Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Special Agent Career

The William D. Clarke, Sr. Diplomatic Security Fellowship is your path to a career as a Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Special Agent in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security – the federal law enforcement and security bureau of the U.S. Department of State.

When you successfully complete the fellowship program and Foreign Service entry requirements, you will receive an appointment as a DSS Special Agent. This appointment is a three-year commitment upon entry into the Foreign Service.

As a DSS Special Agent, you must be willing to:

  • Travel frequently and accept assignments based on the needs of the Foreign Service, both domestically and overseas.
  • Conduct protective security operations, criminal investigations, and manage U.S. Diplomatic mission security programs worldwide.
  • Carry and, if necessary, use firearms in the performance of special agent duties.
  • Provide public support of U.S. government policies, regardless of personal views.
  • Accept assignments or duties outside the functional field, should the need arise.

What is the Diplomatic Security Service?

The Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) is responsible for providing a safe and secure environment for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and conducting transnational criminal investigations around the world. DSS is a leader in mitigating terrorist threats to U.S. personnel and facilities, generating innovations in cybersecurity, and engineering physical and technical security systems.

DSS has the largest global reach of any U.S. federal law enforcement agency, with offices in over 30 U.S. cities and in more than 270 locations around the world. DSS has more than 2,500 special agents, security engineering officers, security technical specialists, and diplomatic couriers working and traveling worldwide.

What Do DSS Special Agents Do?

DSS Special Agents play a critical role in leading and managing U.S. security programs stateside and overseas. They are available for assignment anywhere in the world at any time – always ready for a new and exciting opportunity. Throughout their career, DSS Special Agents are responsible for: leading and managing U.S. diplomatic mission security programs, conducting criminal investigations, implementing programs that safeguard classified information, assessing security threats, and leading security training and training assistance programs.

DSS Special Agents:

  • Serve as the senior security and law enforcement advisor to U.S. ambassadors at 270+ diplomatic missions around the world.
  • Manage a team of security experts at U.S. embassies and consulates, including security engineering officers, security technical specialists, U.S. Seabees, Marine Security Guards, local guard force members, and others.
  • Have managed and implemented U.S. State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program training in multiple countries for nearly 40 years.
  • Have a century of experience investigating transnational criminal investigations.
  • Are federal law officers with authority to conduct investigations and make arrests.
  • Are members of the federal Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces, Joint Terrorism Task Forces, and Anti-Trafficking Task Forces in several U.S. cities.
  • Train thousands of foreign law enforcement, immigration, and other personnel to recognize fraudulent documents, leading to the revocation or denial of hundreds of thousands of visas and the arrest of well over 50,000 individuals by host nation partners for visa and passport-related charges.

Additional Benefits

As a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service, DSS Special Agents are eligible for:

  • Education and training opportunities to learn new skills such as foreign languages, protective security operations, criminal law and investigations, security management, and U.S. embassy operations.
  • Generous federal benefits, including a federal retirement plan, vacation and sick leave, and life and health insurance.
  • Special pay and incentives related to law enforcement status and overseas assignments, such as, 25% Law Enforcement Availability Pay, danger pay, moving expenses, rest and recuperation leave, paid housing or a housing allowance, and paid education for dependent children (K-12).

Plus, this career presents unique opportunities to make a positive impact while experiencing new cultures.

You can find more information about the DSS Special Agent career on the State Department website.

Also, click the links below to view DSS videos.