Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) leadership welcomed Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken during a special visit to Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) headquarters, February 17, 2021. Despite a busy diplomatic schedule and competing priorities both inside and outside of the U.S. Department of State, the Secretary found the time to visit the Diplomatic Security Service Command Center (DSSCC) during his first month in office.
Acting Assistant Secretary Brown greeted Secretary Blinken on his arrival to SA-20, and they took a few moments to pay their respects at the DS Memorial before riding the elevator to the command center where others welcomed the Secretary with COVID-19-appropriate elbow-bumps. Also accompanying Assistant Secretary Brown were Acting DSS Director Carlos F. Matus, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations Rick Colon, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Threat Investigations and Analysis Directorate Jason Kight.
“We make a point of inviting every secretary of state to the command center, and it means a lot that Secretary Blinken took the time from his busy schedule to visit and learn more about the work we do to protect the department,” said Assistant Secretary Brown.
DSSCC Director Scott Kim led the Secretary on a tour of the DSSCC and briefed him on how it provides situational awareness for Diplomatic Security and other department leadership during critical security incidents around the world. He also highlighted the DSSCC’s unique ability to monitor U.S. facilities and personnel in real-time, and explained how that facilitates threat intelligence and information sharing throughout the department and among the law enforcement and intelligence community.
“By drawing on many of the unique capabilities and specialized technology located within the DSSCC, we can provide seamless support to our domestic and overseas security programs, criminal investigations, and protective mission, including the Secretary’s own protective detail,” said DSSCC Director Kim.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to the department and its workforce, but the DSSCC has remained operational and responsive in maintaining a safe and secure environment for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. DSSCC personnel reporting for duty around the clock, are a diverse mix of foreign service and civil service employees, and contractors. Foreign service watch officers bring regional security officer experience, and civil service watch officers provide office continuity and experience from extended temporary assignments to major events, such as the Olympics and the United Nations General Assembly.
Director Kim concluded the visit and thanked the Secretary with the presentation of a DSS coin that serves as a symbol of all the hard work going on behind the scenes by DSS personnel.
“I had the pleasure of visiting the Command Center and learning more about the vital work of the Diplomatic Security Service and my deepest appreciation to all the DSS agents and personnel who are helping to secure diplomacy and make our country safer,” Blinken following the visit.