Meet the United States Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) ñ a federal agency that can serve as an exemplar model on how to interface with public safety responders worldwide. DSS is the federal law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Department of State, and the most widely deployed law enforcement organization worldwide, protecting 275 U.S. diplomatic missions, personnel and classified information in more than 170 countries and 29 U.S. cities.
The DSS’s most visible role is in providing security to the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and other senior diplomats, such as foreign dignitaries. The agency’s mandate includes criminal investigations, counterterrorism, security training, counterintelligence, as well as physical, technical and cybersecurity.
DSS’s more than 2,500 special agents, security engineering officers, security technical specialists and diplomatic couriers provide a secure environment for U.S. diplomacy, manage security programs for international events and often pursue safety objectives in cooperation with U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies and public safety responders.
Each fall at the annual UN General Assembly, for example, DSS special agents protect dozens of foreign ministers and other diplomats in New York, in an extensive operation that involves hundreds of special agents, aided by hundreds more federal and local law enforcement members.
Although the organization has been around for more than 100 years, its scope of work and presence throughout the world drastically changed in the early 1980s. DSS has trained more than 100,000 civilian law-enforcement personnel from 154 countries and has built solid working relationships with foreign and international law enforcement agencies that enable effective criminal investigation and security protection partnerships worldwide.
Domestically, DSS special agents also serve alongside other U.S. government agencies that monitor terrorist and other threat activities to prevent violent acts against Americans and American interests.
How does DSS interface with public safety responders and what can enterprise security take away from DSS’s security operations?