As the U.S. women’s national soccer team plays in the championship game of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on July 7, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) will be wrapping up its security support to the international sporting event. While cheering for a U.S. win on Sunday, the DSS security team will continue its mission until the very last kick.
DSS and the International Security Events Group (ISEG) prepared for months to support the international soccer tournament and other major events in France to include the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the annual Paris Air Show. As it routinely does for international security special events, DSS has worked with its host nation counterparts – in this case, French law enforcement officials – to support security efforts at the World Cup. As the chair of the ISEG, DSS leads the support from a wide range of U.S. government departments, bureaus, and agencies to ensure that security and threat information is quickly received, analyzed, and disseminated to appropriate partners.
DSS has several special agents on the ground embedded with the U.S. women’s soccer team and with the team’s friends and family. It also has special agents, watch officers, and analysts assigned to the joint operations center (JOC) at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. The JOC is a centralized hub that works 24/7 to ensure the timely flow of information and coordination.
“Having a variety of experts staffing our operations around-the-clock ensures that information sent back to the JOC gets processed quickly and appropriately so we can make timely decisions,” said DSS Special Agent Jesse Thorpe, who is managing DSS’ security support to events in France.
Given the popularity of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, the JOC has had a steady flow of high-profile visitors. For instance, on June 7, Speaker of the House of U.S. Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the center and received an overview on JOC operations and processes.
“Demonstrating our work to one of our country’s biggest decision makers was a pretty big deal for us,” said Thorpe.
As the embedded DSS special agents travel city to city with the U.S. women’s soccer team, members of the JOC monitor potential security threats and incidents from Paris. JOC personnel will continue their work as Team USA competes for its fourth Women’s World Cup title.
“The final match is here, and we are right where we hoped to be – behind the scenes supporting security efforts for Team USA,” said Thorpe. “We plan to be here through the end when the U.S. women board the plane, hopefully with that gold cup in hand,” said Thorpe.