By Julia Paccone
Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) special agents received a new addition to their credentials while they protected foreign dignitaries at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 76), Sept. 21-27. Rather than their typical badge, agents sported the “Diplomatic Security Commemorative Badge,” a permanent special alternate badge recently approved by DSS. This commemorative badge is the first of its type to be issued and is a replica of the original special agent badge from 1916.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations Mark Sullo led the design effort, narrowing it down to two designs: a modification to the current DSS badge or an upgraded version of the original silver badge. The modified badge was selected as the new DSS active badge. Given the popularity of the original badge replica, Sullo successfully lobbied to make it a commemorative badge.
The new commemorative badge is only authorized by the director for use during special occasions, such as UNGA, the Olympics, and other events where DSS agents protect dignitaries and participants. DSS Director Carlos Matus authorized agents to utilize the DSS commemorative badge for the first time during UNGA 76.
“I am very proud of the work the team did on this once-in-a-generation project. The new designs reflect not only how special we truly are, but it is also a sign of respect to those agents who went before us and laid the foundations of the modern day DSS,” said Sullo.
Upon conclusion of UNGA 76, agents reverted to using their new standard-issue badge but will hold on to their commemorative badge for future use at special events.
Julia Paccone is a public affairs specialist in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service Public Affairs Office.