About NSEP

NSEP Video: Breaking the Language Barrier

The National Security Education Program (NSEP) is a major Federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. It consists of nine initiatives that represent broad strategic partnerships with the U.S. education community designed to serve the needs of U.S. national security and national competitiveness. These initiatives integrate the best components of language learning and international education developed in conjunction with progressively minded partners throughout the U.S. education community.

NSEP focuses on the critical languages and cultures of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Participants are involved in innovative, intensive, and long-term programs designed to provide meaningful opportunities to gain significant competencies in these languages and cultures.

NSEP is unique in the commitment of its award recipients to proceed into public service upon completion of their academic studies. Each NSEP award recipient must demonstrate a commitment to bring his or her extraordinary skills to the Federal Government through employment within one of its many agencies and departments.


"America needs people who understand foreign cultures and who are fluent in locally spoken languages. The stability and economic vitality of the United States and our national security depend on American citizens who are knowledgeable about the world. We need civil servants, including law enforcement officers, teachers, area experts, diplomats, and business people with the ability to communicate at an advanced level in the languages and understand the cultures of the people with whom they interact. "

Senator Daniel Akaka (D–HI)
Introduction of the National Foreign Language Coordination Act, 2005