The men of the U.S. Army Special Forces are a unique group of Soldiers. The selection process to gain entry to Special Forces training is difficult. Once accepted into the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) the training is long, complex, and arduous. Special Forces missions are very different from those of the conventional army and require intense training in many areas. One of the training components of the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) is Special Forces language training.

An aspect of Special Forces that sets the organization apart from other military units is its regional orientation. Each of the seven U.S. Army’s Special Forces groups is oriented to a specific region of the world. The 1st Special Forces Group is geared toward the Pacific, 3rd Special Forces Group to Africa, etc. Each of the Special Forces Groups (SFGs) then selects the languages that are the most important in their region. For the 7th SFG (Central and South America) this is relatively easy – Spanish and Portuguese are the major languages. 3rd SFG (Africa) has a multitude of languages found on an extremely large continent with many countries. French is a commonly spoken language in parts of Africa so that language is a priority.

While he is going through the SFQC each Special Forces candidate is tagged to a specific language and probably knows which group he will be assigned to upon graduation. Some language courses, the easier ones like Spanish, Portuguese, and French, will last several months. The harder languages, like Arabic, Russian, and Tagalog, could run for a longer period of time; as long as a year.

The basic Special Forces language training provided at the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJKFSWCS) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina is designed to give the student a basic speaking and listening proficiency on the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). The training also provides some limited reading skills. Some of the topics covered in the language instruction include culture, politics, security, and social systems. The Special Forces language training is focused on functional application geared toward mission-related tasks, rapport building, and use of interpreters.