Updated at 2:30 p.m. Thursday
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to build a “state-of-the-art tactical training facility” featuring “hyper-realistic training devices, a tactical training warehouse, classroom facilities, and vehicle assault training area” at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia.
Fort Benning is already home to ICE’s Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs.
For that expansion, the government just awarded a contract of nearly $1 million worth of “hyper-realistic training devices” to Strategic Operations, a New Mexico training systems company. The news of the facility was previously reported by Quartz, a news site. It obtained and cited an ICE document with diagrams of the training cites it plans to build, including simulations of homes dubbed “Arizona” and “Chicago.”
The idea is to build simulations of environments ICE teams could encounter when carrying out raids, like hotels, apartments and commercial buildings. Per the contract award, these models should be as close to a real setting as possible, down to lighting and furniture.
“The more often [agents] are exposed to differing layouts, the more readily they can adapt to environmental changes and adjust their tactics to minimize risk and increase officer safety during the execution of these law enforcement duties and responsibilities,” the document said.
The training facility will be for ICE’s Special Response Teams, which handle “high-risk warrants under hazardous conditions,” like undocumented immigrants with criminal histories. The agency is expanding those teams throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
The contract award also stated ICE’s law enforcement division plans to expand the Fort Benning site to include up to 50 more buildings and more city layouts and designs in the future.