The U.S. Marine Security Guards

TheU.S. Marine Security Guards

Abstract

Forover six decades, theU.S. Marine Security Guards (MSGs) havecollaboratedwith theUS Department of State andits securitybody,theBureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), to safeguard andprotectAmerican diplomaciesin othercountries.Theprimarymissionof theMSGs is to safeguardthesecurityof theUS citizenstogetherwith theUS property,andpreventthecompromisetop-security andclassifiedinformationby theUS Government in thetimesof hostileassaultsamong otherpotentiallydangerouscircumstances.TheMSGs respond to alltypesof threatsthat threatenthesecurityof thediplomatsrangingfrom bombthreats,violentdemonstrations,andfireschemical,biologicalornuclearthreatas wellas repulsingattemptedunauthorizedintrusionto thefacility.TheMSG programis a successfulpartnershipbetween The US Marine Corps andtheUS Department of State, eachwith its exceptionalheritage,uniquetraditionsanddistinctiveoperational cultures,includingseparableapplicableregulations.

TheMSG are a criticalteamof theUS embassiessecuritydetailchargedwith theroleof ensuringandsafeguardingthesecurityof US Citizenry andfacilitiesagainst threatsin foreigncountries.Additionally,thegroupis chargedwith theroleorrepulsinganyforcedentryinto US facilities,at thesametimepreventingunauthorizedaccessto confidentialinformationfrom ormeantfortheUS (The United States Department of State, 2009).TheMSG operatesunder thecommandof theRegional Security Office(RSO) andworksin collaboration with theState’s Department of Diplomatic SecurityService, which overseestheMSG programs.TheMSG collaborateswiththeDSto guaranteethesafetyandsecurityof theUS andits diplomaciesas theyconducttheir businessaround theworld.TheMSG operatein collaboration with theDS, receivingtheir ordersfrom theRegional Security Office(Lovelace, 2014). TheDS agentsandothertechnicalspecialistsupholdtheir skillsby attendingguardschoolsforfurthertraining.At theseschools,thetechniciansare familiarized with firing andothertrainingprograms.Thistraininghas provenusefulin caseof attackson US diplomacies,since thetrainedgroupformsa formidableforceto repulsetheenemyandprotecttheUS citizenry among otherresources(Slack, 2013). An establishedmemorandumof agreementbetween theState Department andtheDiplomatic Security to overseesthefinedetailsof theprogram.Among thedetailsincludedin thememorandumincludemedicalsupport,logistic support,staffdutiesas wellas fiscalresponsibilities.

TheMSGs arepositionedat entrancesoftheembassiesandotherdiplomaticfacilitiesandare thesymbolsof American valuesof integrity,loyalty,courageandcommitmentto duties.Assuch,theydonot juststandfortheir postas securitypersonnelin Embassies orconsulate,butstandfortheAmerican peoplesandcultures(Nickles, 2003). ThispaperexemplifiestheMSGs andtheir roleas thesecuritypersonnel,chargedwith theroleof protectingtheUS diplomats,facilitiesandinformationagainst anyformof securitythreatin a foreignland.

History

Themutuallybeneficialrelationshipbetween theUS Marine Corps andtheDiplomatic Security has existedforoversixty years.TheMSG programwasformally startedduring thewinterof 1948-1949, with volunteersfrom theState Marine Corps (International Business Publication, 2007). Sincethen,theUS Marine Corps andtheBureau of Diplomatic Security havecollaboratedto safeguard thesafetyandsecurityof diplomats.Startedon December 1948, theprogrambecameoperational in the1949, with onlyeighty-three Marines deployedto thevariouscountriesthat theUS haddiplomaticrelations.In 2013, President Barrack Obama authorizedthedeployment of additionalone thousand MSG as partof the2013 Defense Authorization Act, followingtheincreasedattackson US embassies(Lovelace, 2014). Theincrementwasaimedat increasingthenumberof MSG to 2450, to effectivelycombattherisingactsof terrorism directedtowards US embassies.Priorto 1948, theUS Marines havebeenactingas partof securitypersonnelescortingdiplomaticpersons.TheyhaverescuedanddefendedThe US embassiesandconsulatesacross theglobeandmostnotablyprovidedexceptionalformsof supportfortheUS diplomaciesin variouscountriesallover theworld.Forinstance,theMarines actedas diplomaticcouriers,deliveringandsafeguarding confidentialanddiplomaticmailsfortheUS Department of Defense in volatilecountriesduring theFirst World War (U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security, 2015).

