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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    The State Department's billion-dollar boondoggle

    The State Department's billion-dollar boondoggle

    9/14/15 12:02 AM

    Three years after the Benghazi attack that claimed four American lives including our ambassador to Libya the Department of State has failed to sufficiently increase training for those charged with protecting American outposts abroad.
    State's excuse for this inexcusable delay stems from its desire to construct a duplicative new facility of its own rather than utilizing an existing network of federally operated training centers already training some 91 federal law enforcement entities.

    Indeed, for nearly 22 years, the Department of State's pursuit of an independent training facility has been marred by waste, delays and failures. It is the epitome of a hapless Washington bureaucracy that has eroded trust in the federal government.

    In this latest chapter, bureaucrats at the State Department are banking that the public outcry over the tragedy at Benghazi will help push them across the finish line. To date, they have poured $200 million into a potential site at Fort Pickett, Va., by utilizing unobligated funds left over from another federal boondoggle President Obama's failed "stimulus" to skirt statutory limits on their ability to use newly appropriated dollars while Congress provides oversight.

    It is a classic Washington story: Trying to get too far down the road to turn around on a project before taxpayers realize just how bad of a deal they are getting. While we have heard this tale before, this one may take the cake.

    The State Department's initial price tag for its proposed Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FAST-C) was more than $950 million. After a collective gasp, it scaled back the project to one that would cost $461 million. It's a great price for a great facility unless you want places for students to eat, sleep or any of the other modern conveniences that have been removed from the new plan.

    Even at that reduced price, the State Department cannot come close to the savings offered by utilizing the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) headquartered in Glynco, Georgia with a network of existing training facilities across the country and around the world. The cost estimates provided by FLETC indicate that it can get the job done for $272 million, just over half the price.

    Ever wonder why six of the 10 wealthiest counties in the nation are in the Washington, D.C., area? It's because of the "federal government knows best" mentality that says everything must be close to Washington, D.C., in order to function properly.
    What makes all of this even more egregious is that the White House's own analysis found FLETC to be the better option.
    I recently had an opportunity to review a 2013 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review of the construction costs, training, location and synergies, construction schedule, and life support services.

    That review found that FLETC would save taxpayers $812 million over 10 years while accommodating students more quickly and would bolster the development of curriculum. In addition, the existing life support services at FLETC those means by which we feed, house and care for students would provide an added value of $625 million.

    It is blatantly clear now why the administration has been stonewalling Congress by keeping this report under wraps. The administration clearly believed that if it kept this report a secret it would be able to move forward with a politically motivated plan that wastes hundreds of millions of precious taxpayer dollars.

    The Obama administration has found that FLETC is the better option. It should devote its efforts and resources on this important diplomatic security training at FLETC rather than continuing to waste time and money on other options.

    Buddy Carter is a Republican representing Georgia's 1st congressional district. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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