12 FAM 380


(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)
(Office of Origin:  DS/PSP/DEAV)


12 FAM 381.1  Scope

(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

This subchapter covers the Department’s armored vehicle program, which provides protection for Department personnel and their dependents, foreign dignitaries, chiefs of mission (COMs), principal officers (POs), and others as needed from the threat of terrorism, war, and civil disturbance.

12 FAM 381.2  Authority

(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

The Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-399) as codified at 22 U.S.C. 4802.


(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. The minimum level of protection provided by the Department is Level C (see 12 FAH-6 H-522.6).  These standards ensure the Department has a reasonable number of armored vehicle assets for enhanced levels of protection for employees, their dependents, and foreign dignitaries during periods of increased threat, instability, or evacuation.

b. When possible, the Department will ensure each armored vehicle meets Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Vehicle Safety (FMVS), and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) standards.  Where armoring may adversely impact these standards, the Department, through its relationships with armoring vendors, makes the necessary adjustments to brake, suspension, and safety systems to align these modified vehicles to the DOT, FMVS, and OEM standards as closely as possible.


(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. DS is responsible for coordinating the armored vehicle program and developing standards.  Direct any questions pertaining to this program to the Defensive Equipment and Armored Vehicle Division (DS/PSP/DEAV).  DS/PSP/DEAV serves as the overall coordination point and program manager for armored vehicles and related issues, and the liaison for various Federal agencies, the Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB), and posts.  DS/PSP/DEAV provides annual budget estimates to DS for those platforms and DS-provided armoring systems, along with required funding estimates for the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS).

b. DS has program responsibility to purchase life-cycle replacement armored vehicles for the COM or PO.  The five-year replacement cycle starts when the vehicle departs DS/PSP/DEAV for shipment to post.  The five-year replacement cycle is not associated with the year of manufacture.

c.  DS is responsible for purchasing armored vehicles for new COMs or POs at newly established posts.  Regional bureaus, in consultation with post’s regional security officer (RSO) and general services officer (GSO), must provide armored vehicle requirements to RSOs at posts, for new post openings or re-openings.

d. Once established, Regional bureaus, through International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS councils, are responsible for budgeting and funding armored vehicle base chassis purchases and shipment of shared motorpool armored vehicles.  DS is responsible for funding the application of armor to the base chassis.

e. The post Emergency Action Committee (EAC) must meet at least annually to discuss the armored vehicle program and its requirements (See 12 FAH-6 H-522.3).  Discussion topics should include:

(1)  Current and future threat levels,

(2)  Right sizing of armored vehicle assets;

(3)  Life cycle replacements;

(4)  Driver training requirements;

(5)  Maintenance;

(6)  Evacuation needs as per the Emergency Action Plan (EAP);

(7)  Disposal procedures; and

(8)  Inventory/accountability processes.

f.  EACs must determine future armored vehicle requirements, so that ICASS councils, program offices, and OSPB partners have sufficient time to budget for appropriate base chassis purchases (See 12 FAH-6 522.3).  Posts must document their annual EAC meeting in the RSO Security Management Console (SMC) no later than 1 October annually.


(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. The vehicle make, type, and model assigned to any post must align with the vehicle assignment policy of the federal agency using the vehicle.

b. All assignments of other agency armored vehicles must include consultation and coordination between the agency and the EAC.  In the event of a disagreement between the EAC and an individual agency, the parties must forward the dispute to the COM for resolution.

c.  Overall responsibility for the use of official vehicles at a post lies with the COM or PO who must establish policies for the use of official vehicles for business purposes and other authorized uses in accordance with regulation (14 FAM 430).

12 FAM 385  Procurement AND INSPECTION

(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. Post must coordinate requests for all Department and ICASS armored vehicles through DS/PSP/DEAV and the Overseas Fleet Division (A/LM/PMP/OF).

b. Other U.S. Government agencies must consult with DS/PSP/DEAV and through their agency headquarters to ensure compliance with OSPB standards before EACs requesting permission to ship vehicles to post (See 12 FAH-6 H-522).

c.  After EAC approval, the OSPB compliant vehicle may be shipped.

d. DS/PSP/DEAV must approve the make and model of vehicle platforms, regardless of protection level, prior to procurement of base chassis.  Armor is applied only to passenger vehicles with suitable chassis strength and performance characteristics.

e. OSPB-compliant armored vehicles must meet the testing requirements set forth in 12 FAH-6 H-522.6 and be inspected a least four separate times throughout the armoring process to ensure passenger protection.

f.  The inspections will take place upon:

(1)  Receipt of the base unit;

(2)  Pre-weld fitment;

(3)  Post-armor welding; and

(4)  A thorough final inspection, including a mobility drive.


(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. Once delivered, funding for OEM non-armor-related maintenance costs (such as preventative maintenance and general repair) are a post responsibility.

b. Any post-designated, certified mechanic, while under a post employee’s observation, may perform mechanical work or preventative maintenance on OEM non-armor components of armored vehicles.

c.  Specific guidance regarding daily checks and general maintenance, which should be conducted at post, is outlined in annual armored vehicle maintenance cables.

d. If the RSO determines security conditions allow, in special circumstances (such as when paint must dry in an oven overnight), the RSO may approve an armored vehicle to remain overnight at a post-approved mechanic’s facility unaccompanied by a post employee.

e. The vehicle must be screened using post-available resources before being placed back into service.

f.  Once placed into service, armored vehicles sent for repair or maintenance work to an outside mechanic domestically may remain overnight with reputable mechanics only when necessary.  Domestic employee oversight is recommended but not required.  The vehicle must be screened before being placed back into service.