ThecurrentMSG programhas its rootsin theSecond World War, wherea sixty manMarine detachmentwasdeployedto guardtheUS Embassy in London, which at thetimewasunder seriousmilitaryexpeditions.Followinga successfulprotectionof theembassy,theUS decidedthatan elite anddisciplined forcewasneededto protectUS diplomaticmissionsaround theworld(International Business Publication, 2007). An eighty-three marinevolunteerwasidentifiedanddeployed,leadingto theformationof theMSG program,which is tasked with protectingUS embassies.Since theformationof theMSG program,theMSG formeda dependablelineof defenseandsupportto theUS Embassies around theglobe.Theyhavesuccessfullyprotectedstatesdepartmentfacilitiesagainst allformsof aggressions,suchas anti-US demonstrationsandriots.Theyhaveextinguishedfiresin embassies,saveddiplomatsthreatenedby civilunrestsornaturalcalamitiesin thehostcountriesandmostimportantly safelyevacuatedtheUS diplomats,togetherwith their familiesin timesof life-threatening crisisin thehostcountries(Nickles, 2003).TheMSG stoodin solidarity with theState Department in horrendouseventstargeting US embassiessuchas theterrorist attacksin Nairobi (Kenya) andDar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) in 1998, andprovedtheir indispensability duringtheterrorist attackon theUS consulateinJeddah (Saudi Arabia), in 2004.In Jeddah, theMSG respondedquickly,professionally andin a morefocused approach,which helpedin repulsingtheattackersfrom enteringtheconsulate,hencesavedcountlessUS lives.Theyhelpedto repelvarioushostilitiesdirectedtowards American facilitiesin Africa during theArab Uprising in 2012-2013, in countriessuchas Libya (The United States Department of State, 2009).

Indeed,theMSG rolesare nowmorecrucialthan ever,owingto theincreasingactsof terrorism which are targeting theUS facilitiesat thevulnerablelocationsallover theworld.ModernMSG is welltrained,disciplined andwell-equipped to provideoptimuminternalsecurityto US consulatesandembassies.TheMSG livesup to their credo, “Semper Fidelis”, remainingloyalto theUS diplomacyandtheDiplomatic Security (Slack, 2013).

TheMSG Program

TheMSG group,knowntodayas theMarine Corps Embassy Security group,is madeup of dedicated andhighlytrainedandwellequippedtasked with thedutyof providingsecurityto diplomacies.Overa thousand Marines are enlistedin thegroupandposted to theregionalcommandcenterlocatedin Virginia andat thenewlycreateddetachmentsknownas theMarine Security Augmentation unitsquads,which are aimedat providingaugmented supportwhenever needed.Asignificantnumberisdeployedto thevariousMarine securitydepartmentslocatedat thevariousembassiesandconsulsaround theworld(Feickert, 2014). TheMSG standsguardat theentranceof embassiesandconsulstwenty-four hoursof allseven daysin a weekprotectingthediplomaticpersonnelandpropertyfrom anyhostilesituation.In eventsof attacks,theMSGs detertheaggressorssafeguarding theclassifiedinformationas wellas theDiplomats. In addition,theMSG controlstheaccessto diplomaticfacilities,through conductinginspectionsto ensurethatallpersonsaccessingthefacilitywill not posea threatto facilitiesandpersonnel.Theymonitorsurveillancedevicesandfirearmsandare thefocal pointforpre andpost-emergency allowingtheUS to achieveits goalsin foreignsoils(Slack, 2013).

