TRIANGLE, Virginia -- Senior State Department officials and Marine Corps leaders celebrated the 100th anniversary of Diplomatic Security Service and the 70th anniversary of the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group working alongside the Diplomatic Security Service at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia, June 29, 2016.
“Today’s event celebrates the centennial of diplomatic security and the relationship between Diplomatic Security Services and the Marine Corps,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney, the director of Strategy and Plans Division, Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps. “There’s a historical nature to it and partnership aspect between a Department of Defense and Department of State entity that is significant.”
The MCESG was incepted from the Foreign Service Act of 1946, which authorized the Secretary of Navy to assign Marines to serve as security guards under the supervision of the senior diplomatic officer at diplomatic posts.
“The most important thing about Marine Security Guard is providing that security to enable diplomacy to happen so it never gets to the point where Marines have to go in force,” said Mahoney. “Those security guards that provide protection for people, for the premises and for sensitive information and gear, enable diplomacy to happen so that forceful means aren’t required.”
The Diplomatic Security Service, the security section of the Department of State that takes charge of U.S. law enforcement abroad in dealings with U.S. diplomacy and foreign dignitaries, has been working with the MCESG since its inception. During the ceremony, representatives from both the Marine Corps and the DSS spoke on behalf of the joint efforts between the two, followed by a gift exchange and cake-cutting ceremony.
“The Marine Security Guards and the Regional Security Officers have had a relationship now for 70 years and like any relationship it grows depending on what goes on around you,” said Bill A. Miller, the director of the DSS. “As we’ve seen the threat grow, the hostile intelligence threat grows and the growth of terrorist activity directed against our missions we’ve had to become that much more adapt at defeating it.”
Marines lead the way in foreign security because of their ability and history of engaging in difficult missions, according to Miller.
“That’s one of the things that makes the Marine Corps special,” said Miller. “Around the world we are in posts that are very difficult to serve in, and the Marines give us depth that allows us to ensure that we can protect our mission, we can protect our citizens, we can protect our foreign service to the extent that they deserve to be protected.”
The Marines adaptability and versatility increases their ability to serve U.S. representatives at embassies across the world, according to Miller.
“I can tell you right now the Marines are more highly trained, better prepared, better resourced than they’ve ever been, and that gives us an opportunity to ensure that our people are given the chance to do their jobs as diplomats,” said Miller. “To serve with the Marine Security Guard is an honor for me not only as a former Marine but also as a member of the Department of State in the Diplomatic Security Service.”