In honor of the U.S. Marine Corps’ 245th birthday, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) extends a special congratulations to the U.S. Marine Security Guards (MSGs) who are important partners in protecting U.S. diplomatic posts throughout the world.
MSG detachments have worked closely with DSS regional security officers since 1948, standing duty 24 hours per day, seven days a week, helping protect U.S. citizens, property, and sensitive government information at U.S. embassies and consulates.
The Departments of Defense and State jointly fund the MSG program. Guards in the program have dual chains of command, reporting to a Marine commander in addition to the embassy’s head of security, known as the regional security officer. Since the program’s establishment, the MSGs have emerged as one of the strongest examples of civilian-military relations in American history.
The men and women of the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group are stationed at “Post One” just inside the entrance of a U.S. embassy. At Post One, MSGs serve as the face of America, standing as symbols of our nation’s values of integrity, courage, loyalty, and commitment.
From Brasilia to Ottawa to Ulaanbaatar, MSGs serve in a variety of settings, including in countries with weak central governments or those facing conflict. They respond to crises large and small, such as hostile assaults, non-peaceful demonstrations, bomb threats, fires, weapons of mass destruction, and facility intrusion attempts.
The MSG program is the result of an over seven-decades-long partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of State – two organizations with distinct cultures and missions. Both organizations periodically update a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with formal signing ceremony to govern this long-standing partnership.
This year, upholding COVID-19 considerations, a new MOA was signed separately at the Pentagon and the State Department in October 2020. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Todd J. Brown received the final document from Acting Assistant Director for the International Programs Directorate Cornell Chasten on November 2, 2020. In his capacity as Acting Assistant Director, Chasten oversees policy, planning, coordination and implementation of all State Department security programs at non-high threat posts abroad, including the MSG program.
The courage and support of the MSGs has been constant in every situation, location and mission. Today, November 10, 2020, DSS and the U.S. Department of State wish our loyal partners, the U.S. Marines, a happy 245th birthday!
Read more about the latest reaffirmation of the Embassy Security Partnership here.
About the Author: Lucia Gaddis serves as a Public Affairs Specialist with the Diplomatic Security Service in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the U.S. Department of State.