Unit HomeBecome a MSGWhat is MSG Duty?
Marine Corps Embassy Security Group


Marine Corps Embassy Security Group

"Vigilance, Discipline, Professionalism"

Quantico, VA

What is Marine Security Guard Duty?



The United States Marine Corps has participated in the internal security and protection of U.S. Embassies and Consulates on a formal basis with the Department of State since 1948.  In 1950, Marine Security Guards helped with the evacuation of U.S. Citizens at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Republic of Korea during the Invasion of North Korea.  In 1968, Marine Security Guards prevented the enemy from taking over the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.  Marine Security Guards have and continue to defend their country in over 150 countries from dangerous situations like revolutions, attacks, and natural disasters.



MSG History Video


Primarily Marine Security Guards are to provide protection to mission personnel and prevent the compromise of national security information and equipment at designated diplomatic and consular facilities.  Staff Noncommissioned Officers serve as a Detachment Commander at two Detachments for 18 months each.  E-5 and below serve at 3 Detachments for 12 months each.  They are deployed for 3 years and have the opportunity to serve at 3 of the over 177 locations in over 150 countries around the world.  Over 44 of those locations are hostile fire pay areas and over 22 are combat zones.  Marine Security Guards will protect mission personnel and classified information through security inspections and access control while using advance security equipment.  But most importantly, they will be most ready when the Embassy or Consulate needs them in operational response situations like intruders, bomb threats, demonstrations/riots, fires, or natural disasters. 



MSAU Video


Since the terrorist attack in Benghazi in 2012, Marine Corps Embassy Security Group created Marine Security Guard Security Augmentation Unit (MSAU).  Their primary mission is to provide random/periodic augmentation to Marine Security Guard Detachments pre-crises and during increased threat situations.  Secondly, they provide security of classified materials during VIP visits overseas.  MSAU is stationed in Quantico, Virginia and only the highly qualified Marine Security Guards are recommended for it.  If those Marine Security Guards pass their indoctrination, they will serve at the unit as one of their three post assignments.  Marines have been known to serve at over 10 countries during their 12 month tour with MSAU.


What is in it for you?


The Marine Security Guard Program gives Marines the opportunity to personally and professionally develop themselves working at Diplomatic Missions around the world. 


Career Enhancements. 

  • All Marines that serve on the Marine Security Guard Program are briefed as completing a “B” billet during promotions boards making them more competitive than their peers who have not completed a Special Duty Assignment. 

  • E-4 and below receive 100 points towards their cutting score upon graduation.

  • They have great opportunities to reenlist at internationally icon locations. 

  • Each year the Marine Security Guard Program has a large allocation for meritorious promotions. 

  • You will have the opportunity to experience real world current events, see diplomacy in action, and develop yourself in the “Whole Marine” concept.

  • Receive a Top Secret Clearance.


Pay and Entitlements.


  • During Marine Security Guard School, you will be given a civilian clothing allowance of over $1,700 to purchase suits and business attire.  You will be the face of the United States and the United States Marine Corps and you must present yourself well as a Diplomat.

  • Upon graduation, you will be given a Special Duty Pay of $75.00 per month.

  • You will be given Cost of Living Allowances (COLA) for most of the countries that you travel too.  COLA changes frequently, but as an example, Switzerland is approximately $1,200.

  • Hazardous Duty/Imminent Danger/Combat pay is given for the appropriate areas and are tax exempt.


Education Opportunities.


  • Marine Security Guards are encouraged and able to stay engaged in online degree programs as well as completing College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams.

  • Opportunities exist to receive foreign language training while at Embassies or Consulates.

  • Marine Security Guards have the opportunity to enroll into United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) and earn their apprenticeship as a security guard.


Interagency Teamwork.  Marine Security Guards will work alongside organizations like the below and be able to network, question, and understand their careers.


  • Diplomatic Security Service.

  • U.S. State Department.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  • Defense Intelligence Agency.

  • Central Intelligence Agency.

  • Drug Enforcement Administration.

  • Department of Homeland Security.

  • U.S. Secret Service.


Become a Global Citizen.  Marine Security Guards are known for their professionalism, vigilance, and discipline in the Diplomatic Community around the world.  Most of the time the U.S. Embassy looks to them to help with their community events like below.


  • Toys for Tots.

  • Boy/Girl Scouts.

  • Habitat for Humanity.

  • Joint Military Ceremonies.

  • Community Holiday Volunteer Events.

  • Humanitarian Assistance with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or Peace Corps.


But most of all, you will have the opportunity to travel to the four corners of the world!