The U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service’s Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) opened its doors today during an inaugural ceremony at the state-of-the-art facility in Blackstone, Virginia.
Managed by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), the law enforcement and security arm of the Department of State, FASTC is a comprehensive complex that provides fully integrated security training in a way that has never been done before for the foreign affairs community.
FASTC is the nation’s largest provider of foreign affairs security training. Located on 1,350 acres of the 55,000-acre training complex at Ft. Pickett, a Virginia Army National Guard installation, FASTC meets the Department’s growing and unique security training needs and the threats the foreign affairs community faces overseas.
The training compound aims to satisfy the unique challenges of securing diplomacy in an ever changing global environment by providing hard-skills security training to approximately 10,000 students annually, including Diplomatic Security Service special agents, other Department personnel, and the larger foreign affairs community.
The campus includes three high-speed driving tracks, off-road and improved tracks, explosives ranges, tactical structures to simulate various risk situations and two smokehouses for situations when fire is used as a weapon. Training also includes land navigation, capstone exercises, and various scenarios that utilize a mock embassy compound. Some of the training courses offered include surveillance detection, emergency medical care, recognizing improvised explosive devices, firearms familiarization, and defensive and counterterrorism driving maneuvers.
In addition to its law enforcement duties of investigating passport and visa fraud and related crimes, DSS enables a safe environment for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy—protecting people, property and information at U.S. missions throughout the world. What distinguishes DSS from other law enforcement organizations is its complete global presence exceeding that of any other federal law enforcement agency. More than 2,500 DSS special agents, security engineers, technicians, and diplomatic couriers serve in 29 domestic offices across the United States and 275 U.S. embassies and consulates in 170 foreign countries.