There is an overwelming demand for arabic speakers across multiple branches of the federal government. Arabic courses swelled in number soon after the 911 attack. But six years later, the post-9/11 spike in interest seems to be fading. And it's unclear how many of today's Arabic students will stick around for the five to 10 years it takes to become the advanced speakers the government requires. Learning it is time-consuming, and the dropout rate is high. The resources to teach it are sparse, and a perplexing policy sometimes discourages students from studying Arabic abroad.
Arabic is among the most time-intensive languages for English speakers to learn. Reaching "limited working proficiency" takes 1,320 hours, almost three times as long as it does for Spanish or French, according to the Foreign Service Institute.
National Security Language Initiative is a set of multiagency proposals that seeks to support students and build programs and resources at all levels of schooling.
Rosetta Stone language course:
Here is a free online arabic course to get started