(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. DS performs repair and replacement of armoring materials (e.g., transparent and opaque ballistic materials) on Department-furnished armored vehicles.

b. Vehicles not procured through DS/PSP/DEAV-contracted vendors or that are not OSPB-compliant will not be repaired by DS/PSP/DEAV armored vehicle technicians.

c.  OSPB-compliant vehicles belonging to other U.S. Government agencies may be repaired by DS/PSP/DEAV technicians on a cost-reimbursable basis with an approved interagency agreement (IAA).  This does not prevent other agencies from performing this function with their own qualified technicians.

d. Other agency vehicles not armored by DS/PSP/DEAV vendors must be repaired in accordance with policies issued from that agency’s headquarters.  Only DS/PSP/DEAV-authorized armoring technicians may repair, remove, or replace defective armoring materials in armored vehicles serviced pursuant to an IAA in accordance with subsection c of this section.

e. When armor removal or repair is necessary on an official Department of State funded vehicle, DS/PSP/DEAV must first authorize such work in writing after consulting with the RSO.

f.  Alterations to an armored vehicle must not reduce the effectiveness of the armor materials or the performance of the vehicle.

g. When replacing defective armor materials, authorized armoring technicians must perform the work using parts they deem necessary to comply with OSPB standards.


(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. To reduce the possibility of unauthorized use and because testing requirements for armoring OSPB-compliant vehicles is classified, all armored vehicles must be destroyed at the end of their useful life.  They may NOT be sold, donated or transferred to persons, governments, or organizations outside of the U.S. Government.

b. Armored vehicles may be transferred to other U.S. Government agencies.  All armored vehicle transfers must adhere to the DS Property Transfer SOP found on the Logistics Services Division (DS/MGT/LS) website and 14 FAM 400.

c.  For post-and-bureau-armored-vehicle assets, the RSO must coordinate disposal with DS/PSP/DEAV, the A/LM/PMP/OF, and the GSO.  Post must request authorization via a DS-1559 prior to actual disposal.  Post must also complete a DS-132 to remove the disposed vehicle from the property records.

d. Other agencies must coordinate disposal of their armored vehicles with the RSO, MVAO and their responsible headquarters element.  If compliance with the destruction requirements of 12 FAM 388 is not possible, then post must submit a request for alternative disposition to DS/PSP/DEAV with an explanation of the circumstances.  A/LM/PMP/OF and DS/PSP/DEAV will offer advice and assistance to posts making such requests. Agencies are responsible for all costs associated with the disposal process.

e. Posts must dispose of armored vehicles based on local conditions and restrictions.  Post can find an armored vehicle disposal contract template on A/OPE/EAD’s web site.  The RSO and MVAO must coordinate to ensure salvageable radios and security equipment are removed before disposal.  Disposal must be witnessed by a cleared U.S. citizen direct hire employee.

f.  Post must ensure the DS-1559 is issued prior to completing the disposal.  Block 11 of the DS-1559 is completed by the cleared U.S. citizen direct hire employee witnessing the disposal.  Block 12 requires the signature of the property management officer

g. Approved disposal methods include (in order of preference):

(1)  Crushing;

(2)  Disassembly with sections no larger than 2 square feet;

(3)  Burning;

(4)  Explosive demolition; or

(5)  Burial on U.S. Government-controlled land.

12 FAM 389  LE Staff Armored Vehicle Driver Training

(CT:DS-349;   02-23-2021)

a. The RSO must ensure that trained drivers are assigned as the primary, alternate, and tertiary driver for the COM, consul general, or PO at each post.  These drivers must attend the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Training Center (DSTC) Armored Vehicle Driver Training (AVDT) course, SB-102, and recertify every five years following the initial training.  The DSTC will nominate drivers, in consultation with post, to and the Foreign Service Institute Registrar’s Office to attend the course and maintain the AVDT database and training records.  The RSO may designate trained driver(s) when the designated driver(s) are not available.  The DSTC will fund the training costs, transportation, lodging, and meal and incidental expenses for three drivers from each post meeting the requirements noted herein.  The program, section, or agency of the three designated drivers receiving the training must provide the remaining travel and related costs, to include mandatory travel insurance.

b. When post requests additional drivers be trained, the request to DSTC must clarify whether the program, section, or agency receiving the training will fund the costs associated with the requested training.

c.  The four-day AVDT training is designed to improve basic driving skills, enhance situational awareness, safety, and give the drivers advanced skills required to operate armored vehicles in stressful situations.  Classes include modules in terrorist operations, surveillance detection, route analysis, attack recognition, vehicle dynamics, emergency driving, evasive maneuvers, armored vehicle characteristics, armored vehicle driving techniques, vehicle search techniques, and an explosive demonstration.

d. Supervisors of overseeing armored vehicle drivers must ensure that all other drivers under COM authority and assigned to drive an armored vehicle are trained in safe armored vehicle operation by the certified smith system instructor (CSSI) at each post, in addition to the Smith System safe driver training course required in 14 FAM 432.4.  CSSIs will attend the Armored Vehicle Familiarization Course provided by OBO/OPS/SHEM as part of the Safe Driver Training Program.  CSSIs must receive the initial armored vehicle training and are required to recertify every three years.  The program, section, or agency employing the drivers and CSSIs that receive the training must fund the travel and related costs for these trainees.