Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security: Who Is Gregory B. Starr?

Monday, August 26, 2013

In the wake of the murder of five American diplomats at the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year, the safety of diplomatic personnel serving overseas has come under increased scrutiny in Washington. Late last month, President Obama nominated Gregory B. Starr to be the next assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security (DS). This would make Starr the chief of the security and law enforcement arm of the State Department. Starr has been principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Diplomatic Security and acting assistant secretary for Diplomatic Security since February 2013. 

 

Born February 3, 1953, in New York, Starr earned a B.A. in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Forensic Science from the George Washington University in the late 1970s.

 

Starr began his career as a special agent in the Foreign Service in July 1980, serving early career assignments as a regional security officer at facilities in Tunis, Tunisia; Dakar, Senegal; and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire). He has also served in the secretary of state’s detail, in technical security operations, and at the New York Field Office.

 

From 1995 to 1997, Starr was chief of the division for worldwide local guard and residential security programs. He served his last overseas posting as senior regional security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, from 1997 to 2000.

 

Starr then took three straight stateside assignments. From 2000 to June 2004, he was director of the Office of Physical Security Programs. From July 2004 to March 2007, he was deputy assistant secretary for countermeasures, responsible for devising security policy.

 

From April 2007 until his retirement in May 2009, Starr was principal deputy assistant secretary and director of the diplomatic security service. He also served as the acting assistant secretary for DS from October 2007 to July 2008 following the resignation of Richard J. Griffin in the wake of controversies regarding the killing of Iraqi civilians by private contractors.

 

After retiring from the Senior Foreign Service, Starr served as United Nations under-secretary-general for Safety and Security from May 2009 to January 2013. 

 

Starr is married with two children.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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