A female courier wearing a yellow reflective vest with the words Diplomatic Courier stands in the foreground. A white aircraft with its cargo hold open is in the background.

DSS diplomatic couriers travel the globe daily, safeguarding the shipment of sensitive and classified equipment and construction materials to nearly every location where American diplomats live and work.

For several decades, all State Department diplomatic couriers operated out of just three regional hubs: Washington, D.C., Frankfurt, and Bangkok. As a result, trips to posts lasted days, often weeks, and the cost of travel and temporary duty assignments could run high.

As travel options and technology improved over the years, so has the efficiency of courier operations. In the 1990s, the U.S. Diplomatic Courier Service set up hubs in five new locations, then two more in the 2000s. Today, diplomatic couriers operate from 11 regional hubs, three of which are in Africa: Abidjan, Cóte d’Ivoire, Dakar, Senegal, and the newest hub in Nairobi, Kenya.

From these hubs, diplomatic couriers escort thousands of pounds of cargo annually, traveling to U.S. missions in countries many Americans will never see. From the beaches of The Gambia to the wildlands of Kenya, diplomatic couriers deliver their pouches safely via air, land, and sea.

Learn more fascinating diplomatic courier stories over the last 100 years.

U.S. Department of State

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