How Often Must You Receive a Defensive Foreign Travel Briefing?


No matter whether you work in government or have access to sensitive data, it is crucial that your defensive foreign travel briefing remains up-to-date. These briefings provide essential data regarding security threats, cultural differences, and safety precautions.

Briefings on travel-related business and interactions with foreign intelligence targets are required of personnel traveling on official or unofficial business, but how frequently must these briefings take place?

DoD Requirements

As DOD modernizes and enhances its information-sharing capabilities, it must ensure its information dissemination meets basic standards to protect personnel, families, and facilities and reduce terrorist attacks on DOD assets. Therefore, all DOD employees and contractors receive proper training to disseminate information.

The Defense Department’s Foreign Travel Briefing Program offers federal government employees a comprehensive session to prepare them for potential security threats and cultural nuances when traveling overseas. These sessions are mandatory for anyone planning to work abroad- including civilians, DOD contractors, subcontractors, licensees, certificate holders, experts, grantees, or anyone with clearances.

This training can be found online and in person, with participants learning the importance of protecting information while receiving tips on avoiding risky situations. They will also learn how to spot red flags in social media, which will assist them with recognizing phishing scams or similar schemes. Moreover, all participants must remain up-to-date with current policies.

Department of Homeland Security has issued guidelines to DOD employees traveling abroad that they should abide by, including rules regarding social media use, sharing classified data, and protecting against identity theft. These rules aim to keep DOD personnel safer while working abroad.

DOD has established policies and procedures regarding guidance documents as outlined in SS 339.1. All non-exempt DoD guidance documents must go through the same review and coordination processes as other documents; additionally, significant guidance documents must be reviewed by OIRA under Executive Order 12866.

Federal employees must complete this course before embarking on international business trips, covering topics like cultural differences, global safety concerns, and travel advisories. It also features quizzes and post-tests designed to assess their knowledge. Post-tests are especially crucial when traveling in high-risk regions, as travelers need the latest updates about travel conditions to stay safe.


Your organization and the nature of the trip will determine how often and before what trips you need defensive foreign travel briefings. Military personnel and government employees who travel frequently to high-risk destinations might require these briefings on an ongoing basis; those traveling less riskily might only require these updates occasionally or before every trip. Stay current on travel advisories and local conditions is always recommended – these conditions can quickly shift.

Travel briefings provide detailed information about a country’s security risks, cultural characteristics, and any issues affecting your trip. They aim to ensure that employees traveling overseas with clearance receive all of the information necessary for their safety – typically, this briefing comes from their department or an agency that oversees foreign travel for certain professions, such as government security clearance or SAP Access Management Control Management (ACCM) offices.

As part of your pre-trip preparations, in addition to defensive foreign travel briefings, you may also be required to undergo threat assessments or complete physical security programs. For instance, traveling with sensitive equipment or classified information could necessitate this form of evaluation, which involves interviews or written questions to determine the safety of yourself and the equipment and data being carried with you.

The Defense Department’s Foreign Clearance Guide outlines requirements you must fulfill before traveling abroad, which vary based on combatant command and country. Current threats dictate any adjustments; additional briefing from an antiterrorism officer and participation in training, such as Level 1 Antiterrorism/Force Protection, may also be necessary.

Air Force Office of Special Investigations recently changed its travel threat briefing program to serve better active duty Air Force members and Department of the Air Force civilians. Under this initiative, these personnel must now take part in pre-trip surveys with risk matrices for each country they plan on visiting before sending in the data for review by AFOSI staff members who assess its threat posture relative to potential security risks.


You must assess local security conditions as part of your trip preparations abroad. This can help determine your journey’s risks and which safety precautions need to be taken, including vaccinations and travel insurance policies. When faced with an emergency, it can also be essential to have access to reliable evacuation services, which could mean the difference between life and death.

Briefings typically originate with your organization’s security or risk management team; for government or contractor personnel, briefings may come directly from relevant government agencies. Briefings provide invaluable data regarding cultural norms, political climate, crime rates, and more in your destination country.

Information provided through these briefings helps you avoid placing yourself or others at risk during your travels, educates on any potential safety hazards and how best to respond, prepares you for what lies ahead, and even develops more compassionate relationships with those encountered on your travels!

The Foreign Travel Briefing Program extends to all Department bureaus, offices, employees, contractors, subcontractors, licensees, certificate holders, grantees, experts, and consultants with access to classified information or positions with clearances. The Information Security Division manages it.

Briefings provide vital protection to Department personnel against foreign adversaries seeking to gather intelligence for their espionage or intelligence operations. Furthermore, briefings provide crucial data that identifies adversaries’ targeting activities, which is essential in keeping staff and assets overseas protected by those working within the Department.


No matter whether traveling for business or pleasure, preparation is critical. Not only should travel orders be filled out using the Defense Travel System, but a defensive foreign travel briefing should also take place before leaving on any journeys; such briefings will enable travelers to identify any security threats that might impact them during their trip and avoid potential problems that could threaten you and colleagues on board the vessel.

Foreign travel briefings are comprehensive sessions that cover the cultural nuances, political climate, and crime rates of your destination country. Individuals who possess access to classified data or hold sensitive roles are typically required to receive these briefings before undertaking official or unofficial travel – however, it’s an excellent idea for all travelers alike!

Although no official requirement dictates when or if a foreign travel briefing should take place, those who regularly travel to high-risk locations should undergo these preparations more frequently than those who only travel for business or pleasure occasionally. Defensive foreign travel briefings provide valuable information that ensures your safety while abroad and makes you more productive upon returning from any trips abroad.

Suppose you are traveling overseas as part of your government work. In that case, it is vital that you receive at least one defensive foreign travel briefing each year and that your Antiterrorism/Force Protection Level 1 training remains current. In addition, make sure you review the State Department’s Worldwide Caution and Travel Alerts before your trip to ensure you are aware of any short-term events or situations that might hinder your journey.

Additionally, in addition to attending a defensive foreign travel briefing, it is highly advisable to complete a security awareness course or DoD Active Shooter Training class. This is particularly crucial if you possess TS/SCI access; insider threats could present more danger. This program teaches how to recognize warning signs and react in emergencies.