Diplomatic Security Agent

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) provides security for the State Department. This agency is internationally recognized for its investigative operations, analysis of international terrorism, security services, security technology expertise, and its ability to safeguard property, people, and classified information.

DS is run by Eric J. Boswell. It protects foreign diplomats, so the nation's foreign policy can be safely and smoothly implemented.

When American diplomats visit foreign countries, DS protects them. Agents employed by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security are trained in various protection and law enforcement techniques. In the United States and foreign countries, DS agents protect the Secretary of State, his or her aides, and foreign diplomats. Additionally, these agents investigate passport and visa fraud and security breaches. The main responsibility of DS agents is to make sure diplomats work in secure settings.

DS agents work in 159 countries and 25 U.S. cities. At these locations, they secure embassies, monitor information systems containing classified information, and conduct operations to prevent terrorism.

Job Qualifications
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Hold a valid U.S. driver's license
  • Hold a bachelor's degree when hired
  • Be between 21 - 36 years of age when hired
  • When required, register with Selective Service
  • Pass a written and oral examination
  • Qualify for a top secret security clearance and successful undergo a background investigation
  • Successfully complete an extensive medical test required for a State Department Class 01 medical clearance
  • Pass multiple fitness tests and demonstrate the ability to undergo vigorous physical activity
  • Qualify to carry a fireman and pass periodic tests
  • Agree to accept foreign assignments. Most DS officers are required to relocate overseas for some time during their careers
  • Although not required, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security prefers hiring agents who speak foreign languages
  • Complete a rigorous 6 month training program

Specialized Job Training
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security invests a lot in each agent it hires.

Initial training includes:

  • Criminal law
  • Personal protection
  • Background investigations
  • Investigation
  • Defensive driving
  • First aid
  • Firearms

Specialized training includes:

  • Post operations
  • Security management
  • Electronic security
  • Counterintelligence
  • Advance firearms techniques
  • Foreign languages
  • Ordnance detection
  • Explosive devices
  • Medical assistance
  • Arson investigation

Practical Application of the Basics - The First Assignment
Diplomatic security agents initially receive an assignment known as "Practical Application of the Basics." Special agents are typically first assigned to work at a domestic field office for a minimum of 2 years to gain some experience. During this time, they obtain real-world experience executing various security duties the Bureau of Diplomatic Security is responsible for, including investigating visa and passport fraud, conducting background investigations, participating in counterintelligence operations, and performing numerous other criminal investigative duties.

Domestic assignments could also include protecting foreign diplomats and the Secretary of State. During initial assignments, DS agents could also be sent overseas for a short period of time to complete a specific assignment.

An Overseas Assignment
DS agents are typically sent overseas for their second assignment. Most DS agents are assigned to live in a foreign country for a significant amount of time during their careers. During foreign assignments, DS agents are typically known as regional security officers (RSOs). Foreign assignments provide DS agents numerous career growth opportunities.

DS agents working in foreign countries are usually assigned to work at American embassies and consulates. While overseas, DS agents develop and execute various security programs to safeguard classified information, people, and property against terrorists, spies, and criminals.

Skilled DS agents recognized for excellent job performance often get promoted as regional security officers. RSOs manage foreign security operations at diplomatic posts, American embassies, and other locations. They also work alongside upper State Department personnel and supervise Marine Security units that protect embassies.

Domestic assignments provide just as many satisfying and challenging experiences as foreign assignments. Diplomatic Security agents can get promoted to management positions at field offices or get assigned to operations support at the State Department's District of Columbia headquarters.

Email the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for additional details about career opportunities at DSRecruitment@state.gov.

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