After repeated delays by Georgia’s Congressional Delegation, construction for the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) in Fort Picket, resumed on February 25th.
FASTC will provide hard-skills security training to State Department personnel and the foreign affairs community. The U.S. Department of State, working with the U.S. General Services Administration ( GSA) worked extensively to conduct environmental studies at Fort Pickett, which showed that the site was suitable for FASTC.
In 2015, GSA purchased property and secured land use agreements for approximately 1,400 acres of publicly held land. On February 25, 2016, construction began for the FASTC project.
This facility will be dedicated to providing consolidated hard skills security and life saving training to the foreign affairs community. This training develops the practical skills necessary to operate in today’s overseas environment. Hard skills training allows the foreign affairs community to learn how to detect surveillance, provide emergency medical care, increase identification skills to recognize improvised explosive devices (IED), participate in firearms familiarization, and perform defensive/counterterrorist driving maneuvers. Such training improves security and life safety for the protection of U.S. personnel operating abroad.
Diplomatic security training is conducted at a number of diffuse, leased and contracted facilities nationwide. A May 2008 report to Congress identified the need for a consolidated facility to improve training efficiency, decrease operating costs, and provide priority access to training venues which meet current facility standards. The creation of FASTC will allow for the consolidation of ten of the current eleven leased or use fee facilities the Department utilizes for hard skills training.
FASTC is planned to be a $413 million facility, which is expected to have 339 full-time positions and be fully operational in the year 2020. It's also expected to train 8,000 to 10,000 students annually in diplomatic security. As a result of the project being downsized in 2013, a 450 bed dormitory and large dining hall were cut from the plans, meaning trainees will now have to live off the local economy, creating investment opportunity for those in the hospitality industry.