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Rubio and Kaine Introduce Bill to Modernize Diplomatic Security Operations

Feb 28, 2024 | Press Releases

The mission of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) has not been updated since 1985. Current threats to our nation require the mission be modernized in order to counter our adversaries and mitigate current and emerging threats. 

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Diplomatic Security Modernization Act, which would revamp existing DS authorities, policies, resources, and operations to meet modern day needs. The bipartisan legislation would also enhance the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program to find individuals who commit major cybercrimes against our nation and those violating U.S. sanctions.

  • “Given the preeminent threat we face from China, and growing dangers from other adversaries such as Russia, Cuba, and Iran, the U.S. must modernize the State Department’s operations. We must ensure effective policies, resources, and measures are in place to facilitate diplomatic engagement all while protecting America and our citizens.” – Senator Rubio
  • “Our diplomats work hard to advance U.S. national security interests in some of the most dangerous locations on the planet, and often at great personal risk. As America faces new global challenges, ranging from strategic adversaries like Russia and China to responding to instability in the Middle East, this bill will ensure the State Department has the tools it needs to protect its personnel and critical information. Virginia is home to the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) headquarters in Rosslyn and the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center in Blackstone, and I am proud to continue my strong support for DSS through this important legislation.” – Senator Kaine

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Broaden counterintelligence awareness training and suitability for critical and high intelligence threat countries for locally employed staff members;
  • Codify the role of DS Special Agents overseas;
  • Update law enforcement authorities for DS regarding intercept of wire, oral or electronic communications to bring DS in line with DOJ guidance, ability to investigate cyber-crimes committed against State Department IT systems, and investigate transnational human trafficking;
  • Expand the Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program to include identification of individuals who commit major cybercrimes against the U.S. and identification of any individual who is violating U.S. sanctions;
  • Update license exceptions regarding security contractors who support DS and exempt State from the dual reporting requirement of the Secure Federal Leases Act;
  • Improve recruitment and retention of DS agents by mandating the modernization of DS timekeeping processes and bring DS in line with other federal law enforcement agencies regarding availability pay; and
  • Require a report regarding DS’ organization and management reporting chain.