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36

MARCH 2017

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

More widely represented across the globe than any other U.S. law enforcement agency,

Diplomatic Security is uniquely placed to safeguard American diplomacy.

LAW ENFORCEMENT AS AN

INSTRUMENT

OF NATIONAL POWER

Ronnie S. Catipon, a Diplomatic Security special agent

currently assigned to Washington, D.C., began his For-

eign Service career in 1997 by serving on the Secretary

of State’s security detail. His overseas assignments have

included Manila, Tbilisi, Kyiv, Kabul (two tours) and The Hague;

his next posting will be Baghdad.

The author would like to thank his colleagues who graciously con-

tributed to this article. Any errors or omissions are the sole responsi-

bility of the author. The views expressed herein are the author’s and

not necessarily those of the U.S. government.

O

ver the last century, as the world

changed so have the threats that

challenge the United States’

enduring national interests: safe-

guarding and promoting global

security, economic prosperity

and democracy.

The United States uses dip-

lomatic, information, military

and economic (DIME) instruments of national power to counter

threats to these interests. As new threats emerged, so have new

instruments of national power. The Department of Defense has

acknowledged three new instruments—financial, intelligence and

law enforcement—and added them to the paradigm, now termed

DIME-FIL. The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security

FOCUS

SECURING DIPLOMACY

plays a considerable enabling role within the law enforcement

instrument, particularly overseas. Indeed, it is arguably one of

the most effective and important law enforcement agencies at the

nation’s disposal.

Each agency brings its own “comparative advantage” to

support the law enforcement instrument of national power. For

example, no federal law enforcement agency is better at inves-

tigating threats to the homeland than the Federal Bureau of

Investigation, while the U.S. Secret Service is the premier protec-

tive agency in the world. And the U.S. Drug Enforcement Adminis-

tration is a model for domestic and international counternarcotics

operations. Individually and collectively, these and other U.S. law

enforcement agencies make powerful contributions to protecting

the United States’ enduring interests.

Yet no other U.S. federal law enforcement agency is more

widely represented across the globe than DS. With almost 1,000

federal agents deployed at U.S. embassies, consulates, missions,

U.S. combatant commands and international organizations, the

bureau’s ability to globally project its influence—either through

its own means in support of other U.S. federal, state and local law

enforcement agencies; or through its vast network of host govern-

ment law enforcement and security partners—is unmatched in

the U.S. law enforcement community. This is DS’s comparative

advantage, and the value-added it brings to the law enforcement

instrument of national power.

Because many of the current and anticipated future threats

BY RONN I E S . CAT I PON