Diplomatic Security Special Agent Career, Job, Degrees and Training Information

The United States Department of State relies on the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) for police and security services. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is globally renowned for its investigative services, assessment of terrorism, network and internet protection services, counterterrorism operations, expertise in technology designed for security, and its efforts to protect sensitive information, individuals, and property.

Eric J. Boswell heads the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. This organization is responsible for making sure diplomats are secure, so the foreign policy of the United States can efficiently and safely be executed.

Whenever U.S. diplomats travel around the world to conduct foreign policy, they are protected by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Diplomatic Security Agents are specially trained federal law enforcement officers. Domestically and overseas, Diplomatic Security Agents guard the Secretary of State and foreign dignitaries conducting foreign policy for their respective nations, and investigate fraud related to visas and passports, as well as other criminal investigations pertaining to security breaches. Diplomatic Security Agents primary mission is to ensure that American diplomacy is conducted in a safe and secure environment.

Diplomatic Security Agents perform their security operations in 25 American cities and 159 nations to ensure American foreign policy can be safely conducted. DS agents provide security at embassies and for diplomats, make sure computers housing sensitive information are secure, and are involved in antiterrorism operations.

Job and Career Qualifications
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Possess a valid U.S. driver's license
  • Possess a Bachelor of Art or Bachelor of Science degree at time of appointment
  • Be at least 20 years old to apply
  • Be at least 21 years old but no older than 36 at the time of appointment
  • Registration under the Military Selective Service Act (if required)
  • Successfully undergo oral and written assessment test
  • Pass a thorough background investigation in order to qualify for Top Secret security clearance
  • Pass a stringent medical exam in order to qualify for a Department of State Class 01 medical clearance
  • Pass a myriad of physical fitness tests and capable of strenuous physical exertion
  • Be able and willing to carry and use firearms and and pass firearms tests throughout your career
  • Be able and willing to travel and accept assignments abroad. Officers in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security are required to live and work a substantial portion of their career overseas.
  • Foreign language ability is advantageous but not required
  • Successfully complete all aspects of 6-month agent training program
Comprehensive and Specialized Training

A very substantial investment is made in the training of each candicate selected for the Diplomatic Security Special Agent program.

Initial training includes:
  • Personal protection techniques
  • Criminal law
  • Investigation
  • Background investigations
  • First aid
  • Firearms
  • Defensive driving
Specialized training includes:
  • Security management
  • Post operations
  • Counterintelligence
  • Electronic security
  • Foreign languages
  • Advance firearms techniques
  • Explosive devices
  • Ordnance detection
  • Arson investigation
  • Medical assistance
Practical Application of the Basics – The First Assignement

The first assigment that diplomatic security special agents receive it referred to as "Practical Application of the Basics." Special agents are usually assigned first to a domestic field office for at least 2 years, in order to get their feet wet. They'll receive practical work experience performing a myriad of security functions that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security handles in the United Sates, including passport and visa fraud investigations, background investigations on personnel, counterintelligence, and a variety of other criminal investigations.

State side assignments may also include protection detail for the Secretary of State and foreign dignitaries visiting the U.S. During their first assignment special agents may be temporarily assigned overseas to accomplish a specific task.

An Overseas Assignment

The second assigment that diplomatic security special agents receive is often an overseas assignment. Diplomatic security special agents are typically required to live a substantial portion of their careers overseas. While working abroad, diplomatic security special agents are commonly referred to as regional security officers (RSOs). Assignments abroad offer agents a lot of opportunity to grow their careers.

Diplomatic security special agents serving abroad usually work at U.S. embassies and consulates, and ar tasked with developing and implementing various components of a comprehensive security program to protect property, personnel, and sensative information against foreign intelligence agents, terrorists, and criminal elements.

Diplomatic Security special agent that demonstrates superior job performance may advance to the position of regional security officer. Regional security officers oversee security operations for an entire embassy or for numerous diplomatic posts within an assigned geographic area. RSOs work side by side top State Department officials and also serve as operational supervisors for U.S. Marine Security Guard detachment units.

Domestic assignments are as challenging and rewarding as overseas assignments. An Diplomatic Security officer can aspire to managing field office positions or a Department headquarters office position where he or she will be responsible for operations support.

For more information about career opportunities with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security you can email [email protected]

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