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    Army trainers get DOS certification

    Army trainers get DOS certification

    Courtesy Photo | Soldiers from the Security Assistance Training Management Organization, train on...... read more read more



    Story by Richard Bumgardner 

    U.S. Army Security Assistance Command

    In 2020, during the height of a global pandemic, Soldiers assigned to the Security Assistance Command’s Fort Bragg-based Security Assistance Training Management Organization became the only Army-based unit certified to run the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Counter Threat, or FACT, course.

    That accomplishment was especially important as USASAC, as the lead for Army foreign military sales, initiates, processes, tracks and manages almost $200 billion in past, current and future FMS cases around the world.

    With that global mission comes a training requirement for operation and sustainment of the FMS equipment, that USASAC calls the Total Package Approach. This ensures U.S. partners and allies can build their organic capabilities to repair, sustain and use their equipment, so they can protect their citizens and defend their borders.

    To support FMS case training, USASAC annually deploys hundreds of military, Army Civilian and contractor personnel, with most FMS cases requiring deployments outside the continental U.S. anywhere from one month to several years in length.

    With that global mission also come global threats.

    “The incredible opportunity to work overseas, develop friendships with partners, learn a foreign culture, and see new things is not without risk,” said Col. Scott Malone II, the brigade commander for SATMO. “The potential of natural disasters and/or criminal, foreign intelligence, and violent extremist threats increases risk for our deployed Soldiers.”

    Years ago to mitigate that risk the team at SATMO developed the in-house Security Assistance Team Training and Orientation Course, or SATTOC, which security assistance teams had to complete prior to their long-term deployments in support of FMS training cases.

    For years that course met the DOD standard but SATTOC wasn’t certified, hence didn’t meet the stricter Department of State’s requirement of their own course, FACT, required for DOS Chief of Mission personnel.

    “SATTOC taught the same TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) but this is now a certified and approved instruction for the Department of State requirements,” said Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Rodarte, the lead instructor from SATMO. “Being the only course like this in the Army means this may potentially open the door to assist the DOS with clearing the backfill of students unable to attend due to pandemic protocols.”

    DOS had for years been building towards this robust hard-skills training curriculum after analyzing years of attacks on embassies and consulates around the world: Iran in 1924, and again in 1979, Taiwan in 1957, Turkey in 1958, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Pakistan, China, Mexico, and many, many more.

    Momentum built in mid-1990’s after a subordinate unit under USASAC, the Office of Program Manager for Modernization – Saudi Arabian National Guard’s headquarters were bombed in November 1995, then the Khobar bombings in 1996, and simultaneous attacks in 1998 at the U.S. embassies in Kenya, and neighboring Tanzania, where 224 people died and 5,000 injured.

    According to DOS reports, from 2001-2009, there were 20 fatal attacks on U.S. embassies that resulted in 87 deaths -- 24 of them were either U.S. embassy workers or U.S. civilians. There were too many attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates that left employees, agents and officials scrambling for their lives.

    The calls for DOS and Congress to increase diplomatic security and hard-skills training for staff and family members rallied following the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Libya that killed the U.S. Ambassador, a staff member, and two security contractors. Russell Pugh, a DOS FACT trainer, said the attack in Libya set into motion the FACT course as it is today.

    “FACT had been going on for a while, from about 2004 and on, but following Benghazi, the DOS combined the Iraq Immersion course, and the previous generation FACT course, into the current iteration of the course that we know it today,” Pugh said.

    The five-day, 40-hour course provides students with the hard-skills and practical knowledge necessary to recognize, avoid, and respond to a wide array of common, but potentially deadly, threats. Students gain experience in managing risk, security awareness, surveillance detection, personnel recovery, mission planning, tactical medicine, fire as a weapon, react to contact, self-defense, and evasive driving.

    Pugh, himself a former military non-commissioned officer, said this was the fastest FACT Training-Equivalency certification the DOS has given out of 11 external programs, due in part to their ability to work together and ease of working with the SATMO team to get through the process.

    “We brought out our DOS agents, medics, personnel recovery, operations, and driving subject matter experts to conduct not only audits, but also run a train-the-trainer courses as well,” he said. “We sat down from the very beginning and charted out the route to SATMO's success. The SATMO training cadre were great to work with and stayed focused on completing the tasks. Every step of the way SATMO was willing and able to make adjustments and shift fire as required by the DOS mandates.”

    That allowed the flexibility and mindset necessary to figure out the best solutions to merging two different programs and plans of instruction, into one certified at that higher standards needed for DOS approval.

    “I’d like to thank the DOS team for coming out to SATMO and entrusting us with this organic capability,” Malone said. “This is a great course to have in our command, and one that provides SATMO Soldiers with the tools to stay safe, mitigate risk, and increase their ability to achieve success in their assigned overseas mission, while enjoying the cultural and growth experiences of this assignment opportunity.”


    For more information about the SATMO mission, go to:



    Date Taken: 03.03.2021
    Date Posted: 03.12.2021 09:56
    Story ID: 390452
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 

    Web Views: 93
    Downloads: 0