Six Dodge chargers careened around the track at 80 miles per hour, conducting controlled skids, stops and quick-turn maneuvers for U.S. federal officials holding on tightly inside.
The track was the site of several demonstrations during the inauguration of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) in Blackstone, Va., on November 14, 2019.
After participating in several training demonstrations and a tour of the FASTC facilities, Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Michael T. Evanoff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Training Wendy Bashnan and General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy led the official FASTC ribbon-cutting ceremony before an audience of several hundred federal, state and local officials, as well as friends and families of DSS personnel.
The ceremony ushered in a new era for training at the state-of-the-art facility. Under Secretary Bulatao declared FASTC open for business and ready to train DSS special agents to protect U.S. diplomats and missions.
Located on 1,350 acres of the 55,000-acre training complex at Ft. Pickett, a Virginia Army National Guard installation, FASTC allowed DSS and the broader Department of State to consolidate 11 separate training sites. The facility will train roughly 10,000 students annually including DSS special agents, other Department personnel and the larger foreign affairs community. All U.S. government employees working abroad under the security responsibility of the Secretary of State will receive Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) training at FASTC in the coming months and years.
FASTC is the nation’s largest provider of foreign affairs security training. The campus includes three high-speed driving tracks, off-road and improved tracks, explosives ranges, tactical structures to simulate risk of serious injury or death situations and two smokehouses for situations when fire is used as a weapon. Training also includes land navigation, capstone exercises and scenarios involving a mock embassy compound. Some of the training courses offered at FASTC include surveillance detection, emergency medical care, recognizing improvised explosive devices, firearms familiarization and defensive and counterterrorism driving maneuvers.
“As a former DSS Special Agent, I know firsthand the importance of FASTC. It will help us face the threats we may encounter in our assignments overseas,” said Assistant Secretary Evanoff. “This facility is unlike anything in the federal government, and we are proud to call it home.”