By Angela French
While the United States was cheering on its national soccer team, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) special agents and analysts worked behind the scenes to provide security support at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
DSS prepared for months to support the soccer tournament. As it routinely does for international security on special events, DSS worked with its host nation counterparts—in this case, French law enforcement officials—to coordinate security efforts.
For more than a month, DSS had special agents on the ground embedded with the U.S. women’s soccer team and with the team’s friends and family. It also had special agents, watch officers and analysts assigned to the joint operations center (JOC) at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. The JOC served as a centralized communications hub where personnel worked around the clock, sharing security and threat information to public and private partners in France regarding the World Cup.
Given the popularity of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, the JOC enjoyed a steady flow of high-profile visitors. For example, in June, Speaker of the House of U.S. Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the center where she received an overview of JOC operations and processes.
Special Agent Jesse Thorpe, who managed DSS’s security efforts in France, said it was great to be a part of the monumental moment in sports and U.S. history.
“We were right where we hoped to be—behind the scenes supporting security efforts when the U.S. women won the final match. We stayed right until the end when our team boarded the plane with the gold cup in hand.”
Angela French is a public affairs specialist with the Diplomatic Security Service.