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  4. Written testimony of FLETC Director for a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management,... hearing titled “Ensuring Oversight: Vetting Decisions for State Department’s New Diplomatic Security Training Facility”

Written testimony of FLETC Director Connie Patrick for a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development hearing titled “Ensuring Oversight: Vetting Decisions for State Department’s New Diplomatic Security Training Facility”

Release Date: October 8, 2015

419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Good morning Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Carper, and members of the Committee. It is a pleasure to be with you today to discuss the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers’ (FLETC) capabilities and our participation in the Administration’s due-diligence of the State Department’s overseas security training facility.

FLETC Overview

I would like to acknowledge and thank Congress for its longstanding support of FLETC’s mission to train those who protect the homeland. Congress created FLETC in 1970 under the premise that consolidated federal law enforcement training provides consistency and efficiency in the preparation of law enforcement officers and agents, while enabling agencies to conduct specialized training unique to their missions. I have been privileged to serve as the Director of FLETC since 2002, after completing a 20-year sworn law enforcement career in Florida.

Today, FLETC is the Nation’s largest provider of law enforcement training. It delivers basic and advanced training to 96 federal partner organizations and thousands of state, local, tribal, and international law enforcement officers and agents at four domestic training sites in Glynco, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Artesia, New Mexico; and Cheltenham, Maryland; at the International Law Enforcement Academies worldwide, and at export locations throughout the United States and internationally. FLETC also engages in ongoing training review, development, and research in coordination with stakeholders at all levels of law enforcement to ensure its training continues to meet its partners’ evolving needs. In Fiscal Year 2014, FLETC trained nearly 60,000 law enforcement officers and agents at all of its sites and export locations. Since 1970, FLETC has trained over one million law enforcement officers and agents.

FLETC’s consolidated training model offers quantitative and qualitative benefits to both taxpayers and law enforcement agencies. While FLETC provides training in core areas common to all law enforcement officers, such as firearms, driving, tactics, investigations, and legal issues, partner organizations deliver training specific to their operational needs. Moreover, the consolidated training model avoids unnecessary duplication of infrastructure and resources. Using the FLETC model, one federal agency builds and manages the infrastructure germane to a residential training facility, such as a cafeteria, gymnasium, library, training venues, classrooms, computer laboratories, dormitories, and recreational facilities, which all partners utilize. Moreover, agencies leverage and share existing support infrastructure, such as water, sewage, maintenance, and power services.

Beyond the economic rationale for the consolidated training model, agencies also benefit from enhanced interoperability and high quality training by training together. For example, FLETC’s curriculum development and review process brings together experts from across the law enforcement community to share and vet ideas about training content and methodology. Like the peer review process in many professions, the healthy exchange of thoughts and concepts breeds thorough analysis of contemporary law enforcement issues and techniques, and invokes beneficial change. FLETC law enforcement training classes often comprise officers and agents from a variety of agencies, improving future interoperability in the performance of daily duties and during times of emergency. The consolidated training model thus leverages the significant role that training can play in fostering long-term collaborative mindsets, teamwork, and information-sharing capabilities in law enforcement officers from different agencies.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, underscored the critical need for all law enforcement agencies to work together more effectively; to share intelligence, information, and know-how more seamlessly; and to break down traditional stovepipes that had previously prevented integration of effort. In the increasingly complex law enforcement landscape, the consolidated training model offers consistency in training law enforcement officers and agents in core competencies, combined with the flexibility to enable agencies to prepare personnel to meet their specific operational needs. The Congressional vision that established FLETC forty-five years ago remains as relevant today as it ever was. FLETC continues to build partnerships across the vast law enforcement community to ensure optimal execution of the consolidated law enforcement training model.

