About the DSS Centennial

Date: 01/01/2016 Description: The year 2016 marks a century since Secretary of State Robert Lansing appointed the U.S. Department of State's first special agents as part of World War I-era security measures. (U.S. Department of State graphic) - State Dept Image


The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the origins of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).

Security professionals first joined the U.S. Department of State in 1916 as part of World War I-era security measures. Secretary of State Robert Lansing appointed Chief Special Agent Joseph “Bill” Nye, on loan from President Woodrow Wilson’s Secret Service detail. Nye recruited more than a dozen U.S. Treasury Department agents and U.S. Post Office Department inspectors. They protected U.S. and foreign dignitaries, investigated passport and document fraud, and investigated international espionage and sabotage plots.

Over the past century, that initial security office evolved into a large, multifaceted law-enforcement and security organization within the U.S. Department of State. Today, thousands of men and women of the Diplomatic Security Service continue the work of those first special agents. DSS is now a global force protecting U.S. personnel, property, and information around the world, as well as visiting foreign dignitaries, in order to provide a secure environment for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.

DSS and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) were formally established in 1985 to address growing security concerns as terrorists and militants increasingly targeted State Department personnel at home and abroad.

Please explore this online collection of historical information and check back for updates on events to mark this important milestone in the history of Diplomatic Security.