Thursday, April 24, 2014

Foreign Affairs Security Training Center Might Get A Home Someday, But Where?

It's Congressional jump ball, VA versus GA

The Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (see the FASTC project fact sheet) has been a vital need in search of a location for many years now. So I was pleased to see a press release by Virginia's Senator Kaine applauding the announcement that Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia, "has been chosen" as the FASTC site.

Wonderful news! Only, nothing followed that announcement. No confirmation, no congressional vote, no funds, not even a press release from the State Department itself. The "announcement" consists, so far, of nothing except a statement made by SecState Kerry:
In response to a question from Senator Kaine last week during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The Department is 100 percent determined that Fort Pickett is the best site … The coordination with the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community - Fort Pickett is the site.”

Well, now, just last December, U.S. Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia sent SecState Kerry a letter telling him that he knows of a better site than Fort Pickett:
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center can more than handle security training for the State Department and save taxpayers millions of dollars in the process, the congressman whose district includes the center in Glynn County says.

Kingston supports strong training programs for State Department personnel but is opposed to spending an estimated $1 billion on the development of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center - or FASTC - at Fort Pickett at Blackstone, Va.

- snip -

Funding for a new training facility was included in a budget submitted by the State Department for the new fiscal year in October, but it was taken out after Kingston and members of the U.S. Senate questioned the lack of a feasibility or impact study.

"As you know, a variety of federal agencies have sought to establish new, separate training centers for their agencies over many years - sometimes inspired by members of Congress whose states they viewed as the ideal setting, other times by an earnest desire to provide the best training possible," Kingston wrote Kerry.

Say, Representative Kingston wouldn't be one of those members of Congress who views his own state as the ideal setting for FASTC, would he? I sure hope he's one of the other kind, the earnest ones. I always assume the best of our elected representatives.

I hope Senator Kaine tips this political jump ball his way. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is probably a wonderful place to learn handcuffing skills and such, as you can see from the training programs described here, but that isn't at all what foreign affairs security training is supposed to be about.


James said...

Oh, the picture brings back memories! Russell and Chamberlain go up for the ball, while underneath Cunningham and Havlichek battle for position. And somewhere Auerbach is smoking a cigar.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Obama cleared up that dispute fast! gwb

A Chinese court released a seized Japanese freight ship Thursday after owner Mitsui OSK Lines agreed to pay about $39 million in a dispute dating back more than seven decades.

Anonymous said...

Ok guys: That strike threat worked and Daring Adventure dared not extend her blogging malaise to 6 months... so she posted to celebrate her Obama mania and her son Zach's big moment shaking hands with him.
Just goes to show you the guy is still a big hit in certain hearts and minds. (And reinforces my suspicion that poor DA was just suffering from TBE.) Total Blogger Exhaustion. gwb

Anonymous said...

James: Ask your doctor today, Is Jodi Foster right for you? gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Why not put it in Oregon? We may not know how to build anything but we sure know how to blow money on socialist dreams. gwb

eg: 'Cover Oregon': $335 million down da drain 0 signups

and Seattle's Big Dig Tunnel: $2 billion for starters but probably doomed at the 9% completion phase.Boston has nothing on us!

TSB said...

GWB: You'd have my vote. I loved my one trip to Oregon and would return anytime.

Anonymous said...

TSB: I had a trip to central Oregon
planned for mid-may until I got jury duty but I'm thinking they might not
want a half-deaf,pro-cop juror and I might get rejected and still get to go. If not I hope we can go see the NE Oregon mountains this summer. gwb

TSB said...

GWB: I love jury duty! I show up wearing a judge's robe and carrying a scale of justice in one hand and a noose in the other. For some reason, I never get picked.

James said...

TSB: I've found that an upbeat spiffy Spanish Inquisition out fit works very well also, no one ever expects it.

Anonymous said...

Is this supposed to replace DSTC? Supplement it and the other training facilities used by DS, like the driving center at Charleston, WV?

There is certainly nothing at Charleston or DSTC in Dunn Loring that cannot be or is already replicated at Glynco.

FLETC at Glynco does everything that DSTC and Charleston does all in one facility.

And for the record, FLETC is not just handcuffing, but driving, firearms, explosives, etc.

And DSS agents train there as well. Sounds smarter to consolidate all DS type training at FLETC rather than build a single new facility to replace all DS and other security training.

TSB said...


It would not replace DSTC or any other facility used for DS agent law enforcement training. It would consolidate and expand all driving, shooting, etc., hard-skills training that is now done at leased locations (like BSR) for the foreign service officers and others who are assigned to high threat posts overseas.

This is not law enforcement training, although some of the people taking it are, coincidentally, law enforcement officers.

The benefit of having a single large facility near Washington is that it could handle the 8,000 to 10,000 people who need to get this training each year. The current facilities can't handle half that.