FLETC's Experience in Meeting and Adapting to Partners' Changing Training Needs

FLETC has a long, rich history of adapting training programs and facilities to meet emerging threats and associated agency training requirements. As training demands increased and changed in the post-9/11 homeland security environment, FLETC grew to four domestic training sites, and its international mission significantly expanded. The transition into the post-9/11 environment occasioned a refocusing and expansion of many FLETC training programs as well as the creation of new ones to meet emerging needs, such as anti/counter-terrorism, flying armed, intelligence awareness, and critical infrastructure protection. Working with the Transportation Security Administration in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, FLETC assisted in the ramp up of the Federal Air Marshal Service by aiding in the design of a formal training program and sustaining an increased tempo for student throughput. Also at that time, FLETC worked with the U.S. Border Patrol to transition its Border Patrol Academy to FLETC’s site in Artesia, New Mexico, as the agency doubled in size and had to train thousands of agents to meet increased staffing requirements. FLETC also created the first basic academy of the Office of the Courts for 4,000 federal probation officers, and assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in consolidating its law enforcement training effort at FLETC’s site in Charleston, South Carolina.

Additionally, over the past decade and a half, in coordination with its partner organizations, FLETC has built new state-of-the-art facilities to provide realistic training scenarios and exercises for officers and agents confronting a changing world. These new venues include multi-purpose facilities for counterterrorism and complex tactical training. Additionally, FLETC has constructed high speed driving ranges that support armored vehicles such as armored suburbans, where partner organizations train prior to deployments throughout the world. During its history, FLETC has worked with numerous partner organizations to develop training venues based on specific training requirements. For example, FLETC collaborated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to construct a mock port of entry, with the U.S. Capitol Police to build a replica of the U.S. Capitol complex, and with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to develop a bomb range that met their specifications and an arson investigation practical exercise venue.

In the face of unprecedented growth in FLETC’s training throughput in the years following the September 11th terrorist attacks, FLETC has consistently met its participating partner organizations’ law enforcement training needs. FLETC leverages the numerous avenues it has in place to collaborate on training with its partner organizations, and encourages ongoing dialogue on training and administrative matters.

FLETC Engagement on Department of State's (DOS) Training Consolidation Efforts

DOS was an original signatory to the FLETC Memorandum of Understanding in 1970, and remains a valued partner. DOS’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service (DS) criminal investigators attend basic criminal investigator training at FLETC, and DS agents attend various advanced FLETC training programs. In April 2014, OMB asked FLETC to work with DOS to attain certification to deliver DOS’s Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) Training at FLETC’s Glynco location. DOS granted FLETC this certification in March 2015. FLETC piloted the FACT Training in Glynco the week of July 27, 2015, and will incorporate this program into its scheduled offerings for Fiscal Year 2016. FLETC fully supports the Administration’s decision to consolidate DOS’s hard skills training at Fort Pickett, Blackstone, Virginia, in furtherance of best preparing its personnel to serve its critical overseas function, which has been explained in the testimony from my colleague from the Department of State.

In early 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requested that FLETC work with DOS and the General Services Administration to assess the viability of using available capacity at FLETC facilities, and the cost of any additional required construction to meet DOS’s training needs. FLETC accordingly developed a rough order of magnitude cost estimate of $200 million, which OMB asked FLETC to refine in August 2013. In response, in November 2013, FLETC submitted a more detailed cost estimate of $272 million to OMB.

This estimate and associated business case are based on DOS’s original full scope master plan, and account for training that FLETC could conduct immediately, training that would require modification to existing facilities, and training that would require new construction. FLETC’s proposal was based on DOS’s stated physical plant requirements and guarantee for DOS primacy, but not exclusive, of use of facilities constructed specifically for the needs of DOS. These venues would be available for the use of and benefit to other agencies when not in use by State.

In April 2014, FLETC received notification from OMB that the decision was made to allow DOS to establish the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center at Fort Pickett. Subsequently, the Administration’s 2016 budget request included $99 million for construction of the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center at Fort Pickett and therefore no investment is being made at FLETC for DS training. Since the decision was made to proceed with Fort Pickett construction, FLETC has taken no further action on the issue except for responding to congressional inquiries on its 2013 cost estimate. FLETC has cooperated with a Government Accountability Office (GAO) engagement on this topic, and GAO recently published its report. Additionally, the General Services Administration recently advised FLETC that Deloitte Consulting LLP would be conducting a cost benefit analysis comparing Fort Pickett, FLETC, and another venue DOS currently uses to conduct training.

FLETC supports the Administration’s decision to consolidate State’s training at Fort Pickett, stands ready to assist however possible, and looks forward to a strong continued partnership with DOS.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 10/06/2022
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