan. Mary’s career goal is to work in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI)  and/or FBI, where she can apply her knowledge of economics and Russian Language. In her free time Mary loves to read, cook, and compete in bodybuilding.

Sydney Kurszewski

Sydney is a language partner for Project GO’s Russian program. She is also an Ambassador for the Russian Flagship Program and is majoring in International Studies, with plans to double major in Russian. She enjoys learning other languages and is hoping to study abroad in Kazakhstan. After college, she wants to work for the federal government abroad but would be equally pleased to move to Iceland and enjoy the cold weather.