PANEL THREE—Diplomatic Security. “DS is a bureau full of extraordinarily dedicated professionals who put their lives on the line to protect our country, our diplomats and American citizens working in every corner of the globe.”
—U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, November 17, 2010.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the Security and Law Enforcement Arm of the U.S. Department of State. Diplomatic Security personnel play a vital security role in American foreign policy. Comprised of a global force of 38,000 men and women, including nearly 2,000 special agents, 200 security engineers, 130 security technicians, 100 diplomatic couriers, and 32,000 local foreign guards operating from 189 foreign countries, DS is the most widely represented U.S. law enforcement organization in the world.
DS protects U.S. embassies and personnel overseas, securing critical information systems and countering terrorist threats. By law, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security has broad statutory responsibility for the State Department’s domestic and overseas security program, including the MSG program.
DS works closely with the Marine Corps to coordinate and develop specialized training for MSGs, to assign them to U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities abroad, and to provide direct operational supervision of Marine Security Guards deployed overseas.
TIMELINE: The 1960s and 1970s were decades of international and domestic turmoil and change. Social and political upheaval among developing nations, Cold War superpower confrontation, and the war in Vietnam all contributed to instability in the global security environment. Diplomacy was not immune from the effects, and U.S. diplomatic missions and personnel became more alert to potential dangers.
June 1961: Attention is centered on President John Kennedy as he addresses the U.S. Embassy staff in Paris. A Marine Security Guard is in the foreground. (AP/Wide World Photo)
January 1968: A brazen Viet Cong assault against the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, is courageously repelled by MSGs with support by the Embassy Regional Security Officer. (AP/Wide World Photo)
June 1969: A captured Viet Cong B-40 rocket and launcher is presented to the State Department’s Office of Security Director Marvin Gentile (right) as a memento of a 1968 enemy attack on the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. The presentation is made by Lieutenant Colonel Nate L. Adams (left), Commanding Officer of the Marine Security Guard Battalion. Special Agent Leo Crampsey (second from left) was a Regional Security Officer stationed in Saigon during the Tet Offensive and received the Secretary of State’s Award for Heroism for his bravery at the time of the attack. (U.S. Department of State Photo)
March 1974: Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali (right) leads a group of U.S. Marine Security Guards from the Embassy on a run in Beirut. Ali was in Beirut on the first stop of a Mideast tour. (AP/Wide World Photo)