Diplomatic Security Service Centennial

It is an honor to stand before you today to celebrate 100 years of the Diplomatic Security Service – the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Department of State.  I am humbled that we can celebrate this milestone together, as my embassy could not do our mission without your direct support.

I feel like I am among friend and family. Because, like many of you, I once belonged to the great international team of police and law enforcement professionals. For 27 years I was a United States federal law enforcement officer, a police officer, if you will, and Special Agent with the Diplomatic Security Service. What an honor, and no  greater responsibility, than to be entrusted with protecting and serving the public as a law enforcement officer.

For thousands of years, trusted emissaries have been allowed safe passage in foreign lands under diplomatic protection. A wise scholar, seven centuries ago, once wrote that delegations should travel with at least three emissaries: a man of learning to conduct negotiations, a scribe to record the outcome, and a watchful “man of the sword” to protect the group. The DSS today, with your support, represents that third emissary.

While much has changed since those times, the necessity to ensure the safe and secure conduct of diplomacy has not. The mission of the DSS has evolved through the years to meet the challenges of an increasingly unstable world. From its beginnings in 1916 as the Secret Intelligence Bureau countering espionage and intelligence efforts of Germany, to investigating passport and visa fraud of the Soviet and Nazi spy networks, to assuming extensive dignitary protection roles, fighting terrorism and securing our embassies abroad, our cadre of Special Agents, technicians and couriers have met these challenges.

But they can only do so with capable and lasting partnerships forged through the years with host nation police forces, such as with the Botswana Police Service. In the future, many of the proud recruits here will work hand in hand with Travis’ successors, future Embassy security officers and law enforcement attaches investigating crimes and threats against the U.S. Mission, protecting visiting American dignitaries and keeping our diplomatic personnel safe – duties we can only do effectively with your support. Many of you will benefit from the world class training offered here at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone (ILEA), or in Roswell, New Mexico or even the FBI National Academy.

The Botswana Police Service is our key partner in not only building capacity and exchanging best practices in Botswana but also extending training to your sub-Saharan neighbors. Every year, 33 African nations are invited to participate in two dozen law enforcement and security-related courses hosted at ILEA. The skills, best practices and relationships formed here between law enforcement professionals help protect Botswana, the United States, all of Africa, and indeed, the world.

Directors Frank Berrios and Kelebamang Motlhanka(MO-TAN-CLA), thank you for the work you do every day here at the ILEA. Commissioner Makgophe, we appreciate your leadership and support of not only the ILEA but also the U.S. Mission to Botswana. Police recruits, best of luck to you in your training. We look forward to working with all of you in the future.

You honor me with your gracious invitation today. You do a very difficult job very well and we are all in your debt.  PULA!