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Kingston: FLETC can handle training

Dec 05, 2013


The Brunswick News

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center can more than handle security training for the State Department and save taxpayers millions of dollars in the process, the congressman whose district includes the center in Glynn County says.

The savings and capability of the training center are part of an argument presented by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-1, in a recent letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kingston supports strong training programs for State Department personnel but is opposed to spending an estimated $1 billion on the development of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center - or FASTC - at Fort Pickett at Blackstone, Va.

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center - with its headquarters at Brunswick and facilities at Artesia, N.M., Charleston, S.C., and Cheltenham, Md. - was created to consolidate law enforcement training for most federal agencies. It is already providing training to the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service and Office of Inspector General, two of the 91 agencies it serves.

Kingston said FLETC has shown it can handle the State Department's needs, citing a viability assessment conducted by FLETC and submitted to the federal Office of Management and Budget.

"In this report, FLETC detailed (its) proposals for full FASTC use and calculated saving over $635 million in capital investment," he wrote in the letter. "Over the 10-year cost projection, the government will save $813 million in operational costs with the FLETC alternative.

"In addition to readily available classroom and instruction facilities, FLETC already employs support staff, which will limit the need to hire additional (staff)."

Funding for a new training facility was included in a budget submitted by the State Department for the new fiscal year in October, but it was taken out after Kingston and members of the U.S. Senate questioned the lack of a feasibility or impact study.

"As you know, a variety of federal agencies have sought to establish new, separate training centers for their agencies over many years - sometimes inspired by members of Congress whose states they viewed as the ideal setting, other times by an earnest desire to provide the best training possible," Kingston wrote Kerry.

"I am as dedicated as anyone in government to assuring that our law enforcement officers receive the best preparation possible. However, these efforts have been rejected in most cases because FLETC was established to consolidate federal training facilities, achieve significant cost efficiencies of co-location and avoid this kind of proliferation.

"In these difficult budget times, it would be an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars to develop duplicative federal training centers."

Kingston ended the letter to Kerry by urging him to "fully consider the Glynco FLETC facility" for the State Department's training needs.

The letter, a copy of which was only recently given to The News, was dated Nov. 18.