A Brief History

Date: 09/18/1967 Description: Wood carving of the Great Seal - State Dept Image
Quiet Beginnings

Security within the U.S. Department of State was formally established in 1916 under Secretary of State Robert Lansing. The office was headed by a Chief Special Agent, who also carried the title of Special Assistant to the Secretary and reported directly to the Secretary on special matters. [more]


With the outbreak of World War II, the office expanded to manage interning and exchanging diplomatic officials of enemy powers and screening Americans, or those claiming American citizenship, after they were forced to leave occupied territories. [more]

The New Age of Terrorism
The rages of terrorism continued, creating a new and increasingly dangerous threat to U.S. citizens and missions abroad, as well as to distinguished visitors to the United States. [more]

Bridging to the New Millennium
The security improvements developed and implemented during the 1980s helped Americans withstand the heightened threat in the next decade. [more]

Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, DS has played an active role in overseas contingency operations. With more than 1900 special agents assigned to diplomatic missions in 157 countries, DS is the most widely represented American security and law enforcement organization around the world. [more]


Date: 11/07/2011 Description: DS History images - State Dept Image

History of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security

Explore the origins and read about the people and key moments of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security as presented in this official, comprehensive history.