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Armed Forces: Languages

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 20th January 2017.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many personnel in the (a) Army, (b) RAF and (c) Royal Navy are trained at proficiency level (i) 1, (ii) 2, (iii) 3, (iv) 4 and (v) 5 in (A) Mandarin Chinese, (B) Japanese and (C) Korean.

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

There are approximately 145 personnel across all three services that are trained in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese or Korean. It is not possible to provide a detailed breakdown for these languages because of the strategic and operational sensitivities surrounding them.

The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) language requirements for intelligence or other purposes are met from a Departmental pool of Armed Forces and civilian personnel (and from contractors when needed). Cultural and language skills are a key operational enabler; therefore the Department reviews its future requirements for linguists regularly and trains its personnel accordingly.

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