On July 6, 2021, the DSS regional security office at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, held an all-hands safety drill that helped prepare the embassy for armed intruder, hostage- taking, and bomb threat scenarios. Ambassador Donald Wright acted as a hostage, and embassy employee Sarah Feinman role-played an armed intruder.
DSS special agents from the regional security office and Marine Security Guards (MSG) from the embassy detachment donned full tactical gear and formed a team to systematically clear the chancery building, locate the armed intruder, and escort the ambassador to safety. The intruder issued a fictitious bomb threat during the exercise, which prompted the team to transition to a bomb-type scenario and evacuate embassy personnel to a rally point, where they were accounted for.
Once the bomb was located and the “all clear” was given, Senior Regional Security Officer Bobby Gousie addressed the embassy community. He thanked the ambassador and the embassy employees for their participation and explained why these drills are so important.
“The DSS regional security office is responsible for embassy security, and exercises like this involving our Marine Security Guard partners and embassy staff, from the ambassador on down, are critical to maintaining readiness,” said Gousie. “We will incorporate participant feedback into our after-action review of the exercise and apply the lessons learned towards future response,” he added. The regional security office and the broader mission have already taken steps to address participant feedback that included audibility gaps in the public address system and a desire for additional floor warden training.
“I commend the entire security team, regional security office, and Marine Security Guards, on their professionalism and thoroughness during the exercise,” commented Ambassador Donald Wright following the exercise. “It felt so realistic, I thought I was in a Hollywood movie! These types of drills and exercises are critical to the safety of our people and facilities,” he reiterated.