TheMSG programoffersexcellentopportunitiesto theMSG to travelandlearnnewlanguages,experiencenewculturesandintegratewith differentsocietiesthroughout theworld,providingan excitingandadventurousworkingenvironment.Through theprogram,theMSGs interact with thediplomaticpersonnelunder their protection,familiesof thediplomatsas wellas thelocalnationalitieswhoworkat theembassy.Through thisinteraction,theMSG acquireagreatknowledgeof wealthabout thelocalcultures,makingtheir workenvironmentmoreenjoyable(The United States Department of State, 2009b).

Marineswhoare eligibleforselectionas MSGs must be in therankof E-2 through E-8 within theUS Marine ranks.TheMarines rankedup to theE-5 rankshould be singleandwith nodependants whatsoever. However,marriedMarines in thiscategoryare not immediatelydisqualified,eveniftheyhavechildren,as longas their childrenare not under their primarycare.Marines of theE-6 andhighermay havechildrenandspouses,butare limitedto haveupto four dependents,includingtheir spouses.Theymust be a citizenof theUSandmoreimportantly be eligiblefortop-security clearancesince in theywill be in contactwith confidentialinformationin allaspectsof their work.Additionally, themarinermust havea one yearwaivable timeon a stationandhavean ASVAB ‘GT scoreof morethan ninety points(The United States Department of State, 2009b).

QualifiedMarines whoscorelessthan ninety pointsin theASVAB GT Score are encouragedto retake thetest,andareonlyabsorbedwhentheyattaintherequiredmark.Theindividualmust meettheweightandfitnessstandardsof theMarine Corps. Candidatesshould havenorecordof Non-judicial punishmentwithin thepreviousone yearpriorto theapplicationyear,andshould havenovisibletattooonce theyare in uniform(The United States Department of State, 2008).Thecandidatesare supposedto be financially stable,andhavea remainingthirty-eight monthof obligated service.Candidateswhoseobligated termof serviceis lessthan thirty-eight monthsare compelledto extendtheir servicecontractto beselectedas a MSG. Additionally, thecandidatehadto havethehighmaturityandjudgment,of soundmoralcharacterandattaineda proficiencyandconductmarkingof 4.2 pointsorhigher.Upon selection,theMarines attendtheSecurity Guard schoolbased in Quantico, Virginia. TheMSG schoolconductsup to five classsessionsper yeartraining,to morethan four hundred andfifty marines (U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security, 2015). Upongraduation,Marines of up to theE-5 rankare assignedtheroleof a standardguard,thewatchstanders, andservethree separate year-long tours.One of thethree servicetoursis likelyto be in a hardshiparea,suchas thethirdworldcountries.TheE-6s andsuperiorranksaredeployedas detachmentcommandersandare operationally responsiblefortheseniordiplomatssuchas theambassadoramong otherappointeddelegates,ensuringtheir safetyandsafeevacuationin theeventsof a threat.Theyservetwo sixteen-month tours,with eachtourservedin one of thenine regions.Theseare allowedto bringalong their dependants along during theservicetours(Daugherty, 2009).

ContinuingtheTradition

TheMSGs are one of thegreatestUS assets in foreignsoilsandare greatlyhonoredandrespectedby theUS Department of StateandtheDiplomatic Security team.TheMSGs havecontinuedto providesecurityto US diplomatsamidst increasingcasesof terrorism andcivilwarsin thehostcountries.ModernMSGs undergorigoroustrainingandhavespecializedprogramsto carryon thenoblecourseof theMSG in foreigncountries.Otherthan protectingtheUS diplomats,theMSGs haveprogramsthat workin liaisonwith securityagentsof thehostcountriesto combatactsof terrorism, includingtrainingtheforeignpolice(Feickert, 2014). TheMSGs, under theRSO, haveestablisheda bodythat advisestheAmericans about thesecurityandsafetyin foreignsoils.Unlike othermarinecorpswhofollowthecommandstructureof typicalMarines, theMSG receivesdirectinstructionfrom theRSO. Theyare among themainplayersin theAnti-terrorism assistanceprogramby theRSO, aimedat buildingtheanti-terrorism capacitiesoutside theUS to ensureglobal safety.Through theprogram,theMSG helpsthehostcountryto developcoursesandprogramsto combatterrorism, at thesametimetrainingtheforeignforcein thevariousprograms(Daugherty, 2009). Among theseprogramsincludethebombdetectionanddisposalskills,VIP protectionskills,post-blast programsas wellas detectingsofttargetsto terrorists.However,itshould be notedthatitis not allUS embassiesthat arestaffedwith theMSGs itis onlyhalfof thecountriesthat hosttheUS embassiesthat havetheMSGs. Thedecisionto deploytheMSGs to thevariousembassiesandconsulatesrestswith theState Department andisinfluencedby thesecuritysituationof thehostcountry(The United States Department of State, 2008).

Conclusion

Fromtheaforementioned,theMSG refersto a branchof theMarine Corps that ischargedwith thedutyof protectingtheUS diplomatsin foreigncountries.TheMSGs operateunder thecollaboration of theUS Department of stateandtheBureau of Diplomatic Security to safeguard andprotectAmericans in potentiallydangerousregions.TheMSG programwasestablishedin thewinterof 1948-49, followinga successfulprotectionof theLondon-based US embassy.Since then,theMSG has beenprotectingandsafeguarding US embassiesthroughout theworld.TheMSGs stoodin solidarity with theUS departmentof stateduring theterrorist attacksin Kenya andTanzania in 1998. Theysuccessfullyrepulsedterroristfrom intrudingtheUS embassyin Jeddah Saudi Arabia andsuccessfullyprotectedtheUS embassiesanddiplomatsduring theArab uprisingduring theArab uprisingin 2011. TheMSGs areselectedfrom theelite squadof themarineforcerankedabovetheE-2 class,with thehighestscoresin ASVAB GT scores.Thecandidatesare supposedto havea strictcodeof conduct,with nojudicialpunishmentin thepreviousyearandnovisibletattoowhilein uniform.Theselectedmarines needto be financially stable,with thirty-eight monthsof obligated service.Theyhaveto havesoundjudgmentandwith a scoreof morethan 4.2 pointsin proficiencyandconduct.ThesestrictselectionrequirementsensurethattheMSG maintainthehighestlevels of extemporal performancesin foreigncountries,ensuringthesafetyof US diplomatsandfacilities.Maintenanceof securityin embassiesandconsulatesis an importantdutythat helpstheUS conductits businessandattainthesetobjectivesin foreignsoils.Unlike theotherbranchesof theMarines, theMSG takesordersfrom theRSO, which ismandatedwith thetaskof promotingsecurityof US diplomatsandfacilitiesoutside theUS soils.

References

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Feickert,A. (2014). MarineCorps Drawdown, Force Structure Initiatives, Roles and Missions:Background and issues for congress.Retrieved from https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R43355.pdf

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Lovelace,D. C. (2014). Assessingfuture U.S. national defense needs.New York: Oxford University Press.

Nickles,David P. (2003). Underthe wire : how the telegraph changed diplomacy.Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press.

Slack,T. A (2013) TraineeDemand Analysis for the Expansion of the Marine CorpsEmbassy Security Group. Retrieved fromhttp://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a579963.pdf

TheUnited States Department of State, (2008). TheUnited States Marine Guards:Safeguarding the American missions aroundthe world.Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/138440.pdf

TheUnited States Department of State, (2009). Historyof the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the United States Department.Retrievedfrom http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/176589.pdf

TheUnited States Department of State, (2009b).DiplomaticSecurity: Regional security.Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/114173.pdf

U.S.Bureau of Diplomatic Security (2015). Historyof the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the United States Departmentof State.New York: MaroonEbooks