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MARCH 2017



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

counterterrorism goals.

Protecting People

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.

They include:

• 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.