The U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) is the federal law enforcement and security arm of the United States Department of State. The DSS is the lead US law enforcement organization abroad, and is the most widely represented law enforcement agency in the world. The DSS performs a variety of law enforcement and security functions, most notably providing protection for US diplomatic missions, US diplomats, and visiting foreign dignitaries, and leading US law enforcement and counter-terrorism investigations and efforts abroad.
The DSS most notably provides protection for US diplomatic missions, US diplomats, and visiting foreign dignitaries. The DSS also performs myriad other activities including international investigations, threat analysis, counterterrorism, security technology, cyber security, and protection of people, property, and information. DSS Special Agents are federal agents with the power to arrest, carry firearms, serve arrest warrants, and perform other law enforcement activities.
When assigned to domestic field offices, DSS Special Agents investigate passport fraud and visa fraud, and protect visiting foreign dignitaries. DSS agents also investigate the activities of foreign intelligence agencies that are focused on the Department of State, assist in apprehending fugitives that have fled to the United States, and conduct background checks on State Department employees, applicants, and contractors.
When assigned to foreign field offices, DSS Special Agents perform law enforcement duties at US missions, provide security assistance, protect senior diplomats, and perform other duties. The ranking DSS officer at an embassy or consulate holds the title Regional Security Officer, and is often known as the security attaché.
Both at home and abroad, DSS agents engage in other types of law enforcement including counterintelligence operations, counterterrorism operations, and protection operations for the United States Secretary of State, United States Representative to the United Nations, and other senior diplomatic officials.