The U.S. Diplomatic Security Service

Written by Henry Young. Posted in Security

The U.S. Diplomatic Security Service is the enforcement arm of the United States Department of State which provides social control. Most of the special agents that work for this department are American federal law officers and members of the Foreign Service, which is a component of the United States federal government.

This security enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State represents one of the world leaders in counterterrorism, international investigations, threat analysis, security technology and protection of information, people and property.

The Diplomatic Security Service is a federal agency which is different from other federal law enforcement agencies due to the fact that other agencies’ special agents are in the civil service. Since they are federal agents, all the diplomatic security agents have the right to arrest, serve arrest warrants, carry firearms, and accomplish other court missions. However, their biggest responsibility is to protect the U.S. Secretary of State and abroad dignitaries, such as the British Prime Minister and the Dalai Lama.

The DSS special agents are assigned with conducting investigations that have to do with visa and passport fraud. When they work overseas, they are responsible for the security of the U.S. missions, consular posts and embassies, as they serve as security attachés or Regional Security Officers.
Besides investigating visa and passport fraud, special agents are charged with other missions, which involve all sorts of investigations that can be related to threats or attacks against U.S. diplomatic activities.

In cooperation with agencies like the FBI and the CIA, the Diplomatic Security Service investigates fugitives who have ran the United States. Furthermore, this is one of the most strict agencies that takes all the proper measures in order to hire the best agents. Therefore, it performs security background investigations on all applicants, employees, and people who search employment with the Department.

There are about 2,000 DSS special agents who have been hired after an intense evaluation process which implies a knowledge-based test, a panel interview, a Foreign Service Board of Examiners establishing evaluation and an online exam. It also includes situational judgment exercises which are psychological tests that are meant to identify if the applicant can face stressful situations, and if he has an accurate way of thinking.

This test presents hypothetical and realistic scenarios and asks the individual to determine the most suitable response. Situational judgment exercises can be presented to the test-taker by using many modalities, such as films, booklets, and audio recordings.