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US Embassy Kabul: 9 Afghan Guards Killed, 11 American Contractors Wounded

Posted: 2:06 am ET

 

A sewage truck reportedly loaded with 1,500 kgs of explosives was used in the deadly attack in Kabul that killed 90 people and wounded over 400 individuals. The State Department told CBS news that nine Afghan guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were killed and 11 American contractors wounded in the massive suicide truck bomb attack that rocked the diplomatic quarter.  This might be the largest casualty of local guards in recent memory.  In 2008, seven local guards and local law enforcement personnel were killed during an assault of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul announced the closure of routine services:

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will be closed for routine visa and American Citizen Services on Thursday, June 1 and will resume normal operations on Sunday, June 4, 2017.  U.S. citizens needing emergency assistance can call the American Citizen Services section at 070-011-4000 or send an email to KabulACS@state.gov.

In accordance with the Travel Warning for Afghanistan, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan.  The U.S. Embassy in Kabul urges all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan to review your personal security plans, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal safety, remain aware of your surroundings, monitor local news for updates, and maintain a high level of vigilance.

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@StateDept’s Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC): Status Update

Posted: 1:20 am ET

 

The State Department recently posted a video update of its Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) at Fort Pickett in Virginia.

FASTC will provide hard-skills security training to State Department personnel and the foreign affairs community.  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.  According to the State Department, the Master Construction Schedule for the FASTC construction is being completed through three construction contracts. Contractors began construction activities on February 25, 2016 and overall project substantial completion is anticipated for July 2019.

Related posts

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click here for video update

The FASTC Site Plan below shows the general areas where the hard-skills training venues are currently being built for Contract 01 and Contract 02.  According to state.gov, AECOM of Virginia Beach, VA has provided Construction Management as Agent and Commissioning Services since the Design Phase for the FASTC Ft. Pickett, VA site and is responsible for the numerous comprehensive facets of the construction process, including ongoing site communication, safety, security, and circulation of deliveries and construction vehicles on site.

CONTRACT 1: 2015 – April 2017

Jan. 2017 – Build out of Live Fire Shoot House interior
Feb. 2017 – Rappel Tower wood and rock wall installation
Mar. 2017 – Permanent power to all venues

  • Mock-Urban Tactical Training Area
  • Rappel Tower
  • Smoke House
  • Static Training Device Pad
  • Tactical Maze as well as Interior of the High Bay, Classroom and Breakroom
  • Explosives Demonstration Range
  • Viewing Shelter and Storage Building
  • Live Fire Shoot House as well as Interiors

CONTRACT 2: 2016 – September 2018

Jan. 2017 – Tree clearing and grading continues
Feb. 2017 – Ductbank complete and A01 Foundations begun
Mar. 2017 – Slab on Grade placement at A01, tree clearing finishes

  • A01 (Administrative Office Building 01) and T01 (Training Classroom Building 01)
  • Vehicle Maintenance Shop
  • Ring Road Bridge C-300 and C-307
  • Central Ammo and Explosives Storage
  • High-Speed Driving Track
  • High-Speed Track
  • High-Speed Driving Track Bridge
  • Tank Trail
  • Post-Blast Training Range

CONTRACT 3: 2017 – July 2019

August 2017 – Award
July 2019 – Estimated substantial completion

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SFRC Hearing: William Francis Hagerty IV to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

Posted: 1:18 am ET

 

On May 18, the SFRC held a confirmation hearing for  William Francis Hagerty IV’s nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Click here for the confirmation page with the video and his prepared testimony

Below is the Certificate of Demonstrated Competence prepared for the SFRC and made available online by the State Department:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: Japan

CANDIDATE: William F. Hagerty IV

William F. Hagerty IV currently serves as an active board member of three public company and two private company boards. During his career, he has been a government servant, private equity investor and management consultant. In both the private sector and state government he has been a leader on job creation, trade and economic growth. A member of President George H.W. Bush’s staff, he served on the President’s Council on Competitiveness with a portfolio that included International Trade. Mr. Hagerty’s in-depth experience with international economics and trade, his long-standing engagement and understanding of Japan, and his broad range of international connections make him well-qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

Early in his career, he was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and senior expatriate in that firm’s Japan office (1988-1991). At that time, he was also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Presently, Mr. Hagerty serves on the boards of Ryman Hospitality (2016 – present), Pinnacle Bank (2015 – present), and RJ O’Brien (2010 – present) among others. He was a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee (2011-2015) during that time, Tennessee was rated as the top state in the nation for economic development and Number 1 for job creation through foreign direct investment.

Mr. Hagerty graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1981. In 1984 he received a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, where was an Associate Editor of the Law Review and a Wilson Scholar. He has worked extensively on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America, including as Chairman of the Executive Board of the National Capital Council and Board member of the Far East Council while he lived in Japan.

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Russia Seeks Return of Diplomatic Property ASAP, Get Ready For Season Finale!

Posted: 1:04 am ET

 

Last December, in response to Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and to a pattern of harassment of our diplomats overseas, the State Department declared persona non grata  35 Russian officials operating in the United States “who were acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic or consular status.” The Department also informed the Russian Government that it would “deny Russian personnel access to two recreational compounds in the United States owned by the Russian Government.” (see USG Declares 35 Russian Officials Persona Non Grata, Imposes New Sanctions).

Last week, the Russian Embassy in D.C. tweeted that it is seeking the return of its diplomatic property ASAP.

WaPo reported on Wednesday that the Trump Administration was moving to return the Russian compounds in Maryland and New York.

Early last month, the Trump administration told the Russians that it would consider turning the properties back over to them if Moscow would lift its freeze, imposed in 2014 in retaliation for U.S. sanctions related to Ukraine, on construction of a new U.S. consulate on a certain parcel of land in St. Petersburg.

Two days later, the U.S. position changed. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a meeting in Washington that the United States had dropped any linkage between the compounds and the consulate, according to several people with knowledge of the exchanges.

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