Negroponte: Language gap State's biggest diplomatic challenge

In a forum on the challenges facing Foreign Service Officers hosted by the American Foreign Service Association, former director of national intelligence John Negroponte noted that the "greatest challenge...is the need for officers who can speak the languages of the world," the Washington Post reported.

"There is no substitute," said the multilingual Negroponte, "for recruiting, training, deploying, retaining and retraining," officers in languages and geography so they "develop the contacts, the knowledge, the insight, the local and area expertise" needed to help develop America's foreign policy.