Participants Enhance English Language Skills; Ready for Counterterrorism Course

James Howcroft, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

Participants Enhance English Language Skills; Ready for Counterterrorism Course

By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (June 26, 2018) – Ten participants from seven countries graduated from the English Language Enhancement Course (ELEC) June 26 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

This ELEC is a specially tailored program for participants who will be attending the Marshall Center’s Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS).

These graduates will join 58 participants from an additional 37 countries in PTSS 18-12, which starts Wednesday, June 27 and ends July 26.

The graduates hail from: Djibouti; Iraq; Kazakhstan; Moldova; Tanzania; Thailand; and, Togo.

“This is an absolutely unique language program, which combines language skills development with the authentic PTSS content,” said Peggy Garza, chair of the English Language Programs Department for the Marshall Center’s Partner Language Training Center Europe (PLTCE).

The Program on Terrorism and Security Studies is a four-week program that supports the Marshall Center's increasing emphasis on transnational threats and challenges.

PTSS provides advanced professional education to those charged with understanding and then reducing the scope and capability of terrorism threats.

Candidates nominated by their governments to attend PTSS are required to be fully proficient in the English language. Proficiency is tested via an English comprehension-level test administered at more than 120 U.S. embassies worldwide, said Garza.

The Marshall Center's PLTCE developed this five-week English intensive language enhancement course for PTSS candidates who are moderately proficient in English.

The course is designed to improve participants' oral communication and listening comprehension skills, while focusing on course-related terminology necessary for successful attendance in the PTSS resident course.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. James Howcroft, director of PTSS, welcomed the participants to the ELEC Course May 22.

“During PTSS, we want you to understand the threat from modern terrorist groups, build capacity and improve transnational cooperation,” Howcroft said.

He explained that building capacity is understanding how to use their national and international tools in a strategy to combat terrorist groups, and that improving transnational cooperation is building a network of counterterrorism practitioners with “intellectual interoperability” and trust in global coordination and cooperation against terrorism.

While in ELEC, participants received an introduction to GlobalNet, an internet-based system that connects Marshall Center’s more than 12,500 alumni from 154 nations. They also learned about the Marshall Center’s “per Concordiam” magazine, which is a quarterly journal covering European and Eurasian Security and defense issues.

Participants learned about the books available for their research during a library database brief provided by the Marshall Center Research Library Staff.  They also learned how to work with the library's database to find current information.

They also received lectures from the PTSS team on the programs’ topics.