The OpSec Blog

Security and privacy information and advice at home and abroad.

Detect, Defend, Deter: Diplomacy From The Bleeding Edge

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The US Department of State has the hefty responsibility of advocating for and protecting American citizens and interests abroad.  From the Harry S. Truman building in the heart of Foggy Bottom to Embassy Ulaanbaatar, over 11,000 Foreign Service, 8,000 Civil Service, and 30,000 Locally Employed Staff (LES) work to advance the goals of the mission.  This small cross section of the population tackles some of the world’s most pressing issues through the age-old craft of diplomacy.  They spend years away from their families and the conveniences of modern America.  They repeatedly come under fire from Congressional spendthrifts who expect more to be done with less.  The men and women of the State Department do this largely without any desire for recognition or public adulation.

Diplomacy in the modern age moves at a breathtaking pace.  The speed of technological development and its impact on culture, economics, and politics is accelerating to this day.  The State Department is caught in the bind between the competing interests of maintaining the necessary open posture to successfully conduct its business while assuring it can do so in a safe physical and technical environment.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security employs approximately 180 Security Engineering Officers (SEO), 120 STS (Security Technical Specialists), 100 Diplomatic Couriers (DC), and over 2000 Special Agents (SA) that protect American diplomats and national security information abroad.  It is this small group of professionals that ensures that the American diplomatic corps remains safe as they carry out their critical mission.

What is the purpose of this blog?

This blog aims to educate the readership on topics of personal security and privacy through the eyes of someone who deals with such issues on a daily basis.  The author is an SEO.  The views expressed in this blog are solely that of the author, and should not be misconstrued as the official views of the Department of State, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, or the United States Government. My goal is to get people to start thinking about their actions and their consequences.  Whether you live online, in the US, or overseas, I’ll do my best to keep it interesting.  If you have a relevant question you want answered, e-mail me and I’ll consider it for a future article.

What is not the purpose of this blog?

While SEOs are members of the US Foreign Service, you will not find personal anecdotes about sitting on the register, advice for passing the Board of Examiners/FSOT/Oral Assessment (and yes, I’ve done all three.  The FSOT/FSOA process is really not as difficult as certain people make it out to be), or how great this job is.  You will not find commentary on US Government policy unless it has direct implications to personal security or privacy.  You will not get updates on how my dog’s last vet appointment went.  You will not be updated on my or my family’s personal life aside from the occasional personal security or privacy issue I might use as an example to illustrate a point.  Last but not least, you will not get any smokescreening, personal agendas, dishonesty, or paper tigers.  You are free and encouraged to question, refute, disagree, or disprove my positions on the various topics that may appear in a courteous manner.

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