THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
recent initiative is ATA’s Special Program for Embassy Aug-
mentation and Response, which improves host governments’
capabilities to provide direct security support to U.S. diplomatic
missions. In addition, because DS is the U.S. government’s sub-
ject-matter expert when it comes to civilian police-to-police anti-
terrorism training programs, DOD is seeking closer collaboration
with the bureau on training civilian foreign police agencies.
The bureau’s Rewards for Justice program is another example
of the vital contribution DS makes to the U.S. government’s
efforts to combat and defeat global terrorism, and illustrates how
law enforcement is used as an instrument of national power.
RFJ’s overall direction and actions are personally authorized
by the Secretary of State. Since its establishment in 1984, the
program has disbursed more than $125 million to at least 80 indi-
viduals in return for vital information that not only prevented or
successfully resolved acts of international terrorism, but brought
to justice some of the world’s most notorious terrorists.
RFJ continues to strengthen relationships among the State
Department, interagency partners and the National Security
Council. Further, RFJ works directly with strategic and opera-
tional units of the Defense Department and the interagency
community, giving DS a unique opportunity to support broader
Terrorists use hostages to influence U.S. policy and intimidate
the general public. Recent events, including the capture and exe-
cution of U.S. citizens by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,
and the subsequent broadcast of videos of these atrocities on
social media, have refocused U.S. efforts to counter this long-time
threat. In June 2015 President Barack Obama issued Executive
Order 13696 and Presidential Policy Directive 30 to establish the
Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, the Hostage
Response Group and the position of the Spe-
cial Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.
In response, DS expanded its worldwide
Personnel Recovery program, which trains
U.S. government personnel assigned abroad
to prevent and respond to a hostage incident,
or any other incident which results in a U.S.
citizen being separated from “friendly forces.”
DS is fully integrated into both the policy and
operational aspects of the U.S. government’s
Personnel Recovery effort; its deputy assistant
secretary for threat investigations and analysis
is a Hostage Response Groupmember.
Of course, the bureau’s central mission is to foster a safe and
secure environment for U.S. diplomatic activities. To accomplish
this, DS special agents, security engineering officers and techni-
cal specialists, couriers, Marine security guards and local staff—
supported by a cadre of Civil Service and contractor personnel—
manage a host of programs. Though most of these programs are
not new, the resources and technologies they now employ are.
• Biometrics and polygraphs to conduct local background
• The $400-million Foreign Affairs Security Training Center
under construction at Fort Pickett, Virginia, which will carry out
more consolidated and comprehensive training of civilian foreign
affairs personnel assigned overseas;
• Armored vehicles with improved communications and
• Tactical operations centers tied to global personal tracking
and locating technologies;
• A refocusing of the Marine security guard mission from the
protection of classified information to the protection of mission
• The Marine Security Augmentation Unit, established to pro-
vide increased tactical capability to the MSG’s revised mission;
• The multibillion-dollar Worldwide Protective Service con-
tract vehicles, which facilitate enhanced static and movement
security at our most critical overseas posts.
Private-Public Sector Cooperation
The Overseas Security Advisory Council sets DS apart from
other federal law enforcement agencies and, arguably, all other
U.S. government entities. With more than 30 years of service to
A DSS special agent prepares for the arrival of a diplomatic motorcade during an
evening event in New York City during the 2016 U.N. General Assembly.