I missed this when it happened, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on October 18 for four State Department nominees. One of them was Michael Evanoff, the nominee for Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. Senator Isakson (R-Georgia) presided.
You can view the hearing on the Committee's website, here.
In Evanoff's prepared remarks, which come at the 12 minute mark in the hearing video, he ended with a pitch for completion of the much-needed but long-delayed-by-shameless-Congressional-infighting-over-whose-district-will-get-it Foreign Affairs Security Training Center.
After several years of delays, the FASTC is at last under construction at Fort Pickett, Virginia. See this for some background.
"I will also put special focus on the continued overhaul and refinement of security training for Department of State employees. This includes intensive specialized training for all DS agents and the on-going expansion of the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) course for all employees working overseas under the authority of the Chief of Mission. It also includes the completion of the Department’s Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Once fully up and running, this state-of-the-art facility will allow DS to provide more efficient and effective hard skills training – such firearms, explosives, antiterrorism driving techniques, and defensive tactics – for roughly 10,000 students annually."
Upon hearing that, Isakson at once made a weak swipe at FASTC, asking Evanoff to consider the inadequate and inappropriate law enforcement training centers that already exist in Georgia instead of a new purpose-built one in Virginia. Much later on in the hearing, at the 44 minute mark, Senator Kaine (D-VA) made an equally weak motion in support of FASTC at Fort Pickett. The long battle over which state will get FASTC is apparently over now, but some hard feelings remain.
The first question Evanoff received came from Isakson. At the 35 minute mark, Isakson asked this very broad question: does Mister Evanoff know of any effort made since the Benghazi reviews and Accountability Review Board report “to build up and beef up security diplomatically?"
Yes, Senator, he knew of several. I can think of one, too: that dedicated state-of-the-art training center will eventually be completed at Fort Pickett despite years of obstruction by you and some of your fellow Congressmen.