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Gentry O. Smith, a retired special agent with the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and former director of the department’s Office of Foreign Missions, was sworn in as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, U.S. Department of State, on August 12, 2021.

In his new role, Smith oversees the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Department of State. With a staff of nearly 50,000 personnel and contractors, DS is the most widely represented law enforcement and security organization in the world, with 33 offices in U.S. cities and more than 270 U.S. diplomatic posts overseas. The bureau is a world leader in dignitary protection, transnational criminal investigations, threat analysis, cybersecurity, counterterrorism training, and security technology.

Smith joined the State Department as a DSS special agent in 1987. Over the course of his 30-year career, he served as director of the Office of Physical Security Programs, as regional security officer at U.S. Embassy Tokyo, Japan, and at U.S. Embassy Rangoon, Burma. He also served as a security officer and as deputy regional security officer during two separate tours at U.S. Embassy Cairo, Egypt. In October 2009, he was appointed deputy assistant secretary and assistant director of the Countermeasures Directorate where he oversaw the physical and technical security of U.S. diplomatic missions overseas, holding the rank of minister counselor in the Senior Foreign Service. Smith left DSS in 2014 to become director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions, where he held the rank of ambassador. He retired in February 2017.

He is only the third DSS special agent to be appointed to the position of assistant secretary for DS and the first Black special agent to serve in the role.

Before joining DS, Smith was a police officer in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

More information about Gentry Smith can be found at:

The Diplomatic Security Service is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. DSS special agents, engineers, and other security professionals are responsible for the security of more than 270 diplomatic posts around the world. In the United States, DSS personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate transnational crimes, and conduct personnel security investigations. For additional information about DSS, visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @StateDeptDSS.

For additional information, contact:

U.S. Department of State

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