Warner, Kaine, Forbes, Hurt, McAuliffe Applaud Final Step Before Construction Of Embassy Security Training Facility At Fort Pickett
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with U.S. Representatives 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.
“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 Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has been a leading advocate for action on the construction of a new facility since taking office in 2013. “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.”
“This is good news for the State Department and for Virginia,” said 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 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 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.”
“This is another positive step in bringing this critical, long overdue project to Fort Pickett,” said 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.”
Governor Terry McAuliffe also praised today’s 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 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.”
After a multi-year exhaustive search, in April 2014 the Administration announced the selection of Fort Pickett 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. Warner, Kaine, Forbes, and Hurt have long-supported the establishment of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center at Fort Pickett.