In 2005, the Department of Defense published the Defense Language Transformation Roadmap which laid out broad goals, objectives, and specific tasks for achieving the full range of language capabilities necessary to support the 2004 Defense Strategy. In support of the roadmap, Project GO, was created in 2007 to provide institutions of higher education with grants to award ROTC students nationwide scholarships for language study. In April 2007, four universities received the first Project GO grants for pilot projects aimed at increasing the number of ROTC students studying critical languages. In 2008, eight additional universities were awarded grants for pilot projects.
During the pilot years, Project GO adapted the program to best meet the scheduling needs of ROTC students by focusing resources on summer language training and summer overseas opportunities. This allowed universities to serve more ROTC students beyond their on-campus ROTC population, expanding PGO accessibility to a national level.
In 2011, as Project GO continued to refine and improve its model, the program instituted the minimum proficiency goal of Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) Level 1 (intermediate) for all Project GO participants, to be achieved through a series of multiple interventions. In order to achieve these proficiency targets, Project GO actively promotes language training opportunities among ROTC students year-round. In 2012, Project GO introduced the program-wide goal for participants to complete a minimum of four semesters of the same critical language and to study abroad for eight weeks or longer.
In 2015 the Project GO Advanced program was launched. The objective of this special initiative is to expand Project GO by increasing the number of ROTC students who achieve ILR Level 2 or higher (advanced or professional level proficiency) in speaking, listening, and reading in a number of critical languages. Three institutions were selected for the Project GO-Advanced initiative: University of Arizona (Arabic), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Chinese), and University of Pittsburgh (Russian).
Currently, there are 24 institutions hosting Project GO programs that serve ROTC students nationwide. In 2017, nearly 500 ROTC students benefited from language training opportunities through Project GO, bringing the total number of ROTC students funded through Project GO to over 4,500 students. Project GO continues to be among the only sources, and perhaps the most easily accessible and available source, of funding for summer domestic language study and study abroad for ROTC students.