By Angela French
In a nondescript building in Alexandria, Va., gunsmiths design and test weapons used by Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) special agents, while engineering teams develop and assess other defensive and protective gear. Vehicle technicians and inspectors carefully scrutinize armored vehicles explicitly designed for use in the high-threat regions in which the Department of State operates. Procurement and budget specialists analyze the data and crunch the numbers to ensure they get the resources the agents need to carry out their work.
These are the men and women of the DSS Defensive Equipment and Armored Vehicle Division (DEAV). Charged with managing the Department’s domestic and overseas special protective equipment and armored vehicle programs, DEAV professionals design, test, and procure lifesaving, defensive equipment and gear used by DSS to protect Department facilities, people, and information around the world.
“DEAV is a logistician’s dream job, where procurement specialists—collaborating with subject matter experts—acquire and deliver critical defensive equipment and protective gear to DSS special agents,” said DEAV Division Chief Seth Green.
Recently, DEAV improved its supply chain process dramatically by joining DSS program managers with DSS chief financial officer resource management specialists and contracting officers from the Department’s Bureau of Acquisition Management.
“These professionals now work side-by-side in the same office, cutting the acquisition timeline from months to days,” said Green. “In addition to our blanket purchase agreement for aftermarket armoring, we now offer original manufacturer armored vehicles as well.”
The Defensive Equipment Branch employs renowned gunsmiths who develop new defensive systems and industry-leading capabilities that allow DSS to implement its mission in all types of threat environments. The Armored Vehicle Branch manages the largest civilian armored vehicle fleet worldwide, overseeing more than 4,000 vehicles used in more than 250 countries. The branch supports the Department and procures and maintains armored vehicles for many interagency partners operating abroad under the secretary of state and chief of mission security responsibility.
“It’s all in a day’s work for us,” said Green. “We manage, develop, and test lifesaving, defensive gear so that Department of State employees can do their jobs as safely as possible—no matter where they are serving.”
Angela French is a public affairs specialist with the Diplomatic Security Service.