Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, along with Governor Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Representatives Bobby Scott, Randy Forbes, Rob Wittman, Gerry Connolly, Robert Hurt, Dave Brat, Don Beyer and Scott Rigell released the following statement welcoming the groundbreaking of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia.
“After years of unnecessary delays and hurdles, the brave men and women who serve in our embassies around the world – many of whom call Virginia home – will finally have a dedicated facility to receive the best possible security training before they embark on assignments in high threat countries across the globe. We are especially proud that such an important facility will be located in Virginia. As four different federal agency evaluations and an independent cost-benefit analysis made clear, only Fort Pickett meets every requirement for a consolidated Foreign Affairs Security Training Center making it by far the best site – both from a strategic and cost perspective. We are pleased that groundbreaking is finally underway in Nottoway County.”
For months, members of the Virginia delegation have fought back against attempts to derail the construction of a FASTC at Fort Pickett. According to an independent cost-benefit-analysis released in December and a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last September, Fort Pickett is the only site that meets four requirements deemed critical in the selection of a diplomatic security training center, including: 1) consolidation of training venues; 2) proximity to Washington, D.C.; 3) exclusive use of the facility for State Department diplomatic security training; 4) use of the facility 24 hours/7 days a week to allow for nighttime training missions. In addition to meeting these four critical training criteria, the independent analysis found Fort Pickett to be the lowest-risk, most cost-efficient option – by approximately $90 million – when compared to the next closest alternative.