Mobile Security Deployments (MSD) teams defend U.S. embassies and consulates in critical threat situations. They augment the U.S. Secretary of State’s protective security detail during trips to the dangerous locations overseas, and MSD teams train security personnel at U.S. embassies and consulates to enhance security and handle threats.
MSD consists of nine teams of special agents. Each team of six is small, cohesive, and travels together to global hot spots. Spending half of their time on deployment, they ensure the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) offers a quick response when danger threatens diplomacy anywhere in the world.
Training the Best
DSS special agents undergo several months of rigorous training, and MSD team members complete an additional five months of instruction—an intense training experience known as the “Green Team.” Green Team training prepares agents for small-unit operations in high-threat environments with little or no outside support.
The curriculum includes advanced tactical firearms training, defensive tactics instructor training; counter-terrorist driving skills; basic rope operations; dynamic room entry; land navigation; helicopter operations; tactical first-responder training; high-risk survival training; and familiarization with explosives countermeasures and chemical and biological agents.
Once integrated into deployable MSD teams, these special agents are ready to travel the globe safeguarding U.S. diplomatic efforts. They serve on security support teams or tactical support teams and serve as mobile training team instructors.
Security Support Teams
Security support teams augment an embassy or consulate’s existing security infrastructure with DSS special agents who have advanced training and experience in critical-threat environments.
Security support teams survey the safest routes for diplomatic travel and provide high-threat protective services during those trips. They also provide compound security and help the regional security office by tactically coordinating with the local guard force and the ambassador’s bodyguard detail.
It is critical for U.S. officials to be on the ground during times of crisis,and these teams enable those officials to remain engaged. If the environment becomes too unstable, embassies and consulates may have to suspend operations. Following a halt in operations, security support teams help the Department of State reestablish an official U.S. presence long before a normal diplomatic mission would be possible.
Tactical Support Teams
U.S. diplomacy often calls for the Secretary of State and other officials to visit nations that are at war, experiencing civil unrest, or harboring hostility toward the U.S.
For these high-threat diplomatic missions, an MSD tactical support team augments the Secretary of State’s DSS protective security detail by providing counter-assault capabilities.
In recent years, tactical support teams have protected the Secretary of State in Pakistan, the Philippines, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, India, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Jamaica, Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, and Indonesia.
Tactical support teams are also necessary when foreign diplomats visiting the United States require the highest level of protection. For the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City, the Department of State has assigned tactical support teams to protect the Palestinian president, the Iranian foreign minister, and the Israeli defense minister.
Mobile Training Teams
U.S. embassies in combat zones can be targeted with rockets and mortars, but most U.S. missions conduct their business on quiet streets in foreign capitals and major cities around the world.
On the morning of August 7, 1998, massive truck bombs simultaneously pulled up to the gates of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, and exploded, killing 224 people and injuring more than 5,400.
These events showed that terrorist attacks can occur anywhere at any time. MSD integrated mobile training teams were established to prepare U.S. embassies and consulates around the world for the worst.
Mobile training teams train Marine Security Guards, local guard force members, and host nation law enforcement units to recognize when an embassy or consulate is under surveillance, how to recognize improvised explosive devices, and how to screen people and vehicles entering the compound.
They also train embassy or consulate personnel in defensive tactics, counter threat driving, firearms, and first-aid. In recent years, integrated mobile training teams have provided specialized security training at Department of State missions throughout Africa, Mexico, Central America, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia.