Elected Officials Applaud Land Purchase For State Dept Fort Picket Training Facility

Posted: 12:32 am EDT
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On May 28, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), issued a subpoena (pdf) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to compel it to provide the Committee with all analyses, documents, and communications related to the State Department’s plan to construct a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) in Virginia (see Uh-oh Dept: Royce Issues Subpoena to OMB Over Diplomatic Security Training Facility Documents).

On June 1, five elected officials announced the land purchase for the FASTC facility at Fort Pickett.

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with U.S. Reps. Randy Forbes and Robert Hurt announced that land has been purchased and construction will begin on a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) at Fort Pickett in Nottoway County, Virginia.

Last week, the Director of the U.S. General Services Administration signed a Record of Decision (ROD), which identified Fort Pickett as the site to construct and operate the FASTC.  This decision was made following a month-long review period of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which considered potential environmental impacts of the site, as well as FASTC’s operations and training needs, and comments from the public.

The ROD and land purchase are major milestones in efforts to provide a facility dedicated to training foreign affairs personnel in security, lifesaving, and emergency techniques necessary for operating in today’s dangerous overseas environments. Building the FASTC at Fort Pickett will enable training collaboration and interagency partnerships between civilian, military, and intelligence agencies in the Washington D.C. area.

The Senate’s Virginia delegation is pleased; here is Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA):

“This is good news for the State Department and for Virginia,” said Sen. Warner.“The jobs and economic activity created by this project will be welcomed by this community, and the facility will have an important role in training those security officers who protect American diplomats around the world.”

“Today we are one step closer to breaking ground on a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center at Fort Pickett that will play a key role in keeping our diplomatic personnel safe around the world,” said Sen. Kaine. “Nearly three years after the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, a permanent facility to properly train our diplomatic personnel for service in an increasingly dangerous world is long overdue.”

House Armed Services subcommittee chairman Randy Forbes from Virginia’s 4th District says:

“Today marks another major step forward for a project that is not only important to Virginia, but also critical to the men and women who serve our country abroad,” said Rep. Forbes, Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. “Attacks against American missions in Yemen, Afghanistan, and the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 serve as powerful reminders of the evolving threats our Diplomatic Corps face on a daily basis.  The construction of this dedicated training facility is essential to ensure that every American supporting our mission overseas is able to successfully promote U.S. interests and return safely home.”

Representative Robert Hurt from Virginia’s 5th District says:

“This is another positive step in bringing this critical, long overdue project to Fort Pickett,” said Rep. Hurt. “We will continue to work together to ensure our American diplomatic personnel have the best security training possible, and I am pleased that once again, that we are one step closer to groundbreaking at Fort Pickett, which has been identified as the site that offers the best resources for this training and the best long-term value for the taxpayer.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also praised the announcement:

“I am very pleased that the Record of Decision has been signed by the GSA. This is a big step in moving forward on construction of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Security Training Center,” said Gov. McAuliffe.  “The GSA and DOS have done their due diligence and have undertaken an extensive process in search for the best possible and most cost effective site for the FASTC. It is no surprise that Virginia emerged as the right home for this important project, which will be an enormous economic driver for the region and our Commonwealth, creating as many as 1,000 jobs.  My team and I were pleased to be a part of the effort that brought the FASTC to Virginia and we will continue to work with the congressional delegation, the various federal agencies and Nottoway County to bring this important project to fruition.”

The announcement notes that the Administration announced the selection of Fort Pickett after a multi-year exhaustive search as the best site to meet the State Department’s operational requirements and take advantage of synergies with the intelligence agencies and military facilities nearby in the Washington D.C. area. Also that Warner, Kaine, Forbes, and Hurt have long-supported the establishment of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center at Fort Pickett.

We just hope this project does not get stuck in Congress indefinitely while elected representatives continue to squabble over its location.

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