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The Secretary of State travels to all corners of the world to do his job. A Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) protective security detail protects the Secretary of State seven days a week, 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world. The protective security detail works closely with Department of State offices, and U.S. and foreign security and law enforcement organizations to make sure the Secretary of State can safely carry out U.S. foreign policy.

On Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Secretary of State Cordell Hull established a security detail, marking the beginning of the Secretary of State’s permanent protective detail. Thus began the longstanding responsibility of U.S. Department of State special agents to protect the incumbent of the fourth office in the U.S. presidential line of succession. Over the past eight decades, the composition and operations of the secretary’s protective detail have evolved in response to increased threats and world events impacting the safety and security of U.S. leaders.

The Secretary’s Protective Detail Division (SD) protects the Secretary of State and manages the day-to-day operations to make the Secretary’s travels secure. Currently, the division has more than 50 special agents assigned to it, with temporary duty agents augmenting as needed, and a cadre of administrative employees.

Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2709, describes DSS’ authority under the law.

Visit Travels with the Secretary of State to learn about the Secretary of State’s important trips that DSS supports.

Visit Countries Visited and Mileage: 2021 to find out how many miles the Secretary of State’s DSS protective security detail has traveled and what countries they have visited while traveling with the Secretary of State.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future