OVERSEAS BRIEFING CENTER
Providing Training, Information, and Referral to U.S. Government Employees and Family
Members assigned to Diplomatic Posts Abroad
The Overseas Briefing Center welcomes you to its website. If you are a
U.S. Government employee or family member preparing for an assignment overseas, we
encourage you to explore the information in our website and contact us directly if you
need additional help. If you are a private citizen, we hope exploring this website will
give you an idea of the kind of training and information available to government families
as they prepare for an overseas move and eventual return to the United States.
Who We Are
The Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) was established in 1977 to provide training,
information, and referral services to U.S. Government employees and their families
assigned to or returning from U.S. embassies and consulates overseas. Through a continuum
of training designed to meet the broad range of personal and family issues, and through
the services of an Information Center facility, individuals are better prepared to meet
the challenges of a career in the Foreign Service. More than 12,000 people visit the
Information Center annually, seeking current information on living conditions at overseas
posts. Another 1,500 participate in specialized training workshops on subjects ranging
from regulations and finances to employment options for spouses. Over 2,000 employees and
family members attend the Security Overseas Seminar each year. The Overseas Briefing
Center (OBC), one of five schools and centers within the National Foreign Affairs Training
Center (NFATC), is located in Arlington, Virginia. From Rosslyn, it is approximately 10
minutes west on Route 50, Arlington Boulevard. A Department of State or picture ID is
required to enter the campus.
OBC offers a wide range of popular programs and special events designed to meet the
diverse needs of individuals preparing for an overseas assignment or returning to the U.S.
The OBC's continuum of training begins with courses targeting those new to the Foreign
Service, such as Realities of Foreign Service Life; Communicating Across Cultures;
Explaining America; Regulations, Allowances and Finances; and Protocol and U.S.
Representation Abroad. At the other end of the spectrum, Re-entry courses help those
returning from overseas tours. Employment Planning for the Foreign Service Spouse,
English Teaching and Making Presentations: From Design to Delivery provide
participants with career skills they can use both at home and overseas. Underlying the
training is an awareness of the importance of cross-cultural effectiveness in an overseas
environment. Selected courses are offered on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings. Prior
registration to attend courses is required. See current
course listings and schedules. Call (703)302-7268 for additional information.
Security Overseas Seminar
The Security Overseas Seminar offers a variety of seminars targeted to meet the security
awareness needs of U.S. Government personnel and families going overseas. All foreign
affairs agency personnel are required to attend the seminar every five years. The two-day
Security Overseas Seminar (SOS) allows first-time participants to query experts, review
policy, and receive advice on security-related topics. The one-day Advanced Security
Overseas Seminar (ASOS) provides updates for persons who have taken the two-day program.
SOS for Temporary Duty Personnel is a one-day course which provides United States
Government business travelers with vital information about personal security,
counterintelligence, surveillance, and other security concerns. Children who have
completed at least grade one are offered age-appropriate one-day workshops during the
These courses are strongly recommended for all United States Government agency and TDY
personnel, and any accompanying family members preparing for an assignment at a U.S.
embassy or consulate. Prior registration to attend the seminar is required. See course dates or call (703) 302-7269.
The Information Center
The Information Center, a vital resource and referral facility, invites all U.S.
Government personnel and their families en route to, or considering an overseas
assignment, to browse through the wealth of materials contained in country briefing boxes
and post newsletters, to view slide and video presentations, and to obtain handouts and
brochures from an extensive collection. A returnee file of local contacts provides an
opportunity to obtain personal, first-hand knowledge of life at post. Pre-departure
resources include checklists as well as information on allowances, insurance, automobiles
and consumables. A collection of publications on subjects ranging from children's
education to the care of elderly parents addresses other topics of interest to foreign
service families. A "Welcome to Washington" section includes resources on
services available in the D.C. metropolitan area. The Information Center staff is
available to assist with relocation information, informal counseling, and referrals. The
Information Center operates as a drop-in facility. It is open Monday through Friday as
well as on selected Saturdays and Wednesday evenings. Call (703) 302-7277 or e-mail the
staff of the Information Center.
HOURS FOR POST RESEARCH
All U.S. Government employees and family members embarking on an overseas assignment are
welcome to visit the OBC's Information Center
OBC INFORMATION CENTER
4000 Arlington Boulevard, Room E2126
Arlington, Virginia 22204
Open Monday-Friday, 8:15 AM - 5:00 PM
And special evening and Saturday hours in 2001
Until 8:30 pm
9:00 am to 4:00 pm