Today, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visited the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) in Blackstone, Virginia, where he met with staff and observed some of the specialized security training that is provided to Department personnel and other U.S. government agencies.
FASTC, which is staffed and run by the Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), is the largest provider of foreign affairs security training in the United States. The facility covers more than 1,350 acres and consolidates 11 previous training sites into one state-of-the-art facility. DSS staff train roughly 10,000 students annually – including DSS special agents, members of the U.S. government foreign affairs community, and eligible family members of personnel posted overseas – through over 150 courses in topics such as self-defense for overseas travel, tactical driving, emergency medical care, and threat mitigation tactics.
The Secretary observed DSS agents participating in defensive driving, fire rescue, and hostage recovery exercises. He also had the opportunity to see the training conducted for other Department personnel including self-defense, operational medicine, and government detention training.
Secretary Blinken is the first Secretary of State to visit this training center, which opened in November 2019. His trip emphasizes the Department’s commitment to preparing the foreign affairs community to meet the growing security challenges they face during overseas assignments. It also highlights the important role DSS plays in advancing U.S. foreign policy and safeguarding national security interests by ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel, property, and information overseas